Average Credit Card Debt

Average Credit Card Debt in America: 2021

Our researchers found the median debt per American family to be $2,700, while the average debt stands at $6,270. The average balance for consumers is $5,315, although some of that debt may be held on joint cards and thus double-counted. Overall, Americans owe $807 billion across almost 506 million card accounts. Below, you’ll find some of the most prominent trends that emerged.

American credit card debt statistics and key findings

  • Average American family credit card debt: $6,270
  • Total outstanding U.S. consumer debt: $4.2 trillion
  • Total credit card debt: $807 billion
  • 45.4% of families carry some sort of credit card debt.
  • Families with the lowest quartile of net worth (median net worth of $310) hold an average of $4,830 in credit card debt, although only 44% have card debt.
  • The West holds the highest average credit card debt, averaging over $7,000.

Average credit card debt in America

The average credit card debt of U.S. families is $6,270, according to the most recent data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. This information comes from data collected through 2019, representing the most reliable measure of credit card indebtedness in the U.S.

American consumer debt (billions)

Credit card debtTotal debtPercentage of credit card debt to total debt
2003$693$7,5559.2%
2004$706$8,8338.0%
2005$732$9,7927.5%
2006$754$11,1116.8%
2007$817$12,1336.7%
2008$858$12,6756.8%
2009$812$12,2796.6%
2010$731$11,8446.2%
2011$693$11,6615.9%
2012$674$11,3106.0%
2013$672$11,2806.0%
2014$680$11,7105.8%
2015$714$12,0655.9%
2016$747$12,3506.0%
2017$808$12,9556.2%
2018$844$13,5126.2%
2019$881$13,9526.3%
2020$807$14,3535.6%

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Average credit card debt by state

Average credit card debt varied widely by state. The typical borrower in Alaska carries the most credit card debt — $6,617 on average. This is 10% more than Connecticut, which carries the next highest average credit card debt.

The average borrower in Iowa holds just $4,289 in credit card debt, which is the least of any state. Wisconsin and Kentucky were among other states that had the lowest average credit card debt.

RankState2020 average credit card balance
29Alabama$5,047
1Alaska$6,617
22Arizona$5,157
37Arkansas$4,791
26California$5,120
11Colorado$5,541
2Connecticut$6,040
12Delaware$5,462
8District of Columbia$5,671
9Florida$5,623
7Georgia$5,693
10Hawaii$5,614
48Idaho$4,582
15Illinois$5,365
45Indiana$4,651
51Iowa$4,289
28Kansas$5,063
49Kentucky$4,521
24Louisiana$5,127
43Maine$4,676
5Maryland$5,977
23Massachusetts$5,141
40Michigan$4,692
39Minnesota$4,767
47Mississippi$4,587
31Missouri$4,950
38Montana$4,785
36Nebraska$4,819
13Nevada$5,422
16New Hampshire$5,327
4New Jersey$5,978
32New Mexico$4,948
14New York$5,414
25North Carolina$5,121
35North Dakota$4,865
34Ohio$4,888
18Oklahoma$5,271
42Oregon$4,681
27Pennsylvania$5,080
19Rhode Island$5,256
17South Carolina$5,310
46South Dakota$4,633
30Tennessee$5,006
6Texas$5,848
33Utah$4,900
44Vermont$4,653
3Virginia$5,992
20Washington$5,238
41West Virginia$4,686
50Wisconsin$4,376
21Wyoming$5,182

Source: Experian

Average credit card debt by age

Median credit card debt peaks for those who are between 45 and 54 years old, at $3,200.

Median credit card debtAverage credit card debtPercentage who carry debt
Younger than 35$1,900$3,66047.6%
35-44$2,700$5,99050.5%
45-54$3,200$7,67051.7%
55-64$3,000$6,88046.6%
65-74$2,850$7,03041.1%
75 or older$2,700$8,08028.0%

Source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances

Average credit card debt by income

The greater the household income, the higher the credit card debt. Individuals in the highest annual income percentile, 90th to 100th, had an average of $12,600 in credit card debt — more than three times as much as households making the least.

Income percentileMedian annual incomePercentage who have credit card debtAverage credit card debt
Less than 20$16,29030.5%$3,830
20-39.9$35,63045.6%$4,650
40-59.9$59,05055.0%$4,910
60-79.9$95,70056.8%$6,990
80-89.9$151,70045.9%$9,780
90-100$290,16032.2%$12,600

Source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances

Average credit card debt by education level

People with college degrees carry higher credit card balances, even though only 43% carry credit card debt, compared with 52% who have some college and 47% who ended their education after high school.

Average credit card debt by race

People who identified as white (with no Hispanic origin) reported their families carried an average of $6,940 in credit debt — the highest amount of any racial group.

They were followed by “other” — which includes Asians, American Indians and people who identify as multi-racial — with an average credit card debt of $6,320. Black households carried the least debt with an average of $3,940, which is 37% lower than the nationwide average.

How the COVID-19 crisis changed credit card debt in America

The average debt for individual consumers dropped from $6,194 in 2019 to $5,315 in 2020. In fact, the average balance declined in every state.

Following years of growth, both outstanding credit card debt and credit limits from issuers dropped in 2020 amid the coronavirus crisis. The balance decreases have generally been attributed to drop-offs in spending during quarantine periods and the ability to pay down balances with economic impact payments and supplemental unemployment money.

Banks decreased card limits for 34% of consumers at the start of the crisis, according to CompareCards, as a way to mitigate potential losses in uncertain economic times.

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