Credit Cards

Average Credit Card Debt in America 2020

EPF Last Update: July 31, 2020
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As American credit card debt continues to skyrocket, the numbers paint a troubling portrait.

ElitePersonalFinance analyze the latest data from Experian, US Federal Reserve and other trusted sources, so we have the most up-to-date statistics to help make sense of the current borrowing environment.

Our studies are always up to date!

Average Credit Card Debt in America 2020: Statistics and Key Findings

Total US Debt in 2020 is $4,190.7 Trillions.

Revolving Debt in 2020 is $1,093.1 Trillions.

Nonrevolving Debt in 2020 is $3,097.5 Trillions.

Total US consumer debt currently sits at over $4,190 trillion and has increased nearly 22% over the last four years. Total revolving debt is $1,093 trillion and has increased 20% over the last four years.

In 2019 the total US consumer debt has increased with 3.4%, which is $138 Billions. From $4,026 trillions to $4,190 trillions, which means an increase of $163 billions‬. Source.

In 2019 the revolving debt has increased with 3%, which is $32 Billions. From $1,056 trillions to $1,093 trillions, which means an increase of $36 billions.

In 2019 the nonrevolving debt has increased with 3.5%, which is $106 Billions. From $2,970, trillions to $3,097 trillions, which means an increase of $127 billions.

American households carried an average credit card debt balance of $5,700 and a median credit card debt balance of $2,300.

The total amount of credit card debt in the U.S. reached $830 billion, according to Experian data for the second quarter (Q2) of 2019 – an increase of 48% since 2011.

Borrowers own an average of 4 credit cards and carry an average balance of $6,194 per card. As well, 61% of consumers own at least one credit card – an increase of 3% year-over-year.

At the state-level, total credit card debt has increased anywhere from 1.7% to 8.5%, with Nevada (8.5%), Florida (7.9%) and Georgia/South Carolina (7.6%) showing the largest percentage increases. Conversely, Alaska (1.7%), Vermont (3.0%) and Rhode Island/New Mexico/West Virginia (3.2%) saw the smallest percentage increases.

As of 2019:Q3, national credit card delinquency rates sit at 2.58% – a steady rise since bottoming in 2015:Q1 (2.12%). At the state-level, Arizona (2.32%), Mississippi (2.21%) and Nevada (2.10%) have the highest percentage of delinquent accounts, while Washington (1.01%), Alaska (1.06%) and Utah (1.08%) have the lowest percentage of delinquent accounts.

Americans between 50 – 59 have the highest credit card debt.

American Men ($7,407) have higher average credit card debt than women ($5,245)

Whites ($7,942) have the highest average credit card debt, while Blacks ($6,172) have the lowest average credit card debt.

2020 Update

Americans paid banks $121 billion in credit card interest in 2019. That’s up 7% from $113 billion in interest paid in 2018, and up 56% since 2014.

In February 2020, the average APR on credit card accounts assessed interest was 16.61%.

Total revolving credit balances are $1.05 trillion, as of February 2020. $83 billion comes from revolving balances.

Americans carry $687 billion in credit card debt that isn’t paid in full each month.

Average Credit Card Debt in America 2020: Charts, Graph, Analysis

Total US Consumer Debt 2020

When analyzing the data on aggregate, the trends look even worse.

In the chart below, you can see how total US consumer debt has ballooned from nearly 3.3 trillion in 2014, to over 4,1 trillion today.

Type of Debt2014:2015:2016:2017:2018:2019:
Revolving Debt (Billions):888906.79681,022.11,053.51,093.2
Nonrevolving Debt (Billions):2,425.42,504.32,676.22,806.12,956.23,097.5
Total Outstanding Debt (Billions):3,312.53,4113,644.13,828.34,009.74,190.7
[total_us_debt_graph_2020]

Source

* Totals may differ due to rounding.

The statistic shows a near 22% increase in total outstanding US debt over the four-year period, with an average annual increase of nearly 4.9%.

And what role does credit cards play?

