Last Updated: June 22, 2020
Credit card debt is the enemy.
Today we fight!
Credit card debt statistics will show us the way in the darkness.
Here are some fascinating stats to showcase how much we overuse credit cards:
Credit Card Debt Statistics (Editor’s Choice):
- American credit card debt now exceeds $1 trillion.
- The average US household has $8,398 in credit card debt.
- 60% of Americans carry their credit card balance month to month.
- 22% of Americans say the average balance they carry is $100-500.
- Credit card debt is the highest among the 45-54 demographic.
- Americans who earn under $25,000 have $3,000 in credit card debt, on average.
- The average American goes $1,230 in debt during the holiday season.
- 31% of credit card users never redeem their rewards.
- Around 30% of Americans owe more in credit card debt than they have in emergency savings.
- As many as 27 million people are charging their medical expenses to their credit cards.
This topic is an ever-relevant one, as we often tend to regard credit cards as free money. We fail to recognize the potential negative impact that they can have on our financial state and our lives.
While undeniably beneficial, for those looking to earn rewards or build a good credit score, credit cards can quickly become our worst enemy.
National Credit Card Debt Data
That’s mind-blowing! And it gets even more interesting when you dig in it.
1. Around 190 million Americans have credit cards.
Credit card use has become an unavoidable part of our lives. So much that over half of the US population uses credit cards today. Moreover, it is estimated that the average credit cardholder has no less than four cards!
Convenience and necessity are the two main reasons why we use credit cards as a means of payment.
2. The total US credit card debt is $1.07 trillion.
(Source: The Balance)
American credit card debt has officially exceeded the $1 trillion mark, as of Q3 of 2019. Citizens of the US owe a total of $13.86 trillion in mortgages, car loans, student loans, and credit card debt. That means that credit card debt accounts for around 7.8% of the total debt.
3. The average US household owes $8,398 in credit card debt.
The average debt of an American today is $137,063. According to the data from June 2019, the average US household has $8,398 in credit card debt.
Definitely not an insignificant portion of the total debt!
4. The average FICO credit score in the US is 700.
(Source: Credit Karma)
A credit score is based on the consumer’s credit report, which shows recent activity. This score ranges between 300 and 850 (higher is better).
Credit card debt facts list the 700 score, which is considered good, as the average for the US. Anything between 670 and 739 is considered a good credit score, while going below that means that you’re getting into the fair or even the poor zone of credit scores.
5. 20.7% of consumers have a credit score that is in the 800-850 range.
(Source: The Motley Fool)
Just over a fifth of American consumers have a credit score that is considered excellent. The percentage of those in the below 600 range is dropping. It went from around 25% in 2009, to under 20% these days.
6. 16% of Americans use credit cards for payments that are under $10.
A decrease in cash use is more prominent every year; in 2018, 12% of US adults used credit cards for payments that totaled less than $10. Consumer debt statistics show that those who own cards that come with rewards (cashback, miles, reward points) use them even more commonly for small purchases. In 2018, 23% of US adults who own these cards used them for small payments, while in 2019, that number jumped to 26%.
7. 60% of Americans carry their credit card balance month to month.
Data shows that almost two-thirds of Americans aren’t paying their credit card bills on time. The average monthly credit card bill might take up to 10 years to repay, with late payments delaying that period even further. With an average interest rate of 15%, credit card debt of under $5,000 can easily exceed $20,000 in this long of a period.
8. 22% of Americans say the average balance they carry is $100-500.
According to surveys, between a quarter and a fifth of American credit card users carry a balance that ranges between $100 and $500. Around 10% of those surveyed said they carry a balance that exceeds $5,000.
9. Credit card delinquencies of 30 days and over are on a rise.
Depending on the source, credit card accounts are considered delinquent if the due date for payments exceeds 30, 60, or 90 days. For the first time after the 2009 recession, credit card delinquency rates have been climbing.
10. The average household with credit card debt pays $904 in interest, per year.
An average American household that has revolving credit card debt, or debt they push from month to month, spends over $900 per year on interest. A worrying piece of data, considering that the majority of these households don’t even realize how much money they are wasting this way.
11. 50% of Americans have maxed out their credit cards.
The average family credit card debt spiked during the last 3 months of 2018. Around $26 billion in credit card debt was accumulated by American shoppers. We will find out if this number was met in 2019 as soon as the holiday spending data is available. Keeping in mind the fact that around 25% of Americans depend on credit cards to make the ends meet, we wouldn’t be surprised if the number increases.
Credit Card Debt Statistics by Demographics
Which age group is most in debt? Let’s have a look.
12. 67% of young adults in the US have credit cards.
When it comes to credit card ownership by age, the numbers in the US look as follows:
- 67% of 18-24-year-olds have a credit card.
- 83% of 25-34-year-olds have a credit card.
- 76% of 35-49-year-olds have a credit card.
- 78% of 50+-year-olds have a credit card.
13. Credit card debt is the highest for those between 45 and 54 years of age.
Average credit card by age data shows us the following numbers:
- Americans under the age of 35 owe $5,808, on average.
- Americans between the ages of 35 and 54 owe $8,235, on average.
- Americans between the ages of 45 and 54 owe 9,096, on average.
- Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 owe $8,158, on average.
- Americans between the ages of 65 and 69 owe $6,786, on average.
- Americans between the ages of 70 and 74 owe $6,465, on average.
- Americans over the age of 75 owe $5,638, on average.
14. Americans who earn less than $25,000 per year typically have $3,000 in credit card debt.
National credit card debt statistics point out a strange trend – the average debt increases with earnings. Take a look at the averages per income level:
- Americans who earn under $25,0000 per year have $3,000 in credit card debt, on average.
