Average Credit Card Debt in America 2021

ElitePersonalFinance
Last Update: June 5, 2021 Credit Cards Debt Studies
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How much is the average credit card debt in America in 2021? Is the average credit card debt continue to rise? Or after a decade of a positive growth trend, the COVID has prevented this trend? What has happened with the total credit card debt, total outstanding debt, revolving and non-revolving debts in the U.S. ? If these answers interest you, read on.

ElitePersonalFinance analyzed the data and put it in one of the most comprehensive studies on the average American credit card debt that you will find.

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Average Credit Card Debt in America 2021: Statistics and Key Findings

The average credit card debt in America is $5,315. In 2019 it was $6,194. This makes a drop of $879, or 14%.

The average credit card limit now is $30,365. In 2019 it was $31,371. This makes a drop of $1,005, or 3%.

The number of credit card accounts is 497 million. In 2019 Americans hold 485 million accounts. This means that 12 million new accounts were opened in 2020. This makes a raise of 2.4%.

The average credit utilization ratio now is 25%. In 2019 it was 29%. This makes a drop of 4% in total or 12%.

By Age:

Generation X has the highest average credit card debt, which is $7,155. Together with Baby Boomers, averaging at $6,043, these age groups are the only ones above the national average. Next are Millennials, averaging at $4,322. Silent Generation averaging $3,177, and Generation Z, averaging at $1,963, remain the latest in our study.

By Income:

There is a high correlation between the average credit card debt and the average income. People with the highest income average at $12,500, while those with the lowest income average at $2,100.

By Gender:

Men have higher average credit card debt, which is $7,407. Women’s average credit card debt is $5,245.

By State:

The top 5 states with the highest average credit card debt are:

  • Alaska (2020: $6,617 ; 2019: $8,026 ; Drop: 18% )
  • Connecticut (2020: $6,040 ; 2019:  $7,082 ; Drop: 15%)
  • Virginia (2020: $5,992 ; 2019:  $6,969 ; Drop: 14%)
  • New Jersey (2020: $5,978 ; 2019: $7,084 ; Drop: 16%)
  • Maryland (2020: $5,977 ; 2019: $6,946 ; Drop: 14%)

The top 5 states with the lowest average credit card debt are:

  • Iowa (2020: $4,289 ; 2019: $4,774 ; Drop: 10%)
  • Wisconsin (2020: $4,376 ; 2019: $4,961 ; Drop: 12%)
  • Kentucky (2020: $4,521 ; 2019: $5,140 ; Drop: 12%)
  • Idaho (2020: $4,582 ; 2019: $5,213 ; Drop: 12%)
  • Mississippi (2020: $4,587 ; 2019: $5,134 ; Drop: 11%)

Total Average Credit Card Debt in America

The total credit card debt in America is $756 billion. The total credit card debt decreased by 9%, which is $73 billion compared to the last year.

Total Outstanding Debt in the U.S.

The total outstanding debt in America is $4.2 Trillion.

The nonrevolving debt in America is $3,2 Trillion.

The revolving debt in America is $1 Trillion.

Credit Card Statistics:

The average credit card interest rate is 14.65%. In 2019 it was 15.05%. This makes a total decrease of 0.4% or a relative decrease of 2.66%.

Americans hold 497M credit card accounts.

In 2020 Americans opened 12 million new credit card accounts. In 2019, this number was 21 million.

The average number of credit cards per person in America is 3.0. Last year it was 3.07, which makes a decrease of 2.3%.

Delinquencies:

% of Accounts 30-59 DPD – 2020: 0.47% ; 2019: 0.69% ; Drop: 33%

% of Accounts 60-89 DPD – 2020: 0.28% ; 2019: 0.41% ; Drop: 31%

% of Accounts 90-180 DPD – 2020: 0.69% ; 2019: 0.91% ; Drop: 24%

Average Credit Card Debt in America 2021: Charts, Graph, Analysis

Average Credit Card Debt in America 2021

After nearly a decade of consistent credit card debt rise, the trend is over. The average credit card debt in America is $5,315. In 2019 it was $6,194. This makes a drop of $879, or 14%.