Well, revolving debt statistics are made up mainly of credit card debt. To define the term, revolving debt is a line of credit where borrowers can access funds as needed. Conversely, nonrevolving debt is an installment loan where you make predefined fixed payments. For example, a car loan is a form of nonrevolving debt.

While both have shown four-year increases of 17% and 22% respectively, the statistics are another confirmation that the US consumer has become increasingly reliant on debt financing.

Total Credit Card Debt 2020

Year:Total Credit Card Debt (Billions):
2008732
2009701
2010605
2011559
2012589
2013593
2014614
2015632
2016680
2017735
2018786
2019830

ElitePersonalFinance analysis of FDIC data.

Source

But is this a trend we should be proud of?

Well, considering the 2008 financial crisis brought plenty of hardship to those in Middle America, it’s troubling that borrowers aren’t heeding the warnings of the past. As American credit card debt continues to rise, destabilizing economic consequences could occur if the US economy enters another crisis period.

When analyzing the graph below, you can see total American credit card debt has been on a seven-year upward trend, increasing over 48% since 2011. Currently sitting at 830 billion, the statistics confirm that borrowers have become increasing comfortable relying on debt to finance their lifestyle.

Total US Consumer Debt Graph All Time

Total US Consumer Debt Graph

Are you interested to see how the total, revolving and nonrevolving debt change in America for all of the time? This graph could be of interest.

Source

Average American Credit Card Debt by Age

Age Bracket:2018:2019:Raise:
20 – 29$2,581$2,7095%
30 – 39$5,466$5,5631.8%
40 – 49$7,750$7,9222.2%
50 – 59$8,116$8,3643%
60 – 69$6,701$6,8321.9%
70 – 79$5,139$5,2502.1%
80 – 89$2,876$2,9904%
90 – 99$1,370$1,4334.6%
[average_american_credit_card_Debt_by_age_2020]

As the statistics show that people between 50 – 59 have the greatest borrowing capacity. With an average credit card debt of $8,364 — individuals between the ages of 50 – 59 use credit cards more often than their peers.

Consumers ages 40 to 69 have above average credit card debt. The average credit card debt for borrowers 40 to 69 was consistently above the national average of $6,194, according to Experian data.

Millennials (< 30) and elderly (> 70) not so much.

Due to lower wages and the increasing costs of both housing and long-term care, these groups rely less on credit card debt to finance their lifestyle.

Average US Credit Card Debt by Income

There is a high correlation between average credit card debt and average income – with borrowers in the lowest income brackets relying less on credit card debt than higher earning individuals.

However, as a percentage of income, those on the lower end of the spectrum carry more debt.

Average Income:Average Credit Card Debt:Debt/Income:
$15,1002,10013,91%
$31,4003,80012,1%
$52,7004,4008,35%
$86,1006,8007,9%
$136,0008,7006,4%
$260,20012,5004,8%

ElitePersonalFinance analysis of FDIC data.

However, interestingly enough, low-income earners pay off their credit card balances more quickly than high-earners.

Why?

Due to the high cost of borrowing as well as having less disposable income to play with, low-income borrowers tend to be more careful with timely repayment.

Average US Credit Card Debt by Gender

Men tend to carry higher credit card balances than their female counterparts.

Studies show, 19% of men tend to charge in-excess of $2,000 a month to their credit cards, while only 8% of women admit to reaching this threshold.

Gender:Average Credit Card Debt:
Men$7,407
Women$5,245

ElitePersonalFinance analysis of FDIC data.

A lot of this can be explained by workforce dynamics.

On average, men have higher employment earnings than women. The increased cash cushion not only increases their confidence, but also their ability to repay outstanding debt.

Conversely, women take a more conservative approach – prioritizing financial responsibility over frivolous spending.

Average US Credit Card Debt by Race

Race has a parallel connection with average credit card debt.

Citing data from the US Census Bureau, statistics show that Whites carry the highest average credit card debt, while Blacks carry the lowest average credit card debt.

Race:Average Credit Card Debt:
White$7,942
Asian$7,660
Other$7,026
Hispanic$6,469
Black$6,172

ElitePersonalFinance analysis of FDIC data.

