30 AMAZING Credit Card Debt Statistics For 2022

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 not just how many Americans have credit card debt but how much we overuse this “plastic money” borrowed by our future self:

Credit Card Debt Statistics (Editor’s Choice):

  • Total American credit card debt stands at $800 billion.
  • The average US household has $14,241 in credit card debt.
  • Almost 39% of Americans carry their credit card balance month to month.
  • Credit card debt is the highest among Generation X.
  • Americans who earn under $35,000 owe $3,830 in credit card debt, on average.
  • The average American goes $1,249 in debt during the holiday season.
  • More than one-third of credit card users never redeem their rewards.
  • Nearly 30% of Americans owe more in credit card debt than they have in emergency savings.
  • Almost a quarter of consumers carry a credit card balance due to medical debt.

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 on our financial state and lives.

While undeniably beneficial, for those looking to earn rewards or build a good credit score, credit cards can quickly become the worst enemy.

Let’s see:

National Credit Card Debt Data

The percentage of Americans with credit card debt is mind-blowing! And it gets even more interesting when you dig in the facts about credit card debt.

1. Around 191 million Americans have credit cards.

(Source: Debt.org)

Credit card use has become an unavoidable part of our lives. So much that over half of the US population uses credit cards today. In fact, the average number of credit cards a person has is 2.7!

Wild, right?

As long as you can afford the annual fees and pay off your balance in full, there is no harm in owning multiple cards. Otherwise, however, having too many credit cards can lead to overspending and crippling debt.

2. The total US credit card debt is $800 billion.

(Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

Credit card balances rose slightly in the third quarter of 2021, by $17 billion, after an increase of the same size in the second quarter. Still, credit card balances remain $123 billion lower than they had been at the end of 2019.

US citizens owed a total of $15.24 trillion in consumer debt, including mortgages, car loans, student loans, and credit card debt. That means that credit cards account for around 5.4% of the country’s total debt.

3. 42% of consumers with credit card debt have added to the amount they owe since the pandemic.

(Source: Bankrate)

More than 40% of the Bankrate survey participants have seen their debt increase since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. A vast majority of them (54%) blamed the virus and its economic impact for the surge, with millennials being the most likely to cite this reason for their financial struggles.

4. The average American owes $5,525 in credit card debt.

(Source: Experian)

Although that’s a large amount, it has dropped over the last two years. The national credit card debt average was $6,629 in 2019 and $5,897 in 2020.

5. The average credit card debt per household is $14,241.

(Source: Ramsey Solutions)

Around 45% of American households, or 55 million, carry a credit card balance. The average amount owed is $14,241.

6. The average FICO credit score in the US is 716.

(Source: FICO)

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).

The average for the US in 2021 was 716, which is eight points higher than it was one year ago. 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.

Recent credit score stats show Minnesota has the highest average FICO score of any state (742), followed by Vermont (738) and Wisconsin (736).

7. 23.3% of consumers have a credit score in the 800-850 range.

(Source: FICO)

Over a fifth of American consumers have a credit score considered excellent. The percentage of those in the below 600 range is dropping. It went from around 25% in 2009 to 15.5% these days.

Could that mean that people are getting more aware of the factors that affect their credit score? We hope so!

8. Credit card debt as a share of disposable income hit a record low in 2021.

(Source: American Bankers Association)

The average American debt to income ratio hit a record low of 4% in the first quarter of 2021. This is down from almost 8% in 2009.

This metric illustrates the ability of households to manage their existing debt from their after-tax income, where a higher figure is seen as undesirable and risky.

9. 38.5% of Americans carry their credit card balance month to month.

(Source: American Bankers Association)

Data shows that almost 39% of Americans aren’t paying their credit card bills on time. You think that’s high? In fact, this is the lowest level of revolvers on record.

The average monthly credit card spending 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 period. So, paying your monthly bills on time is the first step toward a debt-free future.

10. Just 1.57% of credit card accounts are at least 30 days delinquent.

(Source: Federal Reserve)

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 in at least three decades, credit card delinquency rates fell below 2% in the first quarter of 2021. And in the third quarter, just 1.57% of credit card accounts were 30 days delinquent.

11. The average household with credit card debt pays more than $1,000 in interest per year.

(Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

An average American household that has revolving credit card debt, or debt they push from month to month, spends $1,029 per year on interest. Of course, the amount depends on one’s spending habits and repayment schedule, as well as the type of credit card they use.

This is a worrying piece of data, considering that the majority of these households don’t even realize how much money they are wasting this way.

Yet, the 2021 figure shows a slight decrease from the previous year, when households spent $1,155, on average. The drop is due to the overall reduction in revolving credit card debt.

12. Over 50% of Americans have maxed out their credit cards.

(Source: The Motley Fool)

A recent Motley Fool survey found that 51.7% of respondents had maxed out a credit card. The only group that saw a number under 50% was those with a self-reported net worth of $5 million to $10 million.

Keeping in mind the fact that around 25% of Americans depend on credit cards to make ends meet, we wouldn’t be surprised if the number increases.

Credit Card Debt Statistics by Demographics

What is the average credit card debt by age? Let’s have a look.

13. 75% of young adults in the US have credit cards.

(Source: nerdWallet)

When it comes to credit card ownership by age, the numbers in the US look as follows:

  • 75% of 18-29-year-olds have a credit card.
  • 80% of 20-44-year-olds have a credit card.
  • 86% of 45-59-year-olds have a credit card.
  • 93% of 60+-year-olds have a credit card.

