Credit Card Debt Statistics

21.11.2022
Milena

Just like all the other types of debt, credit card debt in the United States has been growing over the past years. Credit card debt statistics show that the total credit card balances in the country have reached $890 billion.

Moreover, with a national average credit card debt of $5,331, the USA is far ahead of many other leading economies. Germany, China, Canada, and the UK are among the countries whose average credit card balance is under the $5,000 threshold.

Scroll down and find plenty of other stunning stats and facts about the average credit card debt in America. Discover the states with the highest balances and find more details on credit card debt by income as well as demographics.

Credit Card Debt Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • Americans repaid a record $83 billion in credit card debt in 2020. (CNBC)
  • In 2019, the average debt of American cardholders was $5,331. (Shift Processing)
  • 48% of cardholders in the United States have never carried unpaid balances. (Federal Reserve)
  • Alaska has the highest average American credit card debt of $6,617. (Experian)
  • Americans aged 45–54 have the highest average credit card debt by age group. (Shift Processing)
  • At the beginning of 2022, Americans owned 492.5 million credit cards. (TransUnion)

Essential Credit Card Spending Statistics

1. 2020 saw Americans repay $83 billion in credit card debt.

Consumers paid back as much as $83 billion in American credit card debt in 2020. The amount, dubbed a record by personal-finance site WalletHub, which released the data, was largely on account of COVID-19, which prompted households to focus on savings rather than spending. While stats show that the pandemic has done wonders for credit card debt in America, experts flag a surge in consumer spending as more people get vaccinated, and restrictions are lifted.

(CNBC)

2. Credit card interest rates on all accounts were 15.13% in Q2 2022.

Credit statistics reveal that the accounts’ assessed interest rates were even higher, at 16.65%. In comparison, in 2017, the average interest rates on all credit card plans were about 12.89%, while accounts assessed interest stood at 14.44%. The same figures in Q2 2021 stood at 14.61% and 16.3%, respectively.

(Federal Reserve)

3. The USA has the highest average national credit card debt.

Shift Processing compared the median credit card debt in the United States in 2019 to the one in nine other countries worldwide. According to global credit card debt statistics, the USA is in the lead with an average 2019 debt of $5,331. Next come Canada ($4,154), the UK ($3,245), and Japan ($2,900). Other countries included in the comparison are Germany ($2,052), France ($1,616), and China ($1,728). The three countries with the lowest average national credit card debt are Italy ($811), Brazil ($497), and India ($302).

(Shift Processing)

Average Credit Card Debt in Selected Countries

4. In Q1 of 2022, the average debt per borrower was $5,010.

The average credit card debt per person fluctuated between 2019 and 2021. TransUnion’s American credit card debt statistics show that the average amount owed in credit card debt per borrower in the first quarters of 2019, 2020, and 2021 stood at $5,545, $5,637, and $4,784, respectively.

(TransUnion)

5. Credit card debt contributed to the lowest share of the average household consumer debt in the United States in 2019.

The household consumer debt stats show that credit card debt plays the least significant role for Americans. Mortgage debt and student loan debt, however, cause the most headaches. That’s one of the most interesting credit card debt facts. The average mortgage debt in the US was $148,060, while the average student debt in the US was $33,654. Next comes the car/auto loan average debt at $18,588. According to the Shift Processing report, the average total household consumer debt in the US was $205,633 in 2019.

(Shift Processing)

6. The average new account credit lines stood at $4,634 in Q1 2022.

Unlike the average total credit card debt that was unstable between 2019 to 2021, the average new account credit amount was constantly decreasing. In Q1 2019, this average was $5,313. Then, Q1 2020 noted a drop to $5,135, as evidenced by stats on credit card debt. After that, the number decreased significantly to $3,811 in Q1 2021, followed by an increase to $4,634 in Q1 2022. Higher credit lines also result in higher average credit card payments and increased total debt.

(TransUnion)

7. US citizens had 492.5 million credit cards in Q1 2022.

The numbers point to an increasing number of cardholders. With that, the total number of credit cards is growing by the year. There were 456.7 million credit cards in Q1 2021, a small decrease from 459.6 million in Q1 2020. Finally, the TransUnion American credit card debt statistics reveal that in Q1 2019, there were 434.9 million credit cards, meaning that the total number of credit cards increased by 57.6 million between 2019 and 2022.

