Credit card statistics in the United States 2022

Americans are $787 billion in credit card debt.

There are 519,960,000 credit card accounts in the US as of the 3rd quarter of 2021 with a total balance of $804 billion. For many Americans, managing credit and debt through credit cards is a common element of their day-to-day money habits. For others, a few bad mistakes have resulted in a downward debt spiral. But what does the state of credit card use in the United States actually look like?

How many people have a credit card, and how much do they spend?

  • Average credit card debt per adult: $3,148
  • Total credit card debt in the US: $804 billion
  • Average credit card balance: $1,546.27
  • Number of credit cards in the US: 519,960,000
  • Average number of cards per adult: 2.04

United States credit card debt statistics

The total credit card debt in the United States is $804 billion as of the 3rd quarter of 2021. Despite this spending, Americans collectively still have a remaining credit limit of $3,961 billion left to spend on their cards. This means on average, Americans have used 20.3% of their total credit limit.

As of Q4 2019, the average credit card balance has fallen -15%. However, starting in Q2 2021 credit card debt is once again on an upward trend.

Credit card debt by state

Hover over each state below to see the average credit card debt throughout the year in 2020.

Alaska had the highest credit card balance, with the average balance being 29% higher than the overall average in 2020. Iowa had the lowest balance and was 17% lower than the overall average throughout the year.

Credit card debt by age

Middle-aged Americans currently hold the most credit card debt, with 50- to 59-year-olds holding 23.2% of it. People aged 40-49 currently have 21.9% of all Americans’ total credit card debt. Americans younger than 30 have the lowest amount of card debt with 6.7%.

Below is the breakdown of credit card debt by age as of 2021:

  • 18- to 29-year-olds: 6.7%
  • 30- to 39-year-olds: 17.4%
  • 40- to 49-year-olds: 21.9%
  • 50- to 59-year-olds: 23.2%
  • 60- to 69-year-olds: 17.8%
  • 70+-year-olds: 13.1%

Number of credit card accounts

There are 519,960,000 credit card accounts open in the US as of Q3 2021, which is an all-time high. While the number of open credit cards dipped after Q1 2020, the number of accounts is now back on the rise.

Here’s how the number of active credit card accounts has shifted over the years.

Credit card interest rates

The average interest rate for credit card accounts is 14.54% as of Q3 of 2021, according to the Federal Reserve. This is 2.72% more than what it was at its lowest in August 2014, when the average interest rate on cards was 11.82%.

Credit card usage

While there are 519,960,000 credit cards open in the US, not all accounts are actively used. According to the American Bankers Association, this is the breakdown of how credit card holders use their credit cards:

  • 34.6% of credit card holders use their cards on a monthly basis
  • 40.5% of credit card users don’t use their cards for transactions but do carry a balance from month to month
  • 24.9% of credit card holders don’t use their cards and have their accounts sitting dormant

Credit card delinquency

As of the 3rd quarter of 2021, 8.8% of all credit cards in the United States are 90 days or more delinquent. Credit card delinquencies had been trending downward since Q4 2010. However, credit card delinquencies have been trending upward again after the lowest recorded delinquency rate at 7.08% in the third quarter of 2016.

Top credit card complaints in 2021

The most common credit card complaint is a problem with a purchase appearing on a card. Almost one-third of American credit card holders complained about this in 2021 — that’s almost 70 million people.

See the other common credit card complaints below.

What does the average credit card look like?

We took a look at the 679 credit cards in our database to determine what the average credit card looks like.

  • Average annual fee: $142
  • Percentage of cards that do not have an annual fee: 64%
  • Average late payment fee: $37
  • Percentage of cards with an intro period that offers a 0% introductory rate: 96%

Bottom line

In summary, credit card consumer debt, balances and the number of accounts have fallen starting in early 2020 but are all back on the rise as of Q2 2021. This is likely related to the pandemic as many consumers paid down credit card debt and banks closed credit card accounts.

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