Let’s look at the latest data:

Segment: 2010: 2019: 2020: 2019-2020 Change:
Average credit card debt $5,329 $6,194 $5,315 -$879 (-14%)
Average credit card limit $25,988 $31,371 $30,365 -$1,005 (-3%)
Number of credit card accounts 359M 485M 497M +12M (+2.4%)
The average credit utilization ratio 27% 29% 25% -4 percentage points (-12%)

For good or bad, the COVID makes Americans start paying their debts. The main factors for this are the financial help by the government, the economic lockdown, the unsecured times where we live, and lenders’ restrictions. However, the record-high value of the average credit score in America in 2021 (most lenders shut down, others put higher loan and credit card restrictions and approval criteria).

However, the credit card debt still remains high in America according to historical standards.

Now, because of these statistics, many probably have a lot of questions:

  • Will the average credit card debt continue dropping?
  • When will the consumers recover?
  • Will I be approved for a loan or a credit card, even if I meet all lenders’ criteria?
  • Many more …

Well, all of us want some positiveness here, but the truth is that no one knows these answers.

ElitePersonalFinance monitors the changes carefully. When we find something interesting, we will instantly update you here.

Here are the next interesting things that our study found.

The average credit card limit now is $30,365. In 2019 it was $31,371. This makes a drop of $1,005, or 3%.

At the same time:

The number of credit card accounts is 497 million. In 2019 Americans hold 485 million accounts. This means that 12 million new accounts were opened in 2020, making a raise of 2.4%.

The average credit card limit drop means that credit card issuers started decreasing the limits and increasing their approval criteria. This has affected those 12 million credit cardholders who decided to open new accounts in 2020. Although this number remains relatively high, in 2019, it was 21 million.

The average credit utilization ratio now is 25%. In 2019 it was 29%. This makes a drop of 4% in total or 12%.

Total Credit Card Debt in America 2021

In 2020 the total US credit card debt decreased to $756 billion. In 2019 it was $829 billion. This makes a decrease of $73 billion, which is 9%.

The expectation that consumers would rely more heavily on revolving debt during an economic crisis is not far-fetched. But reality shows that three-quarters of the way through 2020, U.S. credit card debt is at the lowest it’s been for quite some time.

Stated Experian

Here is our latest analysis:

Year: Total Credit Card Debt:
2008 $732B
2009 $701B
2010 $605B
2011 $559B
2012 $589B
2013 $593B
2014 $614B
2015 $632B
2016 $680B
2017 $735B
2018 $786B
2019 $829B
2020 $756B

ElitePersonalFinance analysis of Experian data.

Average Credit Card Debt by Age

Generation: 2019: 2020: Change:
Generation Z (18-23) $2,090 $1,963 -6%
Millennials (24-39) $4,845 $4,322 -11%
Generation X (40-55) $8,171 $7,155 -12%
Baby Boomers (56-74) $6,889 $6,043 -12%
Silent Generation (75+) $3,776 $3,177 -16%

Generation X holds an average credit card debt of $7,155. They seem to be the most active credit card users. Together with Baby Boomers, averaging at $6,043, these are the only age groups above the national average.

The next active credit card users appear to be Millenials, averaging $4,322, but we see them below the national average.

The youngest and oldest people hold the lowest average credit card debt. Silent Generation average at $3,177. Generation Z average at $1,963.

Young people have limited access to credit cards, less financial knowledge, and always get lower limits approved. Older people aren’t among the most active credit card users.

Each age group saw a decrease. The Silent Generation decreased the most, by 16%. Generation Z was among the less affected, with a decrease of only 6%.

Average US Credit Card Debt by Income

Average Income: Average Credit Card Debt: Debt/Income:
$15,100 $2,100 13,91%
$31,400 $3,800 12,1%
$52,700 $4,400 8,35%
$86,100 $6,800 7,9%
$136,000 $8,700 6,4%
$260,200 $12,500 4,8%

ElitePersonalFinance analysis of FDIC data.

There is a high correlation between the average credit card debt and the average income. 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. This proves that poor people, whose income often is not enough, have to live more on credit.

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 and 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

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

ElitePersonalFinance analysis of FDIC data.

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

Our study shows that 19% of men tend to charge more than $2,000 a month to their credit cards, while only 8% of women admit to reaching this threshold.

A lot of this can be explained by workforce dynamics.

On average, men have higher employment earnings than women.

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

Average US Credit Card Debt by Race

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.

The race has a parallel connection with average credit card debt.

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

Why is that?

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

Average Credit Card Debt by State

Alaska is the state that carries the highest average credit card debt, which is $6,617. Last year the state was at the top again, with $8,026. This makes a drop of $1,409, which is 18%.

Iowa is the state that carries the lowest average credit card debt of $4,289. Last year, with $4,774, the state was again the lowest-ranked. This makes a drop of $485, or 10%.