(TransUnion)

8. In Q1 2022, the delinquency rate on payments 90+ days past the due date was 1.61%.

In Q1 2019, the delinquency rate on payments 90+ DPD was 1.89%. This percentage kept growing year-over-year, so in Q1 2020, it was 1.98%. In Q1 2021, in its credit card spending statistics, TransUnion recorded a significant drop in the delinquency rate on such payments of 1.27%, which was most likely a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the most recent figures show the rate is slowly returning to its pre-pandemic levels.

(TransUnion)

9. 48% of the adults with at least one credit card never carried an unpaid balance.

When asked about the frequency of carrying a credit card balance in the past 12 months, almost half claimed to pay bills on time. Late payments negatively impact the credit score and result in penalties. Still, the share of people failing to pay their balances once or some of the time was just over one-fourth, i.e., 26%. The rest of the participants (26%) admitted to carrying an unpaid balance on their credit cards most or all of the time.

It’s interesting to note that 81% of those who never carried an unpaid balance have a 3-month savings fund, according to credit statistics. Only 54% of those who do it some of the time and 29% of people who carry it most of the time have such a fund.

(Federal Reserve)

10. 19% of the education debt in the United States is credit card debt.

The Federal Reserve discovered that nearly one-fifth (19%) of people had credit card debt to pay for their own education. About 12% of people paying for their child’s or grandchild’s education admitted to acquiring credit card debt for this purpose. Still, student loan debt is in the lead in this category, with 96% of students and 88% of parents/grandparents who claim to have it.

(Federal Reserve)

11. In 2021, the average amount spent on interest charges per household was $1,029.

Credit card statistics uncover that even though the overall charge interest rates for credit cards increased, the average credit card interest paid by US households dropped from $1,155 in 2020 to $1,029 in 2021. The main reason was a reduction in revolving credit card debt for US households. However, some US citizens still used their credit cards to get by during the pandemic.

(NerdWallet)

12. In 2013, more veteran households carried credit card debt compared with nonveteran households.

This was especially notable in households where the householder was 35–44, American credit card debt statistics show. Namely, 59% of veteran households carried credit card balances, which is higher than the 47.7% of nonveteran households. Veteran households with a male householder under 45 were the most likely to have this type of debt. It’s interesting to note that the total difference in credit card debt between veteran and nonveteran households was -2.9%.

(U.S. Census Bureau)

13. In 2013, veteran households carried larger credit card balances compared with nonveteran households.

USCB credit card debt statistics establish that veteran households with a male householder owe more money in credit card debt. The total difference between veteran and nonveteran households with householders of 25+ was $500. Here, veteran households owed, on average, $4,000, and nonveteran households carried about $3,500. The difference is the most significant ($2,000) in the 35–44 age group. Here, the average household credit card debt for the first was $6,000, while the latter owed about $4,000.

(U.S. Census Bureau)

14. In 2019, 45.4% of US households carried credit card balances.

Credit debt statistics show the share of families with this type of debt in 2016 was a little lower, at 43.9%. So, the trend of growing credit card balances among US households has been around for a while. As for the median credit card debt owed, the amount increased by 10% from 2016 to $2,700, while the mean balance grew by 3%, reaching $6,300.

(Federal Reserve)

Credit Card Statistics by State and Income

15. Alaska is the state with the highest credit card debt in America on average.

The state’s average credit card balance is $6,617. This is a fun fact because Alaska is the 3rd state with the lowest population. Connecticut and New Jersey come close with their averages of $6,052 and $5,995. Maryland and Virginia also deserve a mention here, thanks to their average American credit card debts of $5,911 and $5,864, respectively, as American credit card statistics highlight.

(Experian)

16. Iowa is the US state with the lowest average credit card balance.

Iowa is one of the two states, alongside Wisconsin, whose average debt is under $4,400. These two states have an average credit card balance of $4,285 and $4,329, respectively. Several other US states come slightly above these two, according to the stats on credit card debt. These include Kentucky ($4,408), Mississippi ($4,449), and Indiana ($4,528).

