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Average Credit Card Debt In America

Dave Ramsey

Credit cards have become as American as apple pie and reality dating show.  In fact, a staggering 8 in 10 American adults (82%) have at least one credit card.  Unfortunately, all those credit cards have led to a whole lot of credit card debt across the country.  How much? We’re about to break it down.

Let’s see what the average credit card debt in America looks like, what it means for you, and what to do if you’re trapped in credit card debt. Heads up: These stats aren’t pretty, but it’s important to know the facts. Let’s dive in.

How Much Credit Card Debt Do Americans Have?

The total credit card debt in America is $1.13 trillion—the highest it’s ever been!2

For some perspective on how quickly that number is growing, total credit card debt at the start of 2020 was $890 billion.3 That means this type of debt across the country has leapt by nearly 27% in just the last four years.

total American credit card debt


How Many Americans Have Credit Card Debt?

So, how does credit card debt spread out across the American population? Well, there are around 215 million American adults with at least one credit card, and 48% of those with a credit card carried a balance at least once in 2022.4,5 So, roughly 103 million Americans have credit card debt!

Ramsey Solutions research study also found that almost 40% of Americans rely on credit cards to cover their basic monthly needs, and 1 in 4 Americans have maxed out a credit card in the last 90 days. With so many people using credit cards to survive, it’s no wonder credit card debt is shooting up so fast.


Americans and credit card debt

What’s the Average Credit Card Debt Balance?

The average credit card debt balance per borrower is $6,501.6 And that’s not a huge surprise, considering we saw earlier that total credit card debt in America has grown by a whopping 27% since the start of 2020.


average American credit card balance

What’s the Average Credit Card Interest Rate?

Do you know what happens when you carry a balance on your credit card from month to month? You get charged credit card interest. And right now, credit card interest rates are some of the highest we’ve ever seen!

The average credit card interest rate (or APR) is currently at 22.63%. And in case you’re wondering, that’s a jump of over 6% since the start of 2020.7

That’s just the average, though. Credit card interest can range all over the place, depending on the type of credit card.


average credit card interest rate

How Many Americans Are Behind on Their Credit Card Payments?

Just like everything else in the world of credit cards, credit card delinquencies are also on the rise. The current credit card delinquency rate is 3.1%. That’s the highest rate we’ve seen since 2011!8 (That’s not a great record to break!)

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Keep in mind, you can still have credit card debt even if you aren’t delinquent. Your credit card account becomes delinquent if your minimum payment is late by 30 days or more (the typical billing cycle). When that happens, you get slammed with late fees and penalty interest rates. Plus, credit card companies can report your delinquency to the main credit bureaus—which means it also shows up on your credit report.

Miss enough payments in a row, and your credit card debt will go to collections. And while paying the minimum payment will keep you out of delinquency with the credit card company, you’ll still pile on credit card debt if you don’t pay off your entire balance every month.


average credit card delinquency rate

Which States Have the Highest Credit Card Debt?

America’s got credit card debt from sea to shining sea, and each state has its own credit card debt numbers. Here are the states that carry the highest credit card balances in the country.

State Avg. Credit Card Debt State Avg. Credit Card Debt
Alaska $7,863 Florida $7,112
New Jersey $7,401 Hawaii $7,107
Connecticut $7,381 Virginia $7,002
Maryland $7,282 Colorado $6,996
Texas $7,211 Nevada $6,9879

How Much Do Credit Card Companies Make in Interest and Fees?

You know who benefits from all that credit card debt? The people handing out the credit cards! (There’s a reason they can afford to build all those skyscrapers.)

Banks made $113.1 billion off credit card interest and fees in 2022.10 Yep, fees and interest are the bread and butter of credit card companies.


American credit card debt interest and fees

How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt

These stats may make it seem like everyone uses credit cards these days, but that’s just not true! After all, we said earlier that 82% of Americans use credit cards—which means there’s a tiny-but-mighty 18% that will never owe a dime to credit card companies.11

And we’ve got some good news: You can be in that same position! It’s true. Even if you currently feel like you’re drowning in credit card debt, you can ditch your credit cards and say goodbye to debt for good. Here’s how to pay off your credit card debt once and for all.

Quit using credit cards.

If you want to pay off credit card debt, you’ve got to chop it off at the root. That means literally cutting up your credit cards. Every. Single. One. They’re not doing you any favors. They’re only holding you back.

Oh, and all those credit card points and rewards? They’re not really free. They’re just sneaky ways of getting you to charge more to your card. Credit card companies know that the more they get you to spend with their cards, the less likely you are to pay them off—which means more money in their pockets. This industry is straight up predatory, folks!

Now, we know ditching your credit cards might sound terrifying, especially if you’ve been relying on credit to cover your bills. But you can live (and thrive) without credit cards! In fact, quitting the credit card game will actually free you up to make more progress with your money.

Follow the debt snowball method.

There are a lot of “methods” out there for paying off credit card debt. But most of them only move your debt around (yeah, real helpful). What you need is a plan that works that you can actually stick with—like the debt snowball method.

This method helps you prioritize all your debts (not just credit cards) and gain quick wins so you don’t lose motivation! Here’s how it works:

  1. List all your debts, except your mortgage, from smallest to largest.
  2. Make minimum payments on all those debts except the smallest debt.
  3. Put as much money as possible toward your smallest debt every month until it’s gone.
  4. Then, take what you were paying on your smallest debt and add that to your payment on the next-smallest debt until it’s gone too.
  5. Repeat the cycle until each debt is paid in full and you’re completely debt-free!

It’ll take patience and hard work, but you can make it happen. You’ve got this!

Get on a budget.

When you’re used to just charging everything you buy on a credit card and hoping for the best, it can be hard to actually keep track of your spending or know how much you have left for the month. But when you have a budget, you can know exactly where your money is going because you already made a plan for it.

That’s why getting on a monthly budget is a must if you want to pay off credit card debt. It’s a total game changer! Instead of worrying about whether you’re actually making progress on your debt or—worse—whether your card will get declined at the grocery store, you can feel confident.

Seriously, you need a budget if you ever want to get your spending (and your sanity) under control.

The Ramsey Show can be heard on KODI weekdays from 1 to 4PM.

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