In Just One Year, Americans Have Increased The Average Number of Credit Cards by 60%

Last Update: September 6, 2021 Credit Cards Financial News

In the last year, Americans registered a 60% increase in the number of average credit cards making the figure jump from 2.5 in 2019 to 4 in 2020. These figures indicate the increase in the need to borrow by the citizens in 2020.

The average balance on the credit card has also recorded a considerable increase from $4,293 to $6,194, which translates to a 44% increment.

About 61% of consumers have at least a credit card, which makes a 1.6% rise if you compare it to the same period the year before. The surge has had a ripple effect across, seeing a similar impact on the average credit card limit move up from $20,265 to $22,751, indicating a 12.2%.

Average Number of Credit Cards by State

Looking at the average per state with the 2017 figures as a reference, the average number of credit cards per head falls in the range of 2.57 to 3.49 as the average balance range found between $5,155 and $8,315. In New Jersey, for example, it stands at (3.49), Rhode Island (3.26), and New York (3.34) have the highest average number of credit cards. The people of Mississippi have an average of (2.57), Alabama (2.69), and Iowa (2.67) recorded the lowest average as far as the numbers of credit cards are concerned.

The states’ data with the lowest averages, such as Iowa and Mississippi, show they do not mostly depend on them in financing their needs.

Average Number of Credit Cards by Age

Looking at these averages using age groups, it’s apparent that they rise as the users’ age and start dropping with the more advanced ages. The “Baby Boomers,” a name referring to the citizen at the age of 51-70, owns the highest average number of credit cards at about 3.5.

At the age of 21 and below, Americans have approximately 1.4, which is even inferior to their average. Many younger citizens struggle to qualify and acquire credit cards; this explains why they score that low on the number of credit cards per head in that particular age group.

Average Credit Card Balance by Age

Borrowers who fall in the age bracket of 50 to 70 possess the highest average number of credit cards (3.5) and further record the highest average balance on the credit card ($7,750). This demographic isn’t a surprise as it comprises the “Baby Boomers.”

The majority of them entered the workforce when job security was rocket high. This boosted by high economic growth rates enabled these borrowers to kill significant asset-base, which qualified them to more debt service.

On the contrary, borrowers aged 18 to 21 own the least average number of credit cards (1.4) and the lowest average credit card balance ($2,047). High student loan debts and having no proper credit history contribute to such small figures. Borrowers at this age find it quite hard to qualify for a credit card.

What Number of Credit Cards Should I have?

There’s no specific number of credit cards to hold; it’s an individual decision that only you can decide.

All you need to know is that there are pros and cons to having several credit cards. We have put down some key points that should guide your decision on whether you need an extra credit card.

Some of the pros of credit cards are that they allow the owners access to credit, convenience, security, protection, and the chance to build an excellent credit history.


One of the significant benefits of owning several credit cards is that it enables the owner to transfer the balance from a single card or multiple cards to one with a lower interest rate. Having numerous credit cards also plays to your advantage, especially when you might have lost, or misplaced, or frozen your account because of suspicious activities. In case you are on a mission to establish a strong credit history, signing up for a new credit card can be a decent move towards achieving that. Opening several credit cards enables you to take advantage of different rewards that usually come with various credit cards.


As much as creating multiple credit cards can contribute to building a strong credit history, it has a short-term effect that reduces your account’s average age. An account’s age is an essential factor in calculating your credit score, whereby older ones are more appealing to the card issuers. Multiple accounts also attract several annual fees if all the cards charge such fees.



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