HomePersonal Finance Resources26+ Key Credit Card Debt Statistics for 2022

26+ Key Credit Card Debt Statistics for 2022

Last updated 29th Nov 2022
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For the past century, credit cards have been helping US households buy products and services and build healthy credit histories. They are the essence of financial flexibility but also a synonym for overspending. And while it is a fact that they carry risks, debt being the most serious one, what is also true is that both vary in accordance with age, race, income, and location. We explored the latest credit card debt statistics to understand the state of credit card debt in the US, how it accumulates across demographics, including college students, and find out whether or not Americans have healthy credit payment habits.

Top 10 Credit Card Debt Statistics

  • Americans have a total credit card debt of $887 billion.

  • 54% of Americans have debts on one or more credit cards.

  • The typical American has an average of 3.84 credit cards.

  • American households have an average credit card balance of $8,942.

  • Alaska is the state with the highest household credit card debt at $11,277.

  • The average credit card balance of Generation X is the highest at $7,070.

  • Women are 1.5 times more likely to carry zero credit card balance.

  • 64.8% of college students have credit card debt.

  • 30% of college students rely on their parents to pay their credit card bills.

  • People without a high-school diploma have the lowest credit card debt standing at an average of $3,390.

Credit Card Debt Facts and Stats

Americans have a total credit card debt of $887 billion.

Americans owe a mind-blowing $16.15 trillion in housing and non-housing debt as of Q2 of 2022. What's more, household debt rose by 2% or a total of $312 billion while mortgage balances increased by $207 billion to a whopping $11.39 trillion. In the same period last year, mortgage balances which comprise the largest component of Americans’ overall debt, stood at $10.44 trillion.

In addition, credit card debt data from the same period reveals an increase of $46 billion compared to the previous quarter, when the balance was $841 billion, an expected jump as per the usual seasonal patterns. However, even though the accumulated outstanding balances borrowers carry per month remained at a relatively low level compared to the situation before the pandemic, it is important to note that the 13% YoY increase registered in Q2 of 2022 is the highest in the past 20 years.

(New York Fed)

The percentage of credit card debt as part of the total debt has dropped by 0.9% since 2018.

Credit card debt percentage as a portion of the total debt of US citizens currently stands at the same level it was in 2021, at 5.3%. At 9.5%, this item had reached its record-high percentage of the total debt in 2003. During the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, credit card debt as part of the national US debt reached a stagnation point at 6.2% from 2018 to 2020, after which it continued to decrease until 2019 and 2020, when it once again set at 6.2%.

(New York Fed)

The average credit card APR is projected to reach 16.9% by the end of 2022.

What the above data means is that the average credit card APR will hit the highest point since March 2020, which will significantly affect credit card balances of American consumers. The estimates are based on Fed hikes which have consistently been at three percentage points above the federal fund’s interest rate.

Moreover, this spike will most likely cause the prime rate to jump by at least 3.75% by the end of 2022, as per the estimates. In comparison, in 2021, the average interest rate on credit cards was 16.4% representing an increase of only 0.2 percentage points compared to 2020.

(FRED, Bankrate)

54% of Americans have debts on one or more credit cards.

From less than a year to more than five years – that’s how long consumers need to repay a credit card debt in America. In fact, a recent poll shows 38% of US people carried debt for less than a year or exactly one year, another 50% took a year or more to repay it, while 32% said they needed two years or longer. Data further reveals that 14% of US adults struggled for a total of five years before they managed to get their balance back to zero.

(Bankrate)

42% of US credit card holders added to their debt since the start of COVID.

According to an online survey of 2,400 US credit card holders, over half of them have managed to service their debts since the start of the pandemic. However, there were those who added to their accumulated balance on account of it. Moreover, statistics on credit card debt reveal that 47% of those who saw an increased balance said it was due to the pandemic, while 33% said the reasons their balance ballooned were not related to the pandemic.

(Bankrate)

The typical American has an average of 3.84 credit cards.