14. Credit card debt is the highest for Generation X.

(Source: The Motley Fool)

Average credit card balance by age data shows us the following numbers:

  • Generation X – $7,155
  • Baby boomers – $6,230
  • Millennials – $4,569
  • Silent Generation – $3,821
  • Generation Z – $2,312

15. Americans who earn less than $35,000 per year typically have $3,830 in credit card debt.

(Source: Debt.org)

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:

  • $290,000 and more – $12,600
  • $152,000 to $290,999 – $9,780
  • $95,00 to $151,999 – $6,990
  • $59,000 to $94,999 – $4,910
  • $35,000 to $58,999 – $4,650
  • Less than $34,999 – $3,830

16. Americans with less than a high school diploma have the lowest average credit debt.

(Source: The Motley Fool)

The average US credit card debt also varies between differently educated demographics:

  • Less than a high school diploma – $3,390.
  • High school diploma – $4,940.
  • Some college education – $6,210
  • College degree – $7,940.

17. Caucasian Americans have the highest average credit card debt.

(Source: The Motley Fool)

Statistics on credit card debt in America indicate that the average white person has $6,940 in credit card debt. Notably, the survey that came up with these numbers had $6,270 listed as the average national credit card debt.

18. The African-American population has the lowest average credit card debt.

(Source: The Motley Fool)

The average African-American in the US has $3,940 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 $5,510, American stats on credit card debt show.

Interesting and Useful Credit Card Statistics

These are some amazing facts about credit cards you might have missed.

19. 59% of Americans prefer card payments over cash.

(Source: Travis Credit Union)

Recent cash vs credit card spending statistics show Americans prefer the convenience of card transactions. Just 29% still favor cash, while 6% use digital wallets, and 5% opt for check payments.

20. Credit card payments accounted for 27% of all transactions in 2020.

(Source: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)

Debit cards made the biggest fraction of payments in the US – 28%. Cash payments accounted for 19% of all transactions.

21. The average American goes $1,249 in debt for the holiday season.

(Source: LendingTree)

The answer to the question of “How much debt does the average American have?” is often changed for the worse after the holiday season.

According to a recent survey, 36% of US consumers incurred holiday debt in 2021, averaging $1,249.

22. The average credit card limit is $30,365.

(Source: Experian)

The average credit card limit increased by 3% in 2020. This is just one of the reasons we expect consumer debt to rise – most Americans can only suffer from the limit increase that they can’t afford repayments on. Notably, experts recommend using up to 30% of your available credit.

23. Iowa has the lowest credit card debt per person.

(Source: Statista)

Iowa is the state with the lowest average credit card debt in the US, at $4,289. Wisconsin, Kentucky, Idaho, and Mississippi add to the list of the top 5 states with the lowest average credit card debt.

24. Alaska has the highest credit card debt per person.

(Source: Statista)

Alaska is on the other end of the spectrum. It is the state with the highest average credit card debt in America, with an average of $6.617. The top five states listed on this end of the scale also include Connecticut, Virginia, New Jersey, and Maryland.

25. 76% of consumers would like to reduce their use of credit cards.

(Source: GoCardless)

The reasons people wish to reduce their credit card use vary, but debt avoidance tops the list, with 46% of consumers wary of getting into debt.

This concern is also a bigger motivator for baby boomers (59%) than for generation Z (39%), the majority of whom state they don’t want to enable their outrageous spending habits.

26. One in three credit card debtors expect to get out of debt within one year.

(Source: Bankrate)

Less than 30% of credit card debtors expect to clear their balance within one year. Twice as many see themselves free from debt within five years, while 28% expect it to take longer than five years.

Not all Americans are so optimistic, though. Around 12% don’t know when they will be able to get to a zero balance, while 5% believe they will carry their debt for life.

And what percentage of America is debt-free? Just 23%!

27. 31% of credit card users never redeem their rewards.

(Source: Acorns)

Approximately 3 in 10 cardholders failed to take advantage of rewards such as miles, gift cards, and cashback in 2020. 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. Nearly 30% of Americans owe more in credit card debt than they have in emergency savings.

(Source: Bankrate)

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.

And if you want to know how to save money, consider this:

Not carrying a credit card can save you 12-18% in expenses.

29. Credit card default rates in the US are fairly low, at 1.57%.

(Source: FRED)

After peaking at 6.77% in the midst 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 recently reached an all-time high in total credit card debt!

30. Medical debt has forced 23% of consumers to carry a credit card balance.

(Source: The Motley Fool)

We are all aware of the fact that being sick in America is an expensive ordeal. Especially now…

A good 53% of US consumers say the pandemic caused them to take on new medical debt. Even more disturbing is that 23% can’t pay off those balances in full. No wonder medical bankruptcies represent 66.5% of all personal bankruptcies in the US.

Conclusion

Credit cards can be beneficial if used responsibly and with an awareness of the consequences. Misusing them is no joke, though!

Essentially, going into debt is borrowing from your future self. Some debt can be considered “good.” Mortgages or student loans can be used to build your credit score and establish your credit history. However, bills can pile up fast.

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 credit card interests are.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Milan is an English Language and Literature graduate. He never wanted to spend his workdays with groups of 20 teenagers. Instead of teaching like most of his college friends, he went on to become a content writer. In addition to writing, his passions include mountain biking, hiking, and playing the guitar.

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