(Experian)

17. The West Region of the United States had the highest credit card debt in 2020.

This American region carried $4,000 of average credit card debt in 2020. The average American credit card debt in the Northeast Region was the second-highest at about $3,850, followed by the South region with $3,300. Finally, the Midwest Region of the United States boasted the lowest debt of approximately $3,000. Also, it’s interesting to note that, regardless of the region, homeowners in the US carried significantly higher credit card balances. Namely, their average was $4,000, compared to $2,500 for those renting their home. This is one of the many amusing credit card debt facts.

(U.S. Census Bureau)

18. Americans who have the highest annual income also carry the highest average credit card debt.

This isn’t a surprising fact because it makes sense for the people who have the most money to spend the most money. So, Americans making more than $160,000 per year have an average debt of $11,200. The difference is huge when compared to those who make under $24,999 and whose average balance is only $3,000. Americans with salaries of $25,000–44,999 carry a balance of $3,900, and those with income between $45,000–69,000 owe $4,900, according to credit statistics.

As the annual income increases, so does the average household credit card debt. So, among Americans who make $70,000–$114,999, the average is $5,800. Finally, those with annual income between $115,000–159,999, on average, owe about $8,300 on credit card debt.

(Shift Processing)

19. In 2021, 65% of Americans with stable incomes were very confident that their credit card application would be approved.

In a study conducted by the Federal Reserve, almost two-thirds of participants expressed confidence that they could get a credit card. However, around 12% of adults claimed they weren’t confident their application would be accepted. According to the credit card spending statistics, in 2021, 28% of credit card applications were either unapproved or approved for less credit than requested.

(Federal Reserve)

20. 14% of Americans would acquire credit card debt to deal with a $400 emergency expense.

It seems that acquiring credit card debt is the easiest way for Americans to deal with cash emergencies. In a multi-answer questionnaire, most of them (14%) said they would choose this strategy if faced with a crisis of $400. Friends and family would be the obvious choice for 8% of the responders, the credit debt statistics reveal. About 11% said they couldn’t pay for such an emergency. Finally, 6% selected that they would sell something, 2% would use a bank loan, and only 1% would use a payday loan.

(Federal Reserve)

21. 7% of the adult population in the United States had unpaid or partially paid credit card bills.

A significant percentage of Americans with credit card debt (45%) expect to defer at least one bill. The Federal Reserve stats on credit card debt show that credit card delinquency is the most prevalent among adult Americans. Right after unpaid credit card bills come unpaid utility bills (5%) and phone or cable bills (5%). Only 4% of people responded that they expect to leave unpaid rent or mortgage bills, while only 2% chose student loan payments.

(Federal Reserve)

22. 98% of Americans with a yearly family income over $100,000 have at least one credit card.

About 94% of those living in a family with an income between $50,000–$99,999 have at least one credit card, as well as 84% of Americans who earn $25,000–$49,999. The situation is significantly different among people whose families earn less than $25,000. Here, the credit card debt statistics recorded only 57% who said they had at least one credit card.

(Federal Reserve)

23. Americans who didn’t participate in government programs carried larger credit card balances.

This isn’t that surprising, considering that people need a good credit score to qualify for a credit card in the first place. Those with personal debt and low income, therefore, are rarely cardholders. So, Americans outside government assistance programs owed about $3,500 in 2020, as suggested by credit card debt facts.

People in one or more programs, in contrast, owed an average of $3,000. According to the 2018 American welfare stats, about 68 million people used at least one welfare program in the USA. Those on SNAP (food stamps) and Medicaid carried credit card balances of $3,000 each, while those on WIC owed about $2,800. Americans using Supplemental Security Income (SSI) had the lowest average credit card debt of $2,500.

(U.S. Census Bureau)

Credit Card Debt by Demographics

24. Americans aged 4554 carry the highest average credit card debt compared to the other age groups.

When comparing credit card balances by age, credit debt statistics set the peak among people aged 45–54. This group of Americans carries an average of $9,096 in credit card balances. People under 35 and over 75 owe the least in credit card debt, with average balances of $5,808 and $5,638, respectively. When it comes to those with the highest average, next come Americans aged 35–44 ($8,235) and 55–64 ($8,158).

