Average U.S. Credit Card Debt in 2019 - Prudent Financial Solutions

Average U.S. Credit Card Debt in 2019

Updated – March 26, 2019

Credit card balances are at all-time highs. Rate increases by the Federal Reserve will mean consumers pay billions more in interest charges.

We’ve updated our statistics on credit card debt in America to illustrate how much consumers are now taking on.

  • Americans paid banks $113 billion in credit card interest in 2018, up 12% from the $101 billion in interest paid in 2017, and up 49% over the last five years, as Fed rate increases have been passed on to consumers. MagnifyMoney analyzed FDIC data through December 2018 for each bank whose deposits are insured by the FDIC.
  • The four Federal Reserve rate increases in 2018 meant most credit card Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) increased a full percentage point more last year. Even without any interest rate increases in 2019, we estimate the increase in interest paid in the coming will continue to grow, putting Americans on track to pay over $122 billion in interest in 2019, an additional $9 billion more than the $113 billion currently being paid annually. Our analysis of the impact of Fed rate hikes found credit card rates are the most sensitive to Fed rate hikes, rising more than twice as fast as mortgage rates.
  • Average APRs on credit card accounts assessed interest are now 16.86%, up nearly 4 percentage points in five years, according to the Federal Reserve.
  • Total revolving credit balances are $1.03 trillion as of January 2019. The figure, reported monthly by the Federal Reserve, is the total amount of revolving credit balances reported by financial institutions, the overwhelming majority of which are credit and retail card balances, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). As of March 2018, non-card-related revolving balances such as overdraft lines of credit were approximately $74 billion, according to our analysis of the FDIC data used by the Federal Reserve to calculate total revolving balances.
  • Americans carry $682 billion in credit card debt that is not paid in full each month. This estimate includes people paying interest, as well as those carrying a balance on a card with a 0% intro rate. We based the estimate on a CFPB study of credit card account data that found 29% of total credit card balances are paid off each month, implying 71% of credit card balances revolve each month. We applied the percentage to the Federal Reserve’s revolving credit balance data less $74 billion in non-credit card revolving debt to reach $682 billion in credit card balances carried over month to month.
  • 43.8% of credit card accounts aren’t paid in full each month, according to the American Bankers Association. Those who don’t pay in full tend to have higher balances, which is why the percentage of balances not paid in full (71%) is higher than the percentage of accounts not paid in full (43.8%).
  • The average credit card balance is $6,348 for individuals with a credit card, according to Experian. This excludes store credit cards, which have an average balance of $1,841. Both figures include the statement balances of individuals who pay their balance in full each month.

Credit card use


  • Number of Americans who actively use credit cards: 176 million as of 2018, according to Transunion.
  • Average number of credit cards per consumer: 3.1, according to Experian. That doesn’t include an average of 2.5 retail credit cards.
  • Number of Americans who carry credit card debt month to month: 70 million.

Credit card debt


The following estimates only include the credit card balances of those who carry credit card debt from month to month — they exclude balances of those who pay in full each month.

  • Total credit card debt in the U.S. (not paid in full each month): $686 billion
  • Average APR: 16.86% (also excludes those with a 0% promotional rate for a balance transfer or purchases)
    • This estimate comes from the Federal Reserve’s monthly reporting of APRs on accounts assessed interest by banks.

Credit card balances


The following figures include the credit card statement balances of all credit card users, including those who pay their bill in full each month.

  • Total credit card balances: $1.03 trillion as of January 2019, an increase of 3.2% from January 2018. This includes credit and retail cards, and a small amount of overdraft line of credit balances.
  • Average credit card balance: $6,358, according to Experian (excludes retail credit cards, which have lower balances. The average consumer has $1,841 in balances on retail cards and we estimate combining all consumers with retail or credit card debt the average is approximately $5,000 per individual). All averages include those who pay their bill in full each month.

Who pays off their credit card bills?


According to the American Bankers Association, in 2018, accounts that are paid in full versus carrying debt month to month comprise the following mix of open credit card accounts:

  • Revolvers (carry debt month to month): 43.8% of credit card accounts
  • Transactors (use card, but pay in full): 30.4% of credit card accounts
  • Dormant (have a card, but don’t use it actively): 25.8% of credit card accounts

Delinquency rates


Credit card debt becomes delinquent when a bank reports a missed payment to the major credit reporting bureaus. Banks typically don’t report a missed payment until a person is at least 30 days late in paying. When a consumer doesn’t pay for at least 90 days, the credit card balance becomes seriously delinquent. Banks are very likely to take a total loss on seriously delinquent balances.

