What is the Average Credit Card Debt in the U.S.?
Key points about: average American credit card debt
The average American had $5,589 in credit card debt in Q1 2022, according to data from Experian®.
In the third quarter of 2022, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York estimated total credit card debt for all Americans was $930 billion.
Alaska residents carry the highest credit card debt, while residents of Iowa have the lowest per person.
According to data compiled by Experian, the average credit card debt for Americans was an estimated $5,589 through the first quarter of 2022. This was an increase from the roughly $5,000 average credit card balance found by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) at the end of 2020.
But what does that number mean exactly? And if your household debt is near–or even above–the average debt of Americans, what steps can you take to start paying it down?
Total credit card debt held by Americans
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, by the end of the third quarter in 2022, total credit card debt for Americans reached an estimated $930 billion, a sharp rise since falling during the pandemic.
In its 2021 report, the CFPB estimated total credit card debt in American households reached $926 billion in 2019 before dipping to $811 billion in 2020, due to reduced pandemic spending and federal economic relief programs. Since then, total credit card debt in the U.S. has crept back up to pre-pandemic levels.
Average credit card debt by state
According to the data compiled by Experian, residents of Alaska carry the highest average credit card debt at $6,787. Residents of Iowa carry the lowest at $4,609. Here are the 10 best and worst states for average credit card debt.
States with the highest average credit card debt
- Alaska: $6,787
- Connecticut: $6,516
- New Jersey: $6,428
- Maryland: $6,276
- Virginia: $6,249
- Texas: $6,194
- Florida: $6,050
- Georgia: $5,994
- Colorado: $5,915
- New York: $5,883
States with the lowest average credit card debt
- Iowa: $4,609
- Wisconsin: $4,628
- Kentucky: $4,734
- Mississippi: $4,741
- Idaho: $4,821
- West Virginia: $4,844
- Indiana: $4,847
- South Dakota: $4,876
- Maine: $4,913
- Oregon: $4,940
What counts as credit card debt?
Mortgages, auto loans, and student loans are not considered credit card debt, but some kinds of debt are counted as credit card debt even though they’re not attached to a credit card account.
Beyond standard credit card debt, such as an everyday credit card account, consumer finance accounts also fall into this umbrella of “credit card debt.” Consumer finance accounts can be thought of as loans extended to consumers on behalf of a company. For example, furniture stores and payday loans may fall within this category.
Tips for paying down credit card debt
The good news about credit card debt is that it’s possible to manage. By paying down some credit card debt, you could improve your credit score by lowering your credit utilization, and you’re more likely to save on interest charges. Here are some tips for managing your own credit card debt.
Set a goal. Is your goal to pay off one or more credit cards, or to get out of debt completely? Figure out what that goal is, and write it down, along with an achievable timeline for being successful.
For example, if you’re looking to pay off multiple credit cards, you could try a balance transfer credit card. With a balance transfer card, you could consolidate debt from multiple cards to a single credit card with a 0% or low introductory interest rate. Your timeline would be to pay off the balance transfer before the intro period ends.
Stick to a budget. A budget is critical to helping you get out of debt. Make sure that your budget is realistic and takes into account your needs, as well as those of your partner or family. You’ll need their help and buy-in if you are going to make this work.
Create a payment plan. To help you create a realistic plan for paying off your card or cards, utilize an online payoff calculator to help you visualize how much of a monthly payment you can afford, and when your payoff date will be if you chip away at your balance consistently. If you have multiple debts to repay–that carry different interest rates–focus on repaying the higher interest rate debt first, to reduce the total interest you’ll pay.
How to get help with credit card debt
If you struggle with personal finance and serious debt, it can be hard to make the minimum required payments and can lead to bad credit. In that case, you may want to consider credit counseling to learn more about debt relief options.
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