Average Credit Card Debt in America: 2021

Average Credit Card Debt in America: 2021

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

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.
American credit card debt statistics and key findings

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 debt
Total debt
Percentage 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%
Show All Rows

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

{"alignsHorizontal":["left","right","right","right"],"alignsVertical":[],"columnWidths":[],"data":[["","Credit card debt","Total debt","Percentage of credit card debt to total debt"],["2003","$693","$7,555","9.2%"],["2004","$706","$8,833","8.0%"],["2005","$732","$9,792","7.5%"],["2006","$754","$11,111","6.8%"],["2007","$817","$12,133","6.7%"],["2008","$858","$12,675","6.8%"],["2009","$812","$12,279","6.6%"],["2010","$731","$11,844","6.2%"],["2011","$693","$11,661","5.9%"],["2012","$674","$11,310","6.0%"],["2013","$672","$11,280","6.0%"],["2014","$680","$11,710","5.8%"],["2015","$714","$12,065","5.9%"],["2016","$747","$12,350","6.0%"],["2017","$808","$12,955","6.2%"],["2018","$844","$13,512","6.2%"],["2019","$881","$13,952","6.3%"],["2020","$807","$14,353","5.6%"]],"footnote":"\u003Cem\u003ESource: Federal Reserve Bank of New York\u003C\/em\u003E","hasMarginBottom":true,"isExpandable":true,"isSortable":false,"maxWidth":"1215","minWidth":"100%","showSearch":false,"sortColumnIndex":0,"sortDirection":"asc"}

Average credit card debt by state

How to Pay Down Credit Card Debt

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.

Rank
State
2020 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
Show All Rows

Source: Experian

{"alignsHorizontal":["left","left","right"],"alignsVertical":[],"columnWidths":[],"data":[["Rank","State","2020 average credit card balance"],["29","Alabama","$5,047"],["1","Alaska","$6,617"],["22","Arizona","$5,157"],["37","Arkansas","$4,791"],["26","California","$5,120"],["11","Colorado","$5,541"],["2","Connecticut","$6,040"],["12","Delaware","$5,462"],["8","District of Columbia","$5,671"],["9","Florida","$5,623"],["7","Georgia","$5,693"],["10","Hawaii","$5,614"],["48","Idaho","$4,582"],["15","Illinois","$5,365"],["45","Indiana","$4,651"],["51","Iowa","$4,289"],["28","Kansas","$5,063"],["49","Kentucky","$4,521"],["24","Louisiana","$5,127"],["43","Maine","$4,676"],["5","Maryland","$5,977"],["23","Massachusetts","$5,141"],["40","Michigan","$4,692"],["39","Minnesota","$4,767"],["47","Mississippi","$4,587"],["31","Missouri","$4,950"],["38","Montana","$4,785"],["36","Nebraska","$4,819"],["13","Nevada","$5,422"],["16","New Hampshire","$5,327"],["4","New Jersey","$5,978"],["32","New Mexico","$4,948"],["14","New York","$5,414"],["25","North Carolina","$5,121"],["35","North Dakota","$4,865"],["34","Ohio","$4,888"],["18","Oklahoma","$5,271"],["42","Oregon","$4,681"],["27","Pennsylvania","$5,080"],["19","Rhode Island","$5,256"],["17","South Carolina","$5,310"],["46","South Dakota","$4,633"],["30","Tennessee","$5,006"],["6","Texas","$5,848"],["33","Utah","$4,900"],["44","Vermont","$4,653"],["3","Virginia","$5,992"],["20","Washington","$5,238"],["41","West Virginia","$4,686"],["50","Wisconsin","$4,376"],["21","Wyoming","$5,182"]],"footnote":"\u003Cem\u003ESource: Experian\u003C\/em\u003E","hasMarginBottom":true,"isExpandable":true,"isSortable":false,"maxWidth":"1215","minWidth":"100%","showSearch":false,"sortColumnIndex":0,"sortDirection":"asc"}

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 debt
Average credit card debt
Percentage 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

{"alignsHorizontal":["left","right","right","right"],"alignsVertical":[],"columnWidths":["25%","25%","25%","25%"],"data":[["","Median credit card debt","Average credit card debt","Percentage who carry debt"],["Younger than 35","$1,900","$3,660","47.6%"],["35-44","$2,700","$5,990","50.5%"],["45-54","$3,200","$7,670","51.7%"],["55-64","$3,000","$6,880","46.6%"],["65-74","$2,850","$7,030","41.1%"],["75 or older","$2,700","$8,080","28.0%"]],"footnote":"\u003Cem\u003ESource: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances\u003C\/em\u003E","hasMarginBottom":true,"isExpandable":false,"isSortable":false,"maxWidth":"1215","minWidth":"100%","showSearch":false,"sortColumnIndex":0,"sortDirection":"asc"}

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 percentile
Median annual income
Percentage who have credit card debt
Average 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

{"alignsHorizontal":["left","right","right","right"],"alignsVertical":[],"columnWidths":["25%","25%","25%","25%"],"data":[["Income percentile","Median annual income","Percentage who have credit card debt","Average credit card debt"],["Less than 20","$16,290","30.5%","$3,830"],["20-39.9","$35,630","45.6%","$4,650"],["40-59.9","$59,050","55.0%","$4,910"],["60-79.9","$95,700","56.8%","$6,990"],["80-89.9","$151,700","45.9%","$9,780"],["90-100","$290,160","32.2%","$12,600"]],"footnote":"\u003Cem\u003ESource: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances\u003C\/em\u003E","hasMarginBottom":true,"isExpandable":false,"isSortable":false,"maxWidth":"1215","minWidth":"100%","showSearch":false,"sortColumnIndex":0,"sortDirection":"asc"}

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 education level

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.

Average credit card debt by race

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.

Average credit card debt by race

Sources

Joe Resendiz

Joe Resendiz is a former investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, where he covered public sector and infrastructure financing. During his time on Wall Street, Joe worked closely with the debt capital markets team, which allowed him to gain unique insights into the credit market. Joe is currently a research analyst who covers credit cards and the payments industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in finance.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

Featured Credit Cards