Average Credit Card Debt in America

Americans have paid down over $100 Billion of credit card debt since the start of the pandemic, but the average monthly credit card debt per cardholder is still $5,668 as of Q2 2021.

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What Is the Average Credit Card Debt in America in 2021?

While credit card debt in the United States decreased from 2020 to 2021, the average cardholder still had $5,668 of credit card debt as of Q2 2021.

The average amount of credit card debt per person varies depending on age, race, income and location. MoneyGeek analyzed key credit card debt statistics to explore the state of debt in the U.S. and understand the factors associated with credit card debt.

Key Findings
  • There were 511.61 million credit card accounts in the U.S in Q2 2021.
  • Credit card balances totaled $787 billion in Q2 2021, down from $893 billion in Q1 2020 — the last quarter before the pandemic.
  • The average cardholder had $5,668 in credit card debt in Q2 2021, 12% lower than the average in Q1 2020 ($6,434).
  • Individuals 75 or older had the most average credit card debt ($8,100), and those under 35 had the least ($3,700).
  • Alaska had the highest average credit card debt at $6,617 per person; Iowa had the lowest at $4,289.
  • Americans in the 60th to 79.9th annual income percentile were most likely to carry debt (57%); those below the 20th percentile were the least likely (30%).
  • White Americans had the highest average debt per person of any racial group ($6,900), while Black and African American cardholders had the lowest ($3,900).

Credit Card Debt Trends

While credit card debt increased slightly from Q1 2021 to Q2 2021, it has decreased substantially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Q1 2020, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The average credit card holder in the U.S. had $5,668 in credit card debt in Q2 2021 — that’s 1% higher than Q1 2021’s $5,611 average.

From the first Q1 2020 to Q2 2021, the average credit card debt per cardholder decreased by $766 or 12%. The average cardholder had $6,434 in Q1 2020.

In Q2 2021, the total credit card balance in the country reached $787 billion, 8.5% lower than the $893 billion recorded in Q1 2020. That means cardholders paid down $106 billion of credit card debt since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Debt per capita was $53,897 during Q2 2021, $958 higher than the $52,939 reported in Q1 of the same year. In comparison, the total debt per capita was around $52,204 in Q1 2020.

Average Credit Card Debt by Age

Credit card debt tends to vary by age. MoneyGeek’s analysis of data from the Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances found that, on average, older adults have more credit card debt than younger adults.

Data showed that people 35 or younger have the lowest average credit card debt at $3,700. Around 48% of individuals in this age group carry debt.

Adults 75 or older have the highest average credit card debt at $8,100, but just 28% of people in this age group have debt.

Meanwhile, 52% of Americans 45–54 years old have credit card debt, making them the age group most likely to carry it. The average credit card debt for this age group is $7,700.

Average Credit Card Debt by Age
Age Group
Median Credit Card Debt
Average Credit Card Debt
Percentage Who Carry Debt

Younger than 35

$1,900

$3,700

48%

35-44

$2,600

$6,000

51%

45-54

$3,200

$7,700

52%

55-64

$3,000

$6,900

47%

65-74

$2,900

$7,000

41%

75 or older

$2,700

$8,100

28%

Average Credit Card Debt by State and Region

How much credit card debt the average American has is impacted by where they live.

In Q3 2020, an Experian analysis found that people living in Alaska had the highest average credit card balance at $6,617 per person. The states where people had the next highest debts were Connecticut ($6,040), Virginia ($5,992), New Jersey ($5,978), Maryland ($5,977), Texas ($5,848), Georgia ($5,693), District of Columbia ($5,671), Florida ($5,623) and Hawaii ($5,614).

The state with the lowest average credit card debt is Iowa with $4,289. The states with the next-lowest average credit card debts were Wisconsin ($4,376), Kentucky ($4,521), Idaho ($4,582), Mississippi ($4,587), South Dakota ($4,633), Indiana ($4,651), Vermont ($4,653), Maine ($4,676) and Oregon ($4,681).