The top 5 states with the highest average credit card debt are:

  • Alaska (2020: $6,617 ; 2019: $8,026 ; Drop: 18% )
  • Connecticut (2020: $6,040 ; 2019:  $7,082 ; Drop: 15%)
  • Virginia (2020: $5,992 ; 2019:  $6,969 ; Drop: 14%)
  • New Jersey (2020: $5,978 ; 2019: $7,084 ; Drop: 16%)
  • Maryland (2020: $5,977 ; 2019: $6,946 ; Drop: 14%)

The top 5 states with the lowest average credit card debt are:

  • Iowa (2020: $4,289 ; 2019: $4,774 ; Drop: 10%)
  • Wisconsin (2020: $4,376 ; 2019: $4,961 ; Drop: 12%)
  • Kentucky (2020: $4,521 ; 2019: $5,140 ; Drop: 12%)
  • Idaho (2020: $4,582 ; 2019: $5,213 ; Drop: 12%)
  • Mississippi (2020: $4,587 ; 2019: $5,134 ; Drop: 11%)

However, because of the COVID, all states decreased their average credit card debts.

State: 2019: 2020: Change:
Alabama $5,672 $5,047 -11%
Alaska $8,026 $6,617 -18%
Arizona $6,053 $5,157 -15%
Arkansas $5,327 $4,791 -10%
California $6,222 $5,120 -18%
Colorado $6,416 $5,541 -14%
Connecticut $7,082 $6,040 -15%
Delaware $6,335 $5,462 -14%
District of Columbia $7,077 $5,671 -20%
Florida $6,460 $5,623 -13%
Georgia $6,569 $5,693 -13%
Hawaii $6,673 $5,614 -16%
Idaho $5,213 $4,582 -12%
Illinois $6,253 $5,365 -14%
Indiana $5,254 $4,651 -11%
Iowa $4,774 $4,289 -10%
Kansas $5,769 $5,063 -12%
Kentucky $5,140 $4,521 -12%
Louisiana $5,811 $5,127 -12%
Maine $5,442 $4,676 -14%
Maryland $6,946 $5,977 -14%
Massachusetts $6,213 $5,141 -17%
Michigan $5,399 $4,692 -13%
Minnesota $5,489 $4,767 -13%
Mississippi $5,134 $4,587 -11%
Missouri $5,601 $4,950 -12%
Montana $5,482 $4,785 -13%
Nebraska $5,423 $4,819 -11%
Nevada $6,220 $5,422 -13%
New Hampshire $6,235 $5,327 -15%
New Jersey $7,084 $5,978 -16%
New Mexico $5,851 $4,948 -15%
New York $6,491 $5,414 -17%
North Carolina $5,832 $5,121 -12%
North Dakota $5,265 $4,865 -8%
Ohio $5,560 $4,888 -12%
Oklahoma $5,848 $5,271 -10%
Oregon $5,498 $4,681 -15%
Pennsylvania $5,840 $5,080 -13%
Rhode Island $6,177 $5,256 -15%
South Carolina $5,938 $5,310 -11%
South Dakota $5,235 $4,633 -12%
Tennessee $5,688 $5,006 -12%
Texas $6,753 $5,848 -13%
Utah $5,600 $4,900 -13%
Vermont $5,466 $4,653 -15%
Virginia $6,969 $5,992 -14%
Washington $7,077 $5,671 -15%
Washington D.C. $6,156 $5,238 -20%
West Virginia $5,144 $4,686 -9%
Wisconsin $4,961 $4,376 -12%
Wyoming $5,782 $5,182 -10%

Total US Consumer Debt 2021

Type of Debt 2014: 2015: 2016: 2017: 2018: 2019: 2020:
Revolving Debt (Billions): $888 $898.7 $960.0 $1,017.2 $1,054.1 $1,093.2 $974.9
Nonrevolving Debt (Billions): $2,425.4 $2,492 $2,660.0 $2,792.7 $2,941.0 $3,083.8 $3,203.2
Total Outstanding Debt (Billions): $3,312.5 $3,390.6 $3,620.0 $3,809.9 $3,995.1 $4,176.9 $4,178.1

The total outstanding debt in America is $4.2 Trillion.

The nonrevolving debt in America is $3,2 Trillion.

The revolving debt in America is $1 Trillion.

Now, for better insight, let’s present the data in billions:

The total outstanding debt in America is $4,178.1 Billion. In 2019 it was $4,176.9 Billion. This makes an increase of $1.2 Billion.

