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What are the Dimensions of a Credit Card and Why?

Credit Card Dimensions

Generally speaking, credit cards share the same measurements. In short, a credit card is supposed to be 3.37 inches in width, which translates to 85.6 mm under the metric system. Meanwhile, a credit card is supposed to be 2.125 inches in height, which translates to 53.98 mm under the metric system. This is something that remains true even when people secure credit cards in other countries because it is not a U.S. standard but rather an international standard.

Why Do Credit Cards Share the Same Dimensions?

Some people might be curious about why credit cards share the same measurements. If so, the answer is pure convenience. Simply put, having credit cards share the same measurements makes it much easier for the relevant entities to interact with them. For example, having credit cards share the same measurements means that business can use a single card reader that can accommodate the standard measurements instead of having to have card readers that can accommodate the full range of measurements that can be found out there. Likewise, having credit cards share the same measurements means that consumers have a much easier time finding a wallet that can be used to store each one of their credit cards. Summed up, while the standardization of the measurements of credit cards can seem trivial, it can have far-reaching consequences that are more than enough to make it a serious issue.

With that said, it should be mentioned that while credit cards have standardized measurements, that is a somewhat incomplete statement of the true situation. Instead, a better statement would be that ID cards have standardized measurements, though it is interesting to note that there are some standardized variations that serve other purposes. For example, there is a bigger set of measurements that is useful for ID cards that need to be seen. Likewise, there is a smaller set of measurements that is useful for serving as key cards as well as stored value cards.

Who Decided That Credit Cards Should Share the Same Dimensions?

As for how the standardization of credit cards as well as other ID cards came to be, well, suffice to say that its international nature means that it should come as no surprise to learn that it happened because of international cooperation. In short, a number of international organizations were set up in the wake of World War II, with one excellent example being the International Organization for Standardization. Initially, the International Organization for Standardization had no more than a limited number of member countries, but in the decades since its founding, it has had a lot of time to grow, which is why it now has 162 member countries. Granted, some of those member countries are not eligible to vote on the proposed standards, but they are nonetheless part of the organization that is responsible for standards for not just ID cards but also a wide range of other matters.

Of course, it should come as no surprise to learn that the International Organization for Standardization isn't exactly unprecedented in nature. Certainly, it is the first organization of its kind to be so successful, but there have been plenty of organizations before it that sought to standardize various matters for much the same reasons. For example, people who are interested in that sort of thing can find a fair amount of information about the governments of various countries standardizing everything from the standards of measurement to the measurements of railway tracks over the course of their history, which was necessary for the sake of efficacy as well as efficiency.

After all, imagine the horrendous inconvenience of a world in which products on the same shelves might be measured in different units of measurement, which might even be called the same names as the units of measurements that the consumers are more familiar with. Likewise, imagine the increased challenges of running a railway system that has been cobbled together from a ridiculous patchwork of different measurements, particularly when a train would have to cross from one section to another. Summed up, standardization is a very critical task for ensuring the smooth functioning of society, which is why the International Organization for Standardization exists for the purpose of helping different countries situated all around the world come up with standards that are acceptable to all of the voting member countries.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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