Credit card statistics in the United States 2023
Americans are in credit card debt.
Credit cards play a crucial role in the day-to-day financial wellbeing of many Americans. However, not all US consumers have the means or financial habits needed to turn a credit card into an asset rather than a burden. We’ve gathered up the latest statistics to give you an up-to-date look at the state of credit cards and US cardholders.
Quick credit card facts and statistics
- Total credit card debt in the US: (1)
- Average American credit card debt: (2)
- Average credit card balance: (2)
- Number of credit cards in the US: (2)
- Average number of cards per adult: (2)
- Total credit card limits available: (2)
- Total credit card credit available: (2)
- Percent of credit card balances with 90+ days delinquency: (2)
- More than half (51%) of credit card holders have increased their credit balance as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic (3)
Credit card debt in the United States
A look at cardholders relationship with their credit card debt
The demographics behind US cardholder debt
- Consumers younger than 30 have the lowest amount of credit card debt among all Americans at .(2)
- Americans aged 30 to 39 hold of all American’s credit card debt.
- Consumers aged 40 to 49 hold of all American’s credit card debt.(2)
- Americans aged 50 to 59 just barely hold the most credit card debt at .(2)
- Members of Generation X have an average debt of $7,236. Baby boomers have the second-largest average debt at $6,230, followed by Millennials at $4,569.(1)
- Gen Z holds the lowest average credit card debt at $2,312.
- Female householders have 22% less credit card debt than male counterparts.(3)
- Americans in the 90th to 100th annual income percentile had an average credit card debt of $12,600.(4)
- Card debt is most prominent in the $40k to $80k income range.(3)
- Americans who earn less than $25k have an average debt of $3,000.(3)
- Americans with the highest credit score owe an average debt of $11,200.(3)
- A recent BMO survey finds 35% of women see credit card debt as a major financial concern compared to 22% of surveyed men.(3)
- It seems credit card debt amounts are commensurate with education: Those with college degrees or that had completed some college held the most credit card debt. Those without high school diplomas held the least.
- White, non-Hispanic Americans hold the most credit card debt on average, with Black, non-Hispanic Americans holding the least. Part of this disparity is likely the result of lack of access to credit.
Credit card debt statistics by state
- Connecticut had a 15.1% greater credit card debt than the national average. (5)
American credit card usage statistics
- Americans are 40% likely to use a credit card when making a purchase.(6)
- Only of American cardholders use their cards on a monthly basis.(2)
- Around of American cardholders don’t use their cards despite having an account open.(2)
- Roughly of American cardholders don’t use their credit cards for transactions but do carry a balance on those accounts.(2)
How many credit cards are in American wallets?
- The number of credit card accounts open in the United States is . This is an all-time high for the United States.(2)
- The average American owns three credit cards.(3)
- 83% of Americans own at least one credit card.(3)
- 14% of Americans own at least 10 credit cards.(6)
- Generation Z owns the lowest average number of cards at 1.4.(4)
- 87% of white adults, 90% of Asian adults, 72% of Black adults and 76% of Hispanic adults own credit cards.(4)
Credit cards continue to grow as a favored form of payment
- Credit card usage as a form of payment has increased since 2016, growing to 27% of all payments by the end of 2020.(4)
- The top three credit card issuers in the US are American Express, Chase and Citi.(3)
- Visa is the most popular credit card network with 551 million cards in circulation the world over. Debit cards remain the most frequently used form of payment at 28% share of payments.(6)
US cardholders are using a small portion of their available credit
- The total credit card limit for US consumers sits at $4.06 trillion as of Q4 2021.(2)
- Americans still have a remaining credit limit of $4,057 billion to spend on their cards.(2)
- On the whole, Americans have used roughly 21.1% of their total credit limit.(2)
- Average credit card balances saw a 12% decline by Q4 2019. As of Q2 2021 however, this percent has begun trending upward once again.(2)
US cardholders primary card complaints are purchase-related
- The most common credit card complaint in 2021 was a problem with an unknown purchase appearing on a card. Roughly 31% of surveyed U.S. consumers cited this as their main complaint.(2)
- The second most common complaint was problems actually obtaining a credit card.(2)
- The least common complaint in 2021 was problems with credit reporting agencies investigating an existing problem. Only 3% of surveyed US cardholders listed this problem.(2)
Card delinquency rates fell in the wake of pandemic assistance
What do interest rates on the average US credit card look like?
The average credit card interest rate sits below 15%
Most credit cards feature some form of fees
- The average annual fee for a credit card is . of credit cards don’t charge an annual fee.(2)
- The average late payment fee charged on credit cards is .(2)
- Only of credit cards offer some form of limited-time 0% introductory rate.(2)
- Late payments can last up to seven years on a credit report from the date of delinquency.(11)
US consumer credit scores have grown since the pandemic
Crypto credit card statistics
- US consumers are slow to adopt crypto credit cards with only 5% of American adults possessing a card that allows them to earn some form of cryptocurrency.(2)
- 82% of surveyed consumers are not interested in crypto rewards at all and don’t have a card that can earn crypto.(2)
- 13% of surveyed consumers don’t have a card that can earn crypto but are interested in having this option.(2)
Five fun facts about the history of credit cards
Credit card fact #1 – Credit cards were originally like today’s store cards — offered by individual stores and only for use at those stores. The first one to be used at multiple locations was offered by The Diner’s Club in 1950, and it was good for use in 27 restaurants in New York City.
Credit card fact #2 – The first American Express credit card came out in 1958 and their Black Centurion card today has a $2,500 annual fee and minimum spend requirement of $250,000 a year. That’s not earnings, that’s spending.
Credit card fact #3 – Visa began life as BankAmericard, offered by Bank of America in 1958. It became Visa in 1976.
Credit Card fact #4 – Mastercard began life as MasterCharge and was formed by four Californian banks in 1967. It became Mastercard in 1979 and was the first card to use holograms.
Credit card fact #5 – Sears introduced the Discover Card in 1985 was introduced by Sears in 1985. Dean Witter owned Sears, which merged with Morgan Stanley in 1997.
- Finder: Online survey of 2,500 Americans conducted in December 2021
- National Bureau of Economic Research
- Upgraded Points
- Lending Tree
- Shift Processing
- Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Federal Reserve Board
- Federal reserve survey of consumer finances
- American Bankers Association, Q3 2021
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Q1 – 2021)
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