Moreover, the average credit card limit on these cards is $30,365. The above data is based on the national credit report from Q3 2020, which also reveals that the average number of credit cards the American consumer owns has dropped by 4% since 2019. This figure is in line with the pattern of credit card debt decrease, which characterized the American consumer during times of financial uncertainty induced by the coronavirus pandemic.

(Experian)

The American Credit Card Debt Averages

American households have an average credit card balance of $8,942.

In comparison, in the first quarter of 2021, US households had a median credit card balance of $8,558. Seen as a statistic, the average household credit card debt saw a 4.5% year-over-year increase. And according to projections, this debt is $2,995 below the breaking point for household finances. The average household debt adjusted for inflation, on the other hand, is $8,430.

(WalletHub)

The average credit card debt in the US stands at $5,769.

Despite the decreased spending that marked the age of COVID, the balances of US credit card holders have started going up again. In fact, in the first quarter of 2022, the average debt of US credit card owners jumped by 3% compared to the same period last year. In 2021, the average debt the US adult had accumulated on their credit card was $5,611.

(MoneyGeek)

The average credit card balance of American business owners is $31,919.

For a total of 53% of US business owners, credit cards are a means of additional funding. And according to US credit card debt data for businesses, the average utilization rate in the third quarter of 2020 was 35%. Average APR rates for business credit cards, on the other hand, are much lower compared to the national average and presently stand at 14.16%. Data further reveals that 80% of companies are expected to face financial troubles in the upcoming year, with credit availability cited as a pain point by a little over 30%.

(Credit Cards)

In 2021, the average limit of US credit card holders was $12,945.

The above amount, however, is believed to be largely affected by the few credit cards with very high limits. In 2020, based on income, credit history, and age, the limit on credit card balances for the average American consumer was slightly lower at $12,890. Again, this number is skewed upward by credit cards with higher limits since, in reality, a credit card with a limit of $12k or over usually requires a pretty high credit score and minimal outstanding debts.

(WalletHub)

A total of 54% of Americans carry a balance on their credit cards.

Most credit card owners generate some balance at some point, and yet according to the report of the Bankers Association and the statistics about credit card debt originating from it, in Q1 of 2022, 24% of Americans held a credit card but never used it. In addition, 36% declared they did use their credit card but didn’t generate any balance. The report also reveals that of all the active credit cards, a whopping 46% never carried any balance.

(American Bankers Association)

Only 1.81% of US credit card accounts are currently delinquent.

The current 30-day delinquency rate is almost insignificant compared to what it was during the Great Recession. Back then, it had reached a record high level of nearly 7%. However, despite the fact that, at the moment, a very low number of credit card holders are at least 30 days late with a payment, it should be noted that this item has been registering an increase for three consecutive quarters. In Q2 of 2022, it stood at 1.66%.

(Federal Reserve Board)

National Credit Card Debt Demographics

The total debt of the average American is $90,460.

The above figure includes mortgages, bills, credit card debt and personal loans, and student loans. Moreover, data shows Gen Xers carry the highest debt or $140,643, followed by Baby Boomers with $97,290 in debt, Millennials with $87,448, and the Silent generation, which has an outstanding debt of $41,281. Gen Zers are the least indebted cohort, with $16,043.

(Debt.org)

Alaska is the state with the highest household credit card debt at $11,277.

Even though most states followed the national trend of balanced spending throughout 2021, in 2022, Alaskan households were the ones to generate the highest YoY credit card debt increase of $770, participating with a staggering $3,119,394,417 in the total credit card debt in the US. The people of Hawaii follow with the second-highest household credit card debt at $10,190, while Virginians rank third with $9,176.

Iowa and Wisconsin, on the other hand, are the countries with the lowest credit card balance per household, standing at $6,458 and $6,553, respectively. Indiana follows with $6,932.

(WalletHub)

The average credit card balance of Generation X is the highest at $7,070.