Those belonging to the age groups between 65–69 and 70–74 have credit card debt of $6,876 and $6,465, respectively. Please note that student credit card debt statistics show that many millennials under 35 don’t have credit cards, which may explain why this age group has such a low average credit card balance. American credit card debt, however, is the highest among those 35–64, with the peak being between 45–54.

(Shift Processing)

25. Generation X and Baby Boomers are the generations with significantly higher credit card debt compared to the rest.

Americans from Generation X carry, on average, a $7,750 in credit card balance, credit card statistics reveal. The Baby Boomers come next with their average credit card debt of $7,550. The top three in this category are rounded up by the Silent Generation, whose average debt in credit card balance is $4,613. Close to this amount is the average of $4,315 recorded among American Millennials.

Generation Z has a significantly lower average of $2,047. These figures, however, aren’t shocking since it’s very common for people in their prime to use their credit cards the most and vice versa. Plus, many individuals from Generation Z don’t even own a credit card yet, as shown by teenage credit card debt statistics.

(Shift Processing)

26. In the US, women carry a lower credit card balance than men.

According to Shift Processing’s report, the average credit card debt among American men is $7,407. This figure is significantly higher than the average debt carried by American women of $5,245. The purchasing trends reveal that females mostly use their credit cards for small purchases. Men, by contrast, use them for big purchases. That’s the main reason for the difference in their balance as well as one of the more curious credit card debt facts.

(Shift Processing)

27. White Americans carry the highest average credit card balance ($7,942) in the USA.

With almost $8,000 in balances, White Americans carry the highest average credit card payments and debt by race. Asians hold second place with an average debt of $7,660. Hispanics and African Americans have significantly lower average credit card balances, at $6,469 and $6,172, respectively. All the race groups are included under the ’Other’ tab and carry an average debt of $7,026.

(Shift Processing)

28. Households with at least one foreign-born member had higher credit card balances in 2020.

Their average credit card debt per household was $4,000 in 2020, credit card debt statistics reveal. In comparison, native families without foreign-born members had a much lower debt of $3,000. However, the situation is much more drastic when home debt is compared. Namely, here, the first category of families owed $190,000 as opposed to $137,000 owed by households from the second category.

(U.S. Census Bureau)

29. Families whose youngest child is aged 1018 carry the highest average credit card balance.

Such households owe about $5,000 in credit card debt and have the highest average credit card bill per month. Families with younger children have lower debt. Those whose youngest child is under 5 carry $3,500, and those with a youngest child 5–9 owe $4,000 in credit card balance. On the other hand, American households that have no children under 18, on average, owe $3,000 in revolving debt.

Besides these interesting credit card debt facts, it’s curious to compare the numbers with married-couple and single-person household credit card debt. The first carry an average credit card debt per household of $4,500. The latter households have a significantly lower average credit card balance of $2,500.

(U.S. Census Bureau)

30. Americans with a graduate or professional degree owe the largest credit card debt.

The average balance among these people was $4,500. As the education level decreases, so do the amounts owed to credit card issuers. The average credit card debt for college students with bachelor’s and associate’s degrees was $4,000 and $3,500, respectively. Student credit card debt statistics reveal that Americans with some college but no degree owed, on average, $3,010 in credit card debt. Finally, high school graduates and those without a high school diploma had respective balances of $2,500 and $2,000.

(U.S. Census Bureau)

Summary

Even though almost 50% of cardholders pay their due balances on time, the US credit card debt keeps growing. People who carry the most debt of this type are educated, well-paid, white, and male, according to credit card debt statistics.

Due to lower spending power and bad credit scores, the rest are unable to get significant credit lines. Therefore, low-income households and those participating in governmental assistance programs carry the lowest credit card balances.

References: CNBC, Federal Reserve, Shift Processing, TransUnion, Federal Reserve, Federal Reserve, NerdWallet, U.S. Census Bureau, Federal Reserve, Experian, U.S. Census Bureau, Federal Reserve, Federal Reserve, Federal Reserve

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