06:39 AM

Majority of Canadians Use Their Favoured Credit Card for Most of Holiday Purchases

A new TransUnion analysis found that the majority of Canadian consumers show loyalty to one credit card even as their spend increases during the holiday season.

TransUnion found that more than 22 million Canadian consumers have general purpose credit cards, and they average about 1.8 active cards per person. The analysis found that more than half of Canadians who own multiple cards usually put most of their spending on one card. The analysis also forecasts that more than half of these consumers will continue that behaviour in the next 12 months.

Jason Wang, TransUnion’s director of research and industry analysis in Canada
“Our findings show that most Canadian consumers are loyal to one credit card, which is understandable as some credit cards offer lower interest rates or simply a better rewards program. This information can benefit both credit card issuers and consumers. Consumers may see more desirable credit card offers that speak to their usage preferences, while credit card issuers can use spend and balance data to tailor their offers to be most attractive to consumers, helping them to develop and maintain loyalty in a competitive marketplace.”
Jason Wang, TransUnion’s director of research and industry analysis in Canada

Proportion of purchases put on favourite card†…

In the next 12 months, how many of them may continue or increase usage of their favourite card

100% concentration

(Extremely loyal)


80% - 99% concentration

(Very loyal)


60% - 79% concentration (Loyal)


† Consumers who have two or more credit cards

TransUnion’s study also looked into whether holiday shopping levels stay consistent year after year. Holiday shopping is defined here as spending during the months of November and December that utilized a general purpose credit card. According to TransUnion’s database, Canadians’ median holiday spending increased significantly between 2013 and 2014. The top 20% of credit card users also increased their median spending in 2014, albeit at a slower pace.

“Our study found that the rank-ordering of spending remains unchanged. Simply put, if you were a high spender during the 2014 holiday season, chances are you will be a high spender again this holiday season,” said Wang. “Our third quarter MarketTrends report showed that credit card balances are already at a two-year high. The current oil slump may have reduced the disposable income available to consumers in the oil patch, but at the same time, the two rate cuts this year have made debt more affordable. In any economic environment, our advice to consumers is always to remember to spend within their means.”


Median Holiday Spending on Credit Cards

Median Spending of Top 20% Credit Card Users

Credit Card Balances as of Q3 (Latest Quarter)










Not yet available

Not yet available


To learn more about TransUnion’s analysis and how to better identify high-value top-of-wallet consumers, please visit

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