Moreover, compared to 2020, when the average debt Gen Xers had on their credit cards was $7,185, this amount notes a decrease of 1.6%. In 2021, according to credit card debt statistics, the balances of the respective generations reverted to their typical pattern, with the youngest, Gen Zers and Millennials, spending the most and thus marking the highest increase in credit card debt by 11.6% and 5.2% respectively. Gen Zers carry an average credit card debt of $2,282, while the corresponding figure for Millennials stands at $4,576.

In contrast, older generations, like Boomers and the Silent generation, saw the highest credit card debt decrease by 4.7% and 3.1%, respectively. And so, the average credit card balance of Baby Boomers reached $5,804, while that of the Silent generation dropped to $3,177.

(Experian)

At $3,940, Black, non-Hispanic people carry the lowest average amount of credit card debt.

Hispanic people, on the other hand, have an average debt of $5,510 on their credit cards. The same debt of White, non-Hispanic consumers stands at an average of $6,940, while the one of other communities, like the Asian American, is $6,320. In fact, studies show race and ethnicity are not only one of the most important factors for credit card approval, but they are also the reason why Black and non-Hispanic consumers have the lowest balances–they are less likely to get approval for credit card contracts.

(Bankrate)

People without a high-school diploma have the lowest credit card debt standing at an average of $3,390.

According to American credit card debt statistics, the higher the education level, the higher the balances of credit card holders. Data shows credit card holders with college degrees carry an average debt of $7,940 which is twice the one of people without a high-school education. US citizens that have obtained some college degrees owe an average of $6,210, while the debt of credit card holders with high-school diplomas sits at $4,940.

(Bankrate)

Women are 1.5 times more likely to carry zero credit card balance.

Despite the popular opinion that women are bigger spenders, data on the average credit card debt per month by gender reveals the percentage of women with credit card balances equal to zero is lower than that of men, or 9% and 16%, respectively.

Women are also less likely (4%) to carry a monthly credit card balance of over $10k as opposed to men, 10% of which admitted to carrying such a balance. In addition, 7% of women and 13% of men have a credit card balance between $7.5k and $10k, 9% of women and 16% of men carry between $5k and $7.5k, while 15% of women and 19% of men carry from $2.5k to $5k per month.

The only section where statistics on women in credit card debt in the US are higher compared to those of men (49% vs 32%) is where the monthly credit card balance carried is between $1k and $2.5k.

(Lantern)

Only 32% of high-income households carry credit card debt.

The above data refers to US households with an annual income ranging from $90k to $100k. In addition, 46% of households with an income of $80k to $89.9k reported they carry a credit card debt, 57% of those with an income ranging from $60 to $79.9k, and 55% of those earning $40k to $59.9k a year. US credit card debt statistics further reveal that 46% of households earning between $20k and $39.9k carry debt on their credit cards, and just 30% of those with an income of under $20k. The average debt on the credit cards of those with the highest income is $12,600, which is nearly three times higher than the one of households with the lowest income, standing at $3,800.

(MoneyGeek)

The average credit card balance of married people is 41% higher compared to that of singles.

In other words, according to the most recent data, the average credit card debt for a married couple is a whopping $6,881, while that of single borrowers is just $4,870. Despite this, however, the delinquency ratio of singles is significantly higher, at 32% or more than twice that of people who’ve tied the knot, which is 15%. Data also reveals that in the second quarter of 2019, the total debt of married US borrowers was higher by a fantastic 120% compared to that of singles.

(Experian)

College Student Credit Card Debt Statistics

College students own an average of 2.1 credit cards with an average limit of $3.568.

Despite the fact that in the US, one should be at least 18 years old to sign a credit card contract, most parents believe their children ought to have a credit card sooner–at 17.7 years old. Data, however, reveals that most college students held their first credit card when they were 19.7 years old, and 50.6% obtained it on their own. 31.5% had one arranged by their parents, 9.9% by a family member, and 7.2% got an in-mail offer to obtain one.

(College Finance)

The average credit card debt of students is $3,280.