Average Credit Card Debt by State

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  • State
    Average Credit Card Debt
  • Alabama
    $5,047
  • Alaska
    $6,617
  • Arizona
    $5,157
  • Arkansas
    $4,791
  • California
    $5,120
  • Colorado
    $5,541
  • Connecticut
    $6,040
  • Delaware
    $5,462
  • District of Columbia
    $5,671
  • Florida
    $5,623
  • Georgia
    $5,693
  • Hawaii
    $5,614
  • Idaho
    $4,582
  • Illinois
    $5,365
  • Indiana
    $4,651
  • Iowa
    $4,289
  • Kansas
    $5,063
  • Kentucky
    $4,521
  • Louisiana
    $5,127
  • Maine
    $4,676
  • Maryland
    $5,977
  • Massachusetts
    $5,141
  • Michigan
    $4,692
  • Minnesota
    $4,767
  • Mississippi
    $4,587
  • Missouri
    $4,950
  • Montana
    $4,785
  • Nebraska
    $4,819
  • Nevada
    $5,422
  • New Hampshire
    $5,327
  • New Jersey
    $5,978
  • New Mexico
    $4,948
  • New York
    $5,414
  • North Carolina
    $5,121
  • North Dakota
    $4,865
  • Ohio
    $4,888
  • Oklahoma
    $5,271
  • Oregon
    $4,681
  • Pennsylvania
    $5,080
  • Rhode Island
    $5,256
  • South Carolina
    $5,310
  • South Dakota
    $4,633
  • Tennessee
    $5,006
  • Texas
    $5,848
  • Utah
    $4,900
  • Vermont
    $4,653
  • Virginia
    $5,992
  • Washington
    $5,238
  • West Virginia
    $4,686
  • Wisconsin
    $4,376
  • Wyoming
    $5,182

Credit Card Debt by Income

By analyzing data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, MoneyGeek found that credit card debts and balances vary by household income.

Generally, households with higher incomes tend to have higher credit card debts. For instance, households in the highest income percentile — 90th to 100th — have an average of $12,600 of credit card debt. That's more than three times more than the income bracket with the lowest average debt. Those with the lowest annual income percentile — less than the 20th — had the lowest average credit card debt ($3,800).

Americans in the 60th to 79.9th annual income percentile were most likely to carry debt; approximately 57% of individuals in this income bracket had credit card debt.

Average Credit Card Debt by Income
Income Percentile
Median Credit Card Debt
Average Credit Card Debt
Percentage Who Carry Debt

Less than 20

$1,100

$3,800

30%

20–39.9

$1,900

$4,700

46%

40–59.9

$2,400

$4,900

55%

60–79.9

$3,600

$7,000

57%

80–89.9

$5,000

$9,700

46%

90–100

$6,000

$12,600

32%

Credit Card Debt by Race & Ethnicity

U.S. residents identifying themselves as white (non-Hispanics) reported an average of $6,900 credit debt, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. This group had the highest average credit card balance of any surveyed.

Black and African-American non-Hispanic cardholders recorded the lowest amount of credit card debt at an average of $3,900 per cardholder.

Hispanic and Latino cardholders had an average of $5,500 credit card debt per person during the same period.

Those who identified with a race outside those mentioned above or as multiple races averaged $6,300 of credit card debt.

Hispanics and Latino cardholders had the highest percentage of individuals with debt at 50%. Those who identified as other or multiple races had the lowest rate of individuals who carried debt at 44%.

Average Credit Card Debt by Race & Ethnicity
Race
Median Credit Card Debt
Average Credit Card Debt
Percentage Who Carry Debt

White (Non-Hispanic)

$3,200

$6,900

45%

Black or African-American (Non-Hispanic)

$1,300

$3,900

48%

Hispanic or Latino

$1,900

$5,500

50%

Other or Multiple Races

$2,400

$6,300

44%

Expert Insights

Dealing credit card can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be impossible. Our panel of experts weighed in on some of the best ways to pay down credit card debt and related topics.

  1. What's the most important thing for credit card holders to know about credit card debt?
  2. What are the best options to pay off credit card debt?
  3. How much credit card debt is too much?
  4. What happens when you're considered delinquent on a credit card payment?
Irene Skricki
Irene Skricki

Policy Analyst in the Office of Community Affairs of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau's Consumer Education and Engagement Division

Jordan Grzesczyk, CFP®
Jordan Grzesczyk, CFP®

Certified Financial PlannerTM Transverse Wealth Solutions

Sean Fox
Sean Fox

President of Freedom Debt Relief (San Mateo, California)

Todd Christensen
Todd Christensen

Education Manager at Debt Reduction Services, Inc.

Freddie Huynh
Freddie Huynh

Vice President of Data Optimization with Freedom Financial Network (San Mateo, California)

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About the Author


expert-profile

Doug Milnes is the head of marketing and communications at MoneyGeek. He has spent more than a decade in corporate finance performing valuations for Duff and Phelps and financial planning and analysis for various companies including OpenTable. He holds a master’s degree in Predictive Analytics (Data Science) from Northwestern University and is a CFA charter holder. Doug geeks out on building financial and predictive models and using data to make informed decisions.


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