This Was the Average Credit Card Balance in 2021. How Does Yours Compare?

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

KEY POINTS

  • A new survey reveals the typical American had a credit card balance of $1,847 last year.
  • It's a drop from 2020, but a problem still worth addressing.


Are you carrying too much unhealthy debt?

If you're carrying a balance on your credit cards, you're not alone. Many people wind up with credit card balances, often due to circumstances like unplanned bills. And let's face it -- it's not uncommon to carry a balance following the holiday season, when it feels like there's tons of pressure to spend.

If you owe money on your credit cards, you may be curious to know how your balance compares to that of the typical borrower. A recent NFCC and Wells Fargo survey may have your answer.

In 2021, the average credit card borrower owed $1,847. That's a notable drop from 2020, when the average borrower had a balance of $2,906.

But while it's encouraging to see the average credit card balance decline, a better scenario would be for consumers to not have credit card debt at all -- or at least for you to not have any. With that in mind, here's how to eliminate your credit card balance efficiently, no matter what it happens to be.

How to pay off credit card debt

If you owe money on your credit cards, the longer you carry that balance, the more interest you're bound to accrue. That could, in turn, make your debt far more expensive and difficult to pay off.

That's why it's important to assess your debts and come up with a payoff plan. One option is to simply pay off your various cards in order of highest interest rate to lowest. If you cut back on spending and take on a second job temporarily to earn more money, you may be able to chip away at that debt until it's gone, or at least substantially whittled down, by the end of the year.

Another option is to look at consolidating your debt to make it easier to manage and less costly to pay off. If you do a balance transfer, you may be able to move your existing balances onto a single credit card with a lower interest rate -- or even a 0% introductory rate.

You can also look at consolidating your credit card balances by taking out a personal loan, using your loan proceeds to pay off your different cards, and then repaying your loan in equal monthly installments. The benefit of going this route is you'll typically pay less interest on a personal loan than what your credit cards will charge, and also, you'll enjoy a fixed-interest rate on your loan (whereas credit card interest can be variable).

Get rid of that debt

Maybe you have a lower credit card balance than the typical American consumer, or maybe your balance is a lot higher. For curiosity's sake, it may help you to know what the average credit card balance looks like. But ultimately, your best move is to address your specific debt load, no matter how high or low it is. That way, you can stop throwing money away on interest and instead focus on meeting your personal financial goals.

Alert: highest cash back card we've seen now has 0% intro APR until nearly 2025

If you're using the wrong credit or debit card, it could be costing you serious money. Our experts love this top pick, which features a 0% intro APR for 15 months, an insane cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee. 

In fact, this card is so good that our experts even use it personally. Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes. 

Read our free review

Our Research Expert

Related Articles

View All Articles Learn More Link Arrow