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Published: 11 May 2012

Credit card sales grew and bad card debts decreased in 2011

In 2011, the value of sales charged on domestic credit cards amounted to EUR 8.3 billion in Finland. The sales increased by 5 per cent from the previous year. Retail shops accounted for the largest share and service stations for the second largest share of the card sales. Cash withdrawals and bank transfers made on domestic credit cards in Finland fell by good 4 per cent to EUR 1.3 billion. This is indicated by Statistics Finland’s statistics on credit cards.

Credit card sales in 2010 and 2011, EUR million

  2010 2011 Change, %
Sales to domestic credit cards in Finland 7 944 8 342 5,0
Sales to domestic credit cards abroad 1 862 1 984 6,5
Sales to foreign credit cards in Finland 1 092 1 406 28,7

Purchases made with Finnish credit cards abroad amounted to nearly EUR 2 billion and cash withdrawals abroad totalled EUR 226 million. Foreign cards were used in Finland to the value of EUR 1.7 billion, of which 1.4 billion were purchases and the rest cash withdrawals.

There were 3.4 million active credit card accounts in Finland in 2011. The number of active card accounts decreased by one per cent from the previous year. Eleven per cent of the card accounts were non-interest bearing charge card accounts and 89 per cent actual interest bearing credit card accounts. An active card account was used for purchases by an average of 44 times per year. Accounts that have been used at least once during the year are regarded as active card accounts. No statistics are compiled on the number of the cards themselves as several cards may be issued for one card account.

At the end of 2011, the stock of credit card debts amounted to EUR 2.4 billion, or 4.7 per cent more than one year earlier. Households held 67 per cent, and enterprises and entrepreneurs 33 per cent of the credit card debt. Over the year, credit card accounts generated EUR 42 million bad card debts, which is 30 per cent less than in 2010. Accounts closed due to delayed repayments numbered 56,000, and they decreased by just under 4 per cent from the previous year.

In these statistics the term credit card is used as a general term. Credit cards can be further classified according to two characteristics: by mode of payment to actual interest bearing credit cards and non-interest bearing charge cards, and by validity to general and special cards. Online debit cards, offline debit cards and direct debit cards are not included in these statistics.

Source: Credit cards 2011, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Hilkka Jaatinen 09 1734 3630, Susanna Laine 09 1734 3317,

Director in charge: Ari Tyrkkö

Updated 11.5.2012

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Credit cards [e-publication].
2011. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 21.5.2018].
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