This Is Why All Credit Cards Are the Same Size

Updated: Feb. 23, 2023

You’ve probably never even thought about why they all look identical in shape and size!

close up of woman hand holding credit carddean bertoncelj/ShutterstockThe person sitting next to you probably doesn’t have the same amount of credit card debt that you do, but one thing about both of your credit cards—and every credit card—is the same. The size. Read about the things credit card companies know about you.

The idea of credit cards has been around since the 1900s. The first major bank to put one on the market was Bank of America in 1958. You might think that the first credit cards were made to conveniently fit into a wallet, but they are actually made to fit specific standards set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The ISO sets standards for everything from toy safety to credit card sizes. ISO/IEC 7810:2003 outlines the dimensions of identification cards. This standard was developed by both the ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Credit cards, debit cards, and ATM cards fall under the ID-1 category, meaning that they are required to be 85.6 mm x 53.98 mm or 3.375 in × 2.125 in. All identification cards, no matter the category, have to be .76 mm thick.

Credit cards have continued to change a lot over the years, but their dimension requirements will remain the same. From running your credit card through a small roller to get a copy of the numbers on the card, to swiping the magnetic stripe, to inserting cards into chip readers, the technology is always being updated.

Now that you know all about the requirements of credit cards, learn more about how to use them safely. Make sure you never use your credit card for payment during these scenarios.