Why the divergence?

Well first, White workers remain the largest contributors to the American labor force. Second – according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research – White participants earn nearly $261 more in median weekly income than their Black counterparts.

The gap in wealth allows for greater borrowing capacity among White individuals and helps explain the racial differences in average credit card debt.

Total US Consumer Debt by State

Total US Consumer Debt by State: 2018

Total US Consumer Debt by State: 2019

Average Credit Card Debt by State

State:20182019Change
Alabama$5,557$5,6722.1%
Alaska$7,974$8,0260.7%
Arizona$5,909$6,0532.4%
Arkansas$5,298$5,3270.5%
California$5,998$6,2223.7%
Colorado$6,273$6,4162.3%
Connecticut$6,893$7,0822.7%
Delaware$6,176$6,3352.6%
District of Columbia$6,896$7,0772.6%
Florida$6,236$6,4603.6%
Georgia$6,400$6,5692.6%
Hawaii$6,441$6,6733.6%
Idaho$5,102$5,2132.2%
Illinois$6,112$6,2532.3%
Indiana$5,174$5,2541.5%
Iowa$4,685$4,7741.9%
Kansas$5,719$5,7690.9%
Kentucky$5,060$5,1401.6%
Louisiana$5,712$5,8111.7%
Maine$5,143$5,4425.8%
Maryland$6,770$6,9462.6%
Massachusetts$6,022$6,2133.2%
Michigan$5,310$5,3991.7%
Minnesota$5,367$5,4892.3%
Mississippi$4,998$5,1342.7%
Missouri$5,544$5,6011.0%
Montana$5,383$5,4821.8%
Nebraska$5,308$5,4232.2%
Nevada$6,036$6,2203.0%
New Hampshire$6,094$6,2352.3%
New Jersey$6,907$7,0842.6%
New Mexico$5,804$5,8510.8%
New York$6,309$6,4912.9%
North Carolina$5,732$5,8321.7%
North Dakota$5,162$5,2652.0%
Ohio$5,494$5,5601.2%
Oklahoma$5,756$5,8481.6%
Oregon$5,319$5,4983.4%
Pennsylvania$5,735$5,8401.8%
Rhode Island$6,042$6,1772.2%
South Carolina$5,765$5,9383.0%
South Dakota$5,131$5,2352.0%
Tennessee$5,579$5,6882.0%
Texas$6,596$6,7532.4%
Utah$5,456$5,6002.6%
Vermont$5,278$5,4663.6%
Virginia$6,822$6,9692.2%
Washington$5,998$6,1562.6%
West Virginia$5,074$5,1441.4%
Wisconsin$4,908$4,9611.1%
Wyoming$5,754$5,7820.5%

Alaska carried the highest average amount of credit card debt among states at $8,026 in Q2 2019. However, New Jersey came next, with $7,084, followed by Connecticut at $7,082. Iowa had the lowest average amount of credit card debt in Q2 2019 at $4,744, followed by Wisconsin at $4,908 and Mississippi at $5,134.

Maine, where average credit card debt increased by 5.8% over the past year,

The states with the smallest average increases in credit card debt were Arkansas and Wyoming, where debt increased 0.5% year over year.

What really stands out though, is every state has seen a year-over-year increase in total credit card debt – with percentages ranging from 1.7% to 8.5%.