- Americans who earn $25,000-45,000 per year have $3,900 in credit card debt.
- Americans who earn $45,000-70,000 per year have $4,900 in credit card debt.
- Americans who earn $70,000-115,000 per year have $5,800 in credit card debt.
- Americans who earn $115,000-160,000 per year have $8,300 in credit card debt.
- Americans who earn over $160,000 per year have $11,200 in credit card, on average.
15. Americans who have less than a high school diploma have the lowest average credit debt.
The average US credit card debt also varies between differently educated demographics:
- Americans with less than a high school diploma have $25,636 in credit card debt, on average.
- Americans with a high school diploma have $35,256 in credit card debt.
- Americans with some college education have $38,376 in credit card debt.
- Americans with a two-year college degree have $41,496 in credit card debt.
- Americans with a college degree have $61,828 in credit card debt.
- Americans with an advanced degree have $75,452 in credit card debt, on average.
16. The average American male has $7,407 in credit card debt.
Considering how many people are in debt, there are bound to be some gender discrepancies with the amount of debt.
Let’s take a look at them:
Male Americans tend to be more reckless with their credit card spendings. Their average credit card debt is 22% higher than in females, which average at $5,245. In addition, men are more likely to spend over $2,000 a month and charge it to their credit card. 19% of them do so, while just 8% of women have the same spending habit.
17. Caucasian Americans have the highest average credit card debt.
Statistics on debt in America indicate that the average white person has $7,942 in credit card debt. Those who identify as Asian have $7,660 in credit card debt. The survey that came up with these numbers had $7,697 listed as the average national credit card debt.
18. The African-American population has the lowest average credit card debt.
The average African-American in the US has $6,172 in credit card debt. This is an impressive 20% below the national average!
Hispanics are also in significantly less debt than Caucasians, with an average of $6,469, American debt statistics show.
Interesting and Useful Credit Card Statistics
These are some amazing facts about credit cards you might have missed.
19. Credit and debit card payments accounted for more spending than cash in 2016.
On a global scale, more money was spent using cards than in cash during 2016. Consumers spent $23 trillion via cards. Around $22.6 trillion worth of products were purchased with cash.
20. Credit card payments made 55% of all card payments in 2017.
(Source: Federal Reserve)
In 2017, consumers in the US paid for $6.48 trillion worth of goods using their debit and credit cards. Credit card payments accounted for $3.6 trillion, or 55% of the total amount.
21. The average American goes $1,230 in debt for the holiday season.
(Source: Magnify Money)
The answer to the question of “How much credit card debt do you have?” is often changed for the worse after the holiday season, for the majority of us. The figure of $1,230 of additional credit card debt is derived from 2018 data. In 2017, the average holiday shopper went $1,054 in debt.
22. The average credit card limit is $22,589.
(Source: The Motley Fool)
At the end of March 2019, the average credit card limit increased by 11% compared to the same period of 2018. This is just one of the reasons why we expect consumer debt in 2019 to rise – the majority of Americans can only suffer from the limit increase that they can’t afford repayments on.
23. Arkansas has the lowest credit card debt per person.
Based on the data from the Q1 of 2019, Arkansas is the state with the lowest average credit card debt, at $5,229. This is still an increase of 0.3% compared to 2018. Wisconsin, Alaska, Kansas, and Idaho add on to the list of the top 5 states with the lowest average credit card debt.
24. Hawaii has the highest credit card per person.
Hawaii is on the other end of the spectrum. It is the state with the highest credit card debt, with an average of $6,274. The top five states listed on this end of the scale also includes California, Nevada, Florida, and the District of Columbia.
25. College students prefer debit cards to credit cards.
According to college students credit card statistics from previous years, 77% more students prefer using debit cards. Still, the average credit card debt for college students is not an insignificant amount of money – $499. The median sits at $136.
26. Private college students typically owe more than their public school peers.
Private college students typically owe more, with an average of $737. Meanwhile, public college attendees owe $441 on average. Students in two-year public colleges typically have $409 in credit card debt.
27. 31% of credit card users never redeem their rewards.
Approximately 3 in 10 cardholders fail to take advantage of rewards such as miles, gift cards, and cashback. Basically, all the bonuses that come with the regular use of some credit cards. Credit card debt data shows that those who use these rewards prefer the cashback option. Gift cards are the second favorite.
28. Around 30% of Americans owe more in credit card debt than they have in emergency savings.
(Source: The Center Square)
It is estimated that around 39 million Americans have been unable to repay their credit card debt for at least two years. It should come as no surprise that almost a third of the population has more credit card debt than they have saved for unexpected situations.
29. Credit card default rates in the US are fairly low, at 2.5%.
After peaking at 6.77% in the mids of the recession of 2009, credit card defaults have managed to fall and stay at a reasonable percentage for the last decade.
And that’s given that we now owe more than ever!
30. As many as 27 million people are charging medical expenses to their credit cards.
We are all aware of the fact that being sick in America is an expensive ordeal. This is why 27 million US adults had no choice but to pay their medical bills using a credit card. The percentage of Americans with credit card debt would be a much smaller number if this weren’t the case.
Credit cards can be an excellent way to earn miles and other rewards if used responsibly and with an awareness of the consequences. Misusing them is no joke!
Some use credit cards as a means of earning rewards that come with them. Others use them as a way to make unnecessary purchases, or simply to make the ends meet. We hope that this list of credit card debt statistics shows how much we overuse this piece of plastic, thus making it harder and harder for ourselves to get out of the enchanted circle that the credit card interests are.
Remember – have fun, but be responsible!