Credit and Debit Cards Around the World

Credit and debit card use in the UK is commonplace. In fact, it’s become so easy to use this type of card either online or via a credit card terminal, that it’s become perfectly normal for a person to go days, or even weeks, without ever using cash, cheques, or any other payment type. But can the same be said of people in other countries around the world?

Chip and Pin

We all know that chin and pin credit cards are deemed to be the safest type to use. These cards require than the customer input a personal identification number before the transaction can be completed, thereby doing away with the old reliance on signatures (which could be easily replicated). Canada, Japan, and most European countries all tend to use chip and pin credit cards, but the same cannot be said for the USA, which has yet to catch on to this trend.


Most people in the UK will have either a credit card or debit card with which they can make payments. But in other countries, such as China, credit cards are not as common. In fact, only 42% of households in China possess a credit card. Not only that, but the majority of card holders in China are under the age of 35, which goes to show that, for Chinese people, credit cards generally tend to be used by the younger generations.


In countries which have a larger religious population than others, it’s not unusual to find that certain tenets of the prevailing faith will influence popular attitudes towards credit card use. For example, Shariah law forbids the charging of interest on loans, which means that in predominantly Islamic countries there tends to be a lower percentage of credit card holders than elsewhere. However there do exist certain types of credit cards which have been specifically designed to meet the needs of Muslim people, such as the 2012 Mastercard which gets around ‘riba’ (the law preventing the charging of interest) through the levying of user fees.

Online Transactions

Whilst credit and debit cards are easy to use, and tend to be relatively safe, there are some countries in which people simply prefer not to use them. In Germany, for example, it’s more common for people to pay for goods via online bank transfers or through Paypal. And the same is true for the Nordic countries, in which credit cards are perceived as being less safe than these online payment methods.