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State:Amount (Millions):Year-Over-Year Percentage Change:
California104,8146.6%
Texas66,3896.8%
Florida59,3017.9%
New York54,4204.5%
Illinois32,5444.7%
Pennsylvania31,2214.1%
New Jersey28,4434.6%
Ohio25,7294.1%
Georgia24,9637.6%
Virginia24,7695.1%
Michigan22,0584.8%
North Carolina21,8607.0%
Washington20,1375.9%
Massachusetts18,9745.3%
Maryland18,4006.1%
Arizona16,8047.2%
Colorado15,1625.8%
Minnesota13,2454.7%
Tennessee13,2317.0%
Indiana12,9584.9%
Missouri12,7085.1%
Wisconsin12,1293.7%
Connecticut11,1043.6%
South Carolina10,5377.6%
Oregon9,8595.9%
Alabama9,1615.4%
Louisiana8.7925.2%
Kentucky7,7375.4%
Nevada7,6848.5%
Oklahoma7,4424.8%
Utah6,4766.1%
Kansas6,1144.3%
Iowa5,9494.3%
Arkansas5,3155.8%
Mississippi4,5215.9%
New Mexico4,2823.2%
Nebraska4,0045.2%
Hawaii4,0005.8%
New Hampshire3,9704.2%
Idaho3,5825.3%
West Virginia3,2493.2%
Maine3,1813.5%
Rhode Island2,8053.2%
Delaware2,5686.4%
Montana2,3955.2%
Alaska2,2771.7%
District of Columbia (DC)1,9715.7%
South Dakota1,8225.1%
North Dakota1,6756.2%
Vermont1,5393.0%
Wyoming1,3222.4%

Consistent with statistics on an aggregate level, analysis shows that Southern regions (6.9% and 6.6%) saw the highest uptick in credit card debt, with Western regions (6.3%) not far behind.

As well, Nevada (8.5%), Florida (7.9%) and Georgia/South Carolina (7.6%) saw the largest percentage increases, while Alaska (1.7%), Vermont (3.0%) and Rhode Island/New Mexico/West Virginia (3.2%) saw the smallest percentage increases.

Average Credit Card Interest Earned by American FDIC-Insured Institutions

When analyzing balance sheet data of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) member institutions, we found interesting information regarding their 2018 credit card receivables. As qualified members, all FDIC-Insured Commercial Banks and Savings Institutions have their assets and liabilities consolidated into one report to provide an overall picture of FDIC-insured loan books.

Interestingly enough – in 2019:Q4 – FDIC-Insured Commercial Banks and Savings Institutions had $903.492 billion in credit card receivables outstanding.

Now, what are credit card receivables?

Carried as assets on their corporate balance sheets, credit card receivables represent outstanding credit cards that institutions expect to recoup and earn interest on in the future.

Detailed in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) December, 2017 Consumer Credit Card Market Study, data revealed how roughly 29% of all credit card balances are paid in full each month. Analyzing from the opposite perspective, it implies 71% of balances rollover each month and thus generate interest for FDIC-insured institutions.

Now, considering the average credit card interest rate charged by American commercial banks – according to 2019:Q4 data from the Federal Reserve – is 16.97%, we estimate that FDIC-insured institutions earned roughly 108 billion in credit card interest in 2018.

So how does that compare to 2017?

Well, considering outstanding credit card receivables were 865.055 billion in 2017:Q4 and the average credit card interest rate was 14.99% – the spread resulted in an estimated 16 billion in 2018 excess interest earned by FDIC-insured institutions compared to 2017.

Average Numbers of Credit Cards in America

When breaking down the numbers on an individual basis, you can see borrowers own an average of 4 credit cards with balances that average $6,194 per card.

Overview:2018:2019:
Average Number of Credit Cards2.54
Average Credit Card Balance$4,293$6,194
Average Limit on Credit Cards$22,751
Percentage of Americans With a Credit Card59.4%61%
Average Credit Card Account Age87 months

The number of average credit cards that American own has increased with 60%. From 2.5 to 4.

Average credit card balance has increased with 44%. From $4,293 to $6,194.

As well, 61% of consumers own at least one credit card – an increase of 1.6% compared to the same period last year.

Contrast that with the numbers from the Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances. At the time, American households carried an average credit card debt of $5,700 and a median credit card debt of $2,300.

Displaying a near 25% decline in the average, aggregate numbers are moving in the opposite direction.

So what gives?

The best explanation is – at the macro-level – more Americans are using credit card debt as form of financing, however, they’re holding lower balances on a per capita basis.

