Credit Card Size: Understanding Dimensions and Standards

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Have you ever wondered if all credit card sizes are the same? You would think with so many different financial institutions around the world, there wouldn’t be universal dimensions. However, credit card sizes are actually governed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which ensures that your credit card will fit seamlessly into wallets and card readers globally.

While each credit card provider may have different features, benefits, and security measures, the standard size of credit and debit cards is known as ID-1. Having this type of standardization is essential since you’ll be able to use your cards regardless of where you are in the world.

Credit Card Dimensions and Size

When you receive a new credit card, you likely don’t think about the dimensions and size, but it’s relevant since it needs to fit in payment terminals, ATMs and your wallet. Fortunately, credit cards and debit cards follow a global standard size

Standard Dimensions

  • Credit card size in inches: 3.375 inches wide by 2.125 inches high
  • Credit card size in centimetres: 8.56 cm wide by 5.398 cm high
  • Credit card size in millimetres: 85.6 mm wide by 53.98 mm high

These dimensions conform to the ID-1 format of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO/IEC 7810) standard, often referred to as CR80.

Credit Card Standards and Regulations

Credit and debit cards are used in the daily lives of many people around the world. While it’s not necessary to know how credit cards are standardized, knowing how the regulations work can be useful background knowledge.

International Standardization

The International Organization for Standardization sets the global benchmark for a variety of products, including technology and credit cards. The ISO has been involved since the first credit card was introduced by the Bank of America in 1958. At that time, the ISO determined that the universal size of credit cards would be 8.56 cm wide by 5.398 cm high.

This uniform size ensures that credit and debit cards are universally compatible with ATMs, point-of-sale terminals, and other card-reading devices, to ensure a consistent user experience around the world. 

Identification Card Standards

ISO has designated credit cards to fall under the standardization of ID-1. However, there are also ID-2 and ID-3 standardizations that are slightly different.

  1. ID-1: 85.6 × 53.98 mm
  2. ID-2: 105 x 74 mm
  3. ID-3: 125 x 88 mm

While government-issued ID cards may follow different categories, such as the ID-2 or ID-3, many use the ID-1 standardization. There’s also The ID-000 which is used for SIM cards. This gives you an idea of how everything has similar sizes and security features.

Credit Card Materials

Beyond the credit card size standardization, you’ve probably noticed that what credit cards are made of are all very similar. The majority of credit cards are made from polyvinyl chloride (PCV), which is a versatile and robust plastic. PVC is used because it’s flexible enough to withstand the daily wear and tear from handling and machines. That said, some PVC cards don’t feel as durable. That’s because some credit card providers have been trying to reduce their costs.

In recent years, there has been an addition to the materials used – metal credit cards. These cards, typically made from stainless steel or a mix of metals, have emerged as a status symbol due to their premium feel and added weight. However, many issuers have started to release metal cards, so it’s become less exclusive compared to before.

Here’s a breakdown of the different materials:

  • PVC (Plastic) Credit Cards:
    • Most commonly used material
    • Offers durability and flexibility
    • Water-resistant for enhanced longevity
  • Metal Credit Cards:
    • Constructed from stainless steel or other metal alloys
    • Provides a distinctive look and feel
    • Less common due to the higher cost of materials and production

Credit Card Thickness and Weight

As you know, all credit card sizes must have the same width and height. The thickness of credit cards also needs to be universal at 76mm – or 0.0299 inches. This ensures that all cards fit into ATMs and point-of-sale machines. It also applies to both PVC and metal credit cards. So even though metal credit cards may appear thicker than plastic ones, they’re actually the same size.

As for the weight of a credit card, there’s no set standard. Generally, most PVC cards weigh about 5 – 10 grams. However, a metal credit card such as the American Express Platinum Card – one of the best travel rewards cards in Canada weighs 17.5 grams. Some entry-level cards, which are produced with cheaper materials, typically weigh closer to 5 grams.

The standardized dimensions for credit card thickness and weight are not just for aesthetics but are essential for the card’s usability. Your credit card meets the size standards established internationally, which Canadian financial institutions adhere to closely. This ensures that no matter where you are, the credit card in your wallet will work seamlessly with machines designed for these dimensions.

Credit Card Security Features

Ever since credit cards were introduced, thieves have been trying to steal people’s information to make fraudulent charges. To combat this theft, credit cards have introduced various security features over the years to protect you.

Chip and PIN

Modern credit cards are equipped with a microchip that generates unique transaction codes, making duplicated fraudulent transactions difficult. When you make a purchase, you’re required to enter a Personal Identification Number (PIN), that only you should know. Together, the chip and your PIN provide a two-factor authentication process for increased security. 


On the back of your credit card, there is a three-digit Card Verification Value (CVV). Note that for American Express credit cards, the CVV is a four-digit number on the front of your card. This number is separate from your credit card number and is essential for online and over-the-phone transactions, where physical presentation of the card is not possible. Merchants require this to help prove that you have physical possession of the card.

Postal Code

Verification of your postal code – or ZIP code in the U.S. – is often used as an additional security check for online purchases. It’s also required at many self-serve kiosks, like gas pumps. The idea is that even if thieves have managed to clone your credit card, they’ll still need to know your postal code to complete transactions.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

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