This amount might not seem like much compared to the average debt of US credit card holders, but according to data, a little over two years ago, the average balance of card-holding students was more than half the amount–a total of $1,183. And, even then, this percentage was higher by 31% compared to 2016. Moreover, data reveals that credit card usage among students is on the rise, with 52% of them reporting using one or more cards and another 15% saying their credit card debt is higher than $5,000.

(Tally)

64.8% of college students have credit card debt.

In addition, 58% have student loans, 38.2% have cell phone bills, 36.3% have medical debt, and as many as 33.1% reported they have a personal loan. And according to student credit card debt statistics, of the total of 96.3% of students who reported having one of the aforementioned debts, a massive 52.7% declared their credit card debt is the one that worries them the most. Another 43.6% said they are worried about their student loan debt, while 18.5% mentioned their personal loan. Medical debt and cell phone bills are the cause of worry for 21.4% and 12.6% of college students, respectively.

(College Finance)

30% of college students rely on their parents to pay their credit card bills.

A total of 60% of credit-card-holding students pay their debts on time, which indicates that most of them nourish healthy credit habits and avoid paying additional interest rates, and get to reap the benefits that come with it, cash back being one of them. Moreover, college student credit card debt statistics reveal that 26% plan to make payments higher than the minimum so they can clear their debt faster and save money on interest rates.

(Tally)

53.7% of college students spend more on credit card debt post-COVID.

Even though the monthly credit card expenses of college students have spiked since the pandemic, the positive side is that for many of them, good credit card habits have become a priority. In fact, studies show that 52.1% of college students think paying their credit card debt on time demonstrates good credit habits, 47.5% say the same about paying more than the minimum, while 40.8% believe they should maintain their budget.

Staying below the credit limit is considered a common sign of good credit habit by 31.8%, optimizing rewards with fewer cards by 32.5%, monitoring accounts by 29.8% and 25.8% believe in being on the lookout for better offers. Bouncing back from mistakes is also a sign of good credit card habits, according to 13.9% of college students.

(College Finance)

FAQs on Credit Card Debt Statistics

How many Americans have credit card debt?

A total of 537 million credit card accounts were active in the first quarter of 2022, noting an increase of 6%, or a significant 31 million, compared to the same period of 2021. In addition, 76% of US adults own a credit card, while 60% said they have been carrying debt on it for at least a year, a number which has increased by a substantial 10% compared to 2021.

(MoneyGeek, Credit Cards)

What percentage of Americans have no credit card debt?

As little as 15% of US adults do not have credit card debt and no emergency savings. The percentage of Americans with credit card debt that is higher than their emergency savings, on the other hand, is 22% or one in five households.

(Bankrate)

What state has the most credit card debt?

At $6,617, Alaska has the highest average credit card balance in the US. Connecticut follows with an average of $6,052, while New Jersey ranks third with a $5,995 average credit card debt. Washington DC and Maryland are fourth and fifth with $5,949 and $5,911, respectively.

(Experian)

What age group has the highest average credit card debt?

Consumers in their 50s lead the pack with the highest average credit card debt standing at $8,364 as of the second quarter of 2019. More specifically, 51 and 52-year-old credit card holders carried the highest debt at $8,658 and $8,644, respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, consumers in their 90s had the lowest credit card balance or an average of $1,433.

(Experian)

The Summary

It may sound cliché, but credit cards really are a necessary evil and a force of good. They help parents get children through school and students through college. Plus, they come in handy for sweet indulgences like shopping. However, given the significant reduction of the total US credit card debt during the first year of COVID and the aftermath of it, which led to a slight increase in spending but also raised awareness of financial discipline, we might see some very different data on credit card debt in the upcoming years.

Sources:

Hristina Nikolovska

Hristina Nikolovska

An internship in a digital marketing agency during her freshman year of university got Tina into content. A decade later, she’s utilizing her educational background in English and knack for research to craft website content on crypto and ensure readers are fully informed. When she’s not investigating the crypto market and expanding her knowledge, you’ll find her randomly roaming cities and sunny coasts all over the world.