Number of U.S. Credit Card Accounts

Year:Existing Accounts:New Accounts:
2010360M9.0M
2011357M11.1M
2012372M11.8M
2013379M12.9M
2014400M15.6M
2015401M16.8M
2016430M19.5M
2017459M17.5M
2018465M17.8M
2019486M20.8M
[number_of_u_s_Credit_card_accounts_new]

All of those accounts translate into 61% of Americans with a credit card as of Q2 2019. That’s an increase of 8 percentage points in five years when compared with the same quarter in 2015.

US Credit Card Delinquency Rates on Aggregate and by State

As aggregate debt levels continue to rise, delinquency rates are starting to creep up as well. A delinquent account is defined as a credit account where a borrower fails to make at least the minimum payment by the monthly due date. Balances more than 30-days past-due usually result in the lender contacting the consumer.

When analyzing data from the US Federal Reserve, delinquency rates for credit card loans across all commercial banks – as of 2019:Q3 – sit at 2.58%. Bottoming at 2.12% in 2015:Q1, delinquency rates have shown a continued uptrend, increasing nearly every quarter over the last four years.

So what about at the state-level?

While Experian defines delinquent accounts as those 90-days past-due, the trend is also similar.

Arizona (2.32%), Mississippi (2.21%) and Nevada (2.10%) have the highest percentage of delinquent accounts, while Washington (1.01%), Alaska (1.06%) and Utah (1.08%) have the lowest percentage of delinquent accounts.

You’ll notice, even the most delinquent states fall below the national average – but that’s because Experian is using a 90-day late payment threshold, whereas the Federal Reserve uses a 30-day late payment threshold.

Most Popular Credit Cards by FICO Score

When choosing a credit card, the higher your FICO score, the more options at your disposal. While quite predictable, those who demonstrate reliable creditworthiness have access to credit cards options with cashback rewards, travel benefits as well as Air Miles rewards.

Conversely, borrowers with low credit scores usually settle for cards with secured lines of credit.

Check out the chart below:

No Score300 – 579580 – 669670 – 739740 – 799800 – 850
Airline:0.0%0.0%1.3%3.4%3.4%3.4%
Cashback:0.3%5.7%22.7%26.6%26.4%26.1%
Hotel:0.0%0.0%0.9%2.3%2.8%3.3%
No Annual Fee:0.3%29.1%30.5%31.1%30.2%28.9%
Rewards:0.3%7.1%26.2%32.3%32.6%32.4%
Secured Card:99.1%58.1%17.2%0.3%0.0%0.0%
Travel:0.0%0.0%1.3%4.1%4.7%6.0%

* Totals may differ due to rounding.

As you can see, it’s extremely important it to maintain a healthy FICO score.

As you move from left to right, notice how as FICO scores increase, the percentage of secured cards decrease. As well, those with the highest credit scores are able to select cards that come with some type of rewards or no annual fee.

How We Conducted The Study

Using the latest December, 2018 Experian: State of Credit Cards study as well as February, 2020 statistics from the US Federal Reserve, we first presented the data on aggregate, then broke down the numbers by state, age, income, gender, race, and in totality to present the most accurate depiction of credit card debt within America today.

Conclusion

Currently sitting a 799 billion, American credit card debt has increased over 42% since 2011. While the numbers are troubling on aggregate, they don’t get much better at the individual level. Average credit card debt per card sits at $4,293 while 59.4% of consumers own at least one credit card – up 3% year-over-year.

At the state-level, every state has seen an increase in credit card debt over the last year. With percentage increases ranging from 1.7% to 8.5%, the numbers confirm the trends we’re seeing on aggregate.

Moreover, age, income, gender and race provide more predictable insights.

With baby boomers owning the largest percentage of American wealth, it’s easy to see why those in the 45 – 54 age bracket and those in higher income brackets hold larger balances of credit card debt. As well, with males commanding higher wages and Whites representing the largest labor participant-racial group within the United States – both groups use credit card debt more often than their peers.

Sources

Federal Reserve: Total US Debt

Federal Reserve Consumer Credit Report

Experian: Credit Card Debt

Experian: Average Credit Card Debt By Age

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