The nonrevolving debt in America is $3,203.2 Billion. In 2019 it was $3,083.8 Billion. This makes an increase of $119.4 Billion.

The revolving debt in America is $974.9 Billion. In 2019 it was $1,093.2 Billion. This makes a decrease of $118.3 Billion.

Revolving debt statistics are made up mainly of credit card debt, but not only. That’s why you will find a difference in the numbers between the revolving debt by The FederalReserve and the total credit card debt by Experian.

Nonrevolving debts are mainly loans.

Total Debt = Revolving Debt + Nonrevolving Debt

Total US Consumer Debt All-Time Graph

Here is how the total, the revolving, and the nonrevolving debt change in America all of the time?

Total US Consumer Debt Graph

Average Credit Card Interest Rates 2021

Our Average Credit Card Interest Rates Study found that the average credit card interest rates in 2021 have dropped from 15.05% to 14.65%.

Now people pay less interest on their credit cards. Our common sense should tell us that Americans should open more accounts and spend more from their limit if credit cars are cheaper now. But does this happen? Actually, the answer is no.

And why?

You will find the answer below.

But before that, if you are interested, read our study on the average credit card interest rates in 2021. (Link.)

We extracted all national average values and details from the largest American institutions.

Total Number of Credit Card Accounts in America

Year: Existing Accounts:
2010 359M
2011 357M
2012 372M
2013 379M
2014 400M
2015 401M
2016 430M
2017 459M
2018 465M
2019 486M
2020 497M

In 2020 Americans opened 12 million new credit card accounts. In 2019, this number was 21 million.

We can’t say that 12 million is a low number, but if we compare it to these 21 million in 2019, this makes sense.

Like we said above, COVID puts higher approval criteria on credit card issuers. The government makes people pay their debt and use their credit card limits less than before. The crisis makes people start saving more money instead of making unnecessary purchases.

And even if the average credit card interest rates now are lower, the number of newly opened credit card accounts significantly drop, compared to the previous period.

As a result, the average number of credit cards per person in America in 2021 slightly dropped. Not it is 3.0 before it was 3.07.

For those who want to learn more about the average number of credit cards in America in 2021, read our complete study. (Link.)

There you will find all national average numbers and a detailed analysis showing these numbers by state, by age, by income, by race, by education, and much more interesting findings.

Credit Card Delinquency Rates

A credit card delinquency is when a borrower fails to make the minimum monthly payment. More than a month is considered delinquent, but the account is not always reported until more payments are missed.

That is why ElitePersonalFinance analyzed 30-, 60- and 90- DPD accounts.

There is a positive correlation between credit card debt and delinquencies. And this time, our common sense is right, and the statistics prove that.

Let’s say it – here we have positive news! And it is because of COVID.

The delinquency rates dropped.

Here is what we found:

Segment: 2010: 2019: 2020: 2019-2020 Change:
% of Accounts 30-59 DPD 0.83% 0.69% 0.47% -33%
% of Accounts 60-89 DPD 0.53% 0.41% 0.28% -31%
% of Accounts 90-180 DPD 1.34% 0.91% 0.69% -24%

As you can see, all 3 types of accounts’ delinquencies dropped. The drop in credit card delinquency rates stops the five-year continuous growth trend.

However, we have to say that the delinquency rates have always been relatively low, less than 1%, which is a piece of good news.

How We Conducted The Study

ElitePersonalFinance uses the latest data from Experian and US Federal Reserve. We first presented the data, then analyze the numbers by state, age, income, gender, race, and presented the most accurate depiction of credit card debt within America in 2021.

Conclusion

Currently sitting 799 billion, American credit card debt has increased over 42% since 2011. While the numbers are troubling, 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 see.

Moreover, age, income, gender, and race provide more predictive 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. 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

Archives

Average American Credit Card Debt by Age

Age: 2018: 2019: Raise:
20 – 29 $2,581 $2,709 5%
30 – 39 $5,466 $5,563 1.8%
40 – 49 $7,750 $7,922 2.2%
50 – 59 $8,116 $8,364 3%
60 – 69 $6,701 $6,832 1.9%
70 – 79 $5,139 $5,250 2.1%
80 – 89 $2,876 $2,990 4%
90 – 99 $1,370 $1,433 4.6%

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. According to Experian data, the average credit card debt for borrowers 40 to 69 was consistently above the national average of $6,194.

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.

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