Credit cards can be a useful financial tool. They offer convenience, purchasing power, rewards, and flexibility when you travel. At the same time, they can invite significant financial challenges when they’re not used correctly. Americans currently hold record high levels of debt, and a large portion of that debt comes from credit cards. But how do credit card debt statistics break down per household and how many Americans are really in trouble?

This is what average credit card debt looks like in the U.S. You can use this information to compare your own situation and see how you stack up. But the truth is that even if you’re on target with these average credit card debt statistics, it basically means that you have too much debt.

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How much credit card debt do Americans really have?

This can be a tricky question to answer because it depends on how you calculate average debt. You’ll notice some of the statistics below seem to disagree. For instance, the average balance per household and per borrower that we provide below are different. But it depends on which households and borrowers you include.

Not all Americans use credit cards. In fact, only about seven out of ten Americans have at least one card.[1] And for those households that use credit cards, may pay off their balances in full every month. That means they don’t carry balances. Only about 41% of households carry credit card debt over from month to month.[2] So, average credit card debt will differ based on which Americans you include in the calculation. If you include all Americans, it drives the average balance down, because it includes both people who don’t use credit and those that don’t carry balances.

Credit card debt statistics for American households

Statistics for household debt

  • Total amount American consumers owe in credit card debt (2018) — $435.9 billion[3]
  • The average amount owed by households that carry credit card debt (2018) — $6,829[3]

Credit card debt statistics per borrower

Personal credit card debt statistics

  • Average credit card debt per borrower in 2018 — $9,333[2]/sup>
  • Average credit card debt per borrower in 2017 — $10,821[2]/sup>
  • Average credit card debt per borrower in 2016 — $11,184[2]/sup>


Credit card interest rate statistics

Personal credit card debt statistics

  • Average national APR (annual percentage rate) on credit cards as of September, 2019 — 17.54%[4]
  • Average rate on low-interest credit cards — 14.47%[4]
  • Average penalty interest rate for credit cardholders who missed a payment — 28.45%[5]

Credit card debt for college students

Student credit card debt statistics

  • The average soon-to-be college graduate has 1.35 credit cards[6]
  • 33% have made a late payment and 31% have maxed out[5]
  • Soon-to-be college graduates have average monthly charges of $531[6]
  • Average student credit card balance in 2016 was $2,573[6]

Other statistics related to unsecured debt

Statistics about unsecured debt

  • Average payday loan amount — $375[7]
  • Average payday finance charges — $15-$30 / $100 borrowed[8]
  • Average payday loan APR — 391% [7]
  • Average auto title loan — $1000 [7]

Don’t let credit cards and other debts take control of your finance. Find solutions to regain stability.

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Article last modified on October 2, 2019. Published by, LLC