Debt burden by income


Those with the highest credit card debts aren’t necessarily the most financially insecure. According to the 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances, the top 10% of income earners who carried credit card debt had nearly twice as much debt as the average.

However, people with lower incomes have more burdensome credit card debt loads. Consumers in the lowest earning quintile had an average credit card debt of $2,100. However, their debt-to-income ratio was 13.9%. On the high end, earners in the top decile had an average of $12,500 in credit card debt. But debt-to-income ratio was just 4.8%.

Income Percentile

Median Income

Average CC Debt

CC Debt: Income Ratio

0%-20%

$15,100

$2,100

13.9%

20%-40%

$31,400

$3,800

12.1%

40%-60%

$52,700

$4,400

8.3%

60%-80%

$86,100

$6,800

7.9%

80%-90%

$136,000

$8,700

6.4%

90%-100%

$260,200

$12,500

4.8%

Although high-income earners have more manageable credit card debt loads on average, they aren’t taking steps to pay off the debt faster than lower income debt carriers. In fact, high-income earners are as likely to pay the minimum as those with below average incomes. If an economic recession leads to job losses at all wage levels, we could see high levels of credit card debt in default.

Generational differences in credit card use


In 2017, Generation X surpassed the baby boomer generation to have the highest credit card balances. Experian estimates that on average, Generation X has a balance of $7,750 per person, 21.94% more than the national average ($6,354). Boomers carry nearly as much as Generation X with an average balance of $7,550.

At the other end of the spectrum, millennials, who are often characterized as frivolous spenders and are too quick to take on debt, have nearly the lowest credit card balances. Their median balance clocks in at $4,315. The youngest generation, Gen Z, has the smallest average balance of $2,047 per person.

How does your state compare?

Using data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel and Equifax, you can compare median credit card balances and credit card delinquency.

Average Cerdit Card Debit By State In U.S

State

Credit Card Debt Per Debtor

Credit Card Debt Per House

Alabama

$3,710.56

$7,198.48

Alaska

$5,879.85

$11,406.91

Arizona

$4,299.70

$8,341.42

Arkansas

$3,289.01

$6,380.69

California

$4,569.51

$8,864.85

Colorado

$4,898.56

$9,503.20

Connecticut

$5,171.89

$10,033.47

Delaware

$4,338.88

$8,417.42

Florida

$4,318.35

$8,377.59

Georgia

$4,727.46

$9,171.27

Hawaii

$5,330.46

$10,341.09

Idaho

$3,791.84

$7,356.18

Illinois

$4,412.71

$8,560.65

Indiana

$3,624.05

$7,030.65

Iowa

$3,169.16

$6,148.17

Kansas

$3,854.05

$7,476.85

Kentucky

$3,457.67

$6,707.88

Louisiana

$3,767.91

$7,309.75

Maine

$3,905.56

$7,576.78

Maryland

$5,287.61

$10,257.96

Massachusetts

$4,720.53

$9,157.83

Michigan

$3,458.51

$6,709.51

Minnesota

$4,257.26

$8,259.08

Mississippi

$3,204.95

$6,217.60

Missouri

$3,763.46

$7,301.11

Montana

$3,732.83

$7,241.69

Nebraska

$3,594.46

$6,973.25

Nevada

$4,263.19

$8,270.59

New Hampshire

$4,943.44

$9,590.27

New Jersey

$5,361.06

$10,400.47

New Mexico

$4,185.93

$8,120.71

New York

$4,969.84

$9,641.50

North Carolina

$4,124.04

$8,000.63

North Dakota

$3,756.19

$7,287.00

Ohio

$3,738.95

$7,253.56

Oklahoma

$4,038.90

$7,835.47

Oregon

$3,881.17

$7,529.48

Pennsylvania

$4,209.21

$8,165.86

Rhode Island

$4,376.34

$8,490.10

South Carolina

$4,187.65

$8,124.04

South Dakota

$3,608.28

$7,000.07

Tennessee

$3,903.24

$7,572.28

Texas

$4,937.00

$9,577.78

Utah

$3,775.21

$7,323.92

Vermont

$4,199.77

$8,147.56

Virginia

$5,404.32

$10,484.38

Washington

$4,568.09

$8,862.09

West Virginia

$3,381.36

$6,559.84

Wisconsin

$3,410.29

$6,615.96

Wyoming

$3,944.72

$7,652.76


Median Credit Card Balance By Age

State

Silent

Boomers

Gen X

Millennials

Gen Z

Alaska

$5,456

$9,495

$8,995

$4,464

$1,518

Alabama

$3,511

$6,461

$6,485

$3,324

$1,455

Arkansas

$3,194

$5,995

$6,197

$3,240

$1,803

Arizona

$4,149

$6,967

$6,778

$3,575

$1,555

California

$4,232

$7,050

$6,578

$3,654

$1,596

Colorado

$4,004

$7,499

$7,439

$3,833

$1,514

Connecticut

$4,091

$8,179

$8,046

$3,716

$2,567

Dist. of Columbia

$5,486

$7,976

$7,393

$4,596

$2,814

Delaware

$4,147

$7,128

$7,144

$3,285

$1,608

Florida

$4,311

$7,047

$6,615

$3,639

$1,837

Georgia

$4,356

$7,517

$6,972

$3,540

$1,835

Hawaii

$4,386

$7,073

$7,355

$4,203

$1,657

Iowa

$2,367

$5,297

$6,163

$2,857

$935

Idaho

$3,477

$6,147

$6,332

$3,193

$928

Illinois

$3,641

$7,054

$7,040

$3,537

$1,556

Indiana

$3,137

$5,998

$6,174

$3,003

$1,402

Kansas

$3,187

$6,514

$6,930

$3,292

$1,421

Kentucky

$3,044

$5,727

$6,080

$3,082

$1,372

Louisiana

$3,679

$6,598

$6,561

$3,425

$1,971

Massachusetts

$3,481

$7,017

$7,022

$3,479

$1,882

Maryland

$4,341

$7,994

$7,458

$3,671

$1,749

Maine

$3,107

$6,054

$6,531

$3,375

$1,286

Michigan

$3,436

$6,049

$6,113

$2,971

$1,523

Minnesota

$3,025

$6,299

$6,898

$3,244

$1,338

Missouri

$3,265

$6,333

$6,757

$3,279

$1,346

Mississippi

$3,218

$5,634

$5,718

$3,043

$2,011

Montana

$3,285

$5,977

$6,868

$3,385

$1,506

North Carolina

$3,481

$6,566

$6,710

$3,397

$1,486

North Dakota

$2,141

$5,362

$6,646

$3,326

$1,467

Nebraska

$2,717

$5,909

$6,498

$3,136

$1,388

New Hampshire

$3,582

$7,140

$7,443

$3,519

$1,666

New Jersey

$4,126

$8,011

$7,882

$3,928

$2,241

New Mexico

$4,373

$6,906

$6,534

$3,532

$1,207

Nevada

$4,733

$6,993

$6,357

$3,700

$1,185

New York

$3,906

$7,127

$7,234

$3,986

$2,495

Ohio

$3,313

$6,383

$6,530

$3,135

$1,465

Oklahoma

$3,484

$6,789

$6,900

$3,493

$1,641

Oregon

$3,618

$6,502

$6,481

$3,245

$856

Pennsylvania

$3,282

$6,550

$7,059

$3,457

$1,545

Rhode Island

$3,524

$7,162

$7,313

$3,371

$1,786

South Carolina

$4,019

$6,537

$6,559

$3,281

$1,375

South Dakota

$2,584

$5,710

$6,900

$3,250

$1,531

Tennessee

$3,388

$6,309

$6,505

$3,308

$1,737

Texas

$4,350

$7,591

$7,119

$3,779

$1,945

Utah

$3,364

$6,411

$6,713

$3,070

$932

Virginia

$4,132

$7,956

$7,968

$3,985

$1,692

Vermont

$3,681

$6,197

$6,547

$3,297

$2,511

Washington

$3,947

$7,365

$7,190

$3,500

$1,355

Wisconsin

$2,740

$5,673

$6,289

$2,914

$992

West Virginia

$2,914

$5,573

$6,158

$3,238

$1,166

.

Wyoming

$3,523

$6,356

$6,889

$3,663

$1,442

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