Average American Credit Card Debt in 2022: $5,221

By:  Lyle Daly | Updated June 16, 2022

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A pile of different colored credit cards.

Image source: Getty Images

At first glance, credit card debt numbers in the United States look enormous. Consumers have a total of $841 billion on their credit cards, and the average American credit card debt is $5,221.

Those numbers alone don't provide the whole story. Consumers have made progress on their credit card debt during the COVID-19 pandemic, even while other types of debt have been rising. Those are also the overall numbers, and they vary significantly for different demographics.

We've reviewed research from government agencies and credit bureaus to get all the latest data on U.S. credit card debt. Keep reading for the full results.

Key findings

  • The average American credit card debt is $5,221.
  • Americans have an average credit utilization rate of 25.6%.
  • Credit card interest rates have been rising and recently reached an average of 16.4%.
  • Alaska is the state with the highest average credit card debt at $7,089.
  • Wisconsin is the state with the lowest average credit card debt at $4,587.
  • White Americans have the highest average credit card debt of any racial group at $6,940.
  • Higher income corresponds to larger credit card balances, but consumers in the middle income brackets are the most likely to have credit card debt.

Average American credit card debt

How much credit card debt does the average American have? The average balance is $5,221 as of the third quarter of 2021, according to Experian.

Although that's a large amount, it's a 1.8% decrease from 2020, and it's much lower than it was before COVID-19. That's an encouraging sign, because most other types of debt have increased over that same time period.

Column graph showing average credit card debt by year with trend downward from 2019 to 2021.
Year Average credit card debt
2019 $6,194
2020 $5,315
2021 $5,221
Data source: Experian (2022). Credit card debt statistics are from the third quarter of each year.

U.S. credit card debt as a whole reached an all-time high in 2019, peaking at $930 billion in the fourth quarter of that year. It has fluctuated throughout the pandemic, but appears to be on the rise again. It increased by 9.2% from 2021 to 2022.

Year Credit card debt Total debt Credit card debt as a percentage of total debt
2003 $688 billion $7.23 trillion 9.5%
2004 $695 billion $8.29 trillion 8.4%
2005 $710 billion $9.21 trillion 7.7%
2006 $723 billion $10.38 trillion 7.0%
2007 $764 billion $11.50 trillion 6.6%
2008 $837 billion $12.54 trillion 6.7%
2009 $843 billion $12.53 trillion 6.7%
2010 $762 billion $12.12 trillion 6.3%
2011 $696 billion $11.75 trillion 5.9%
2012 $679 billion $11.44 trillion 5.9%
2013 $660 billion $11.23 trillion 5.9%
2014 $659 billion $11.65 trillion 5.7%
2015 $684 billion $11.85 trillion 5.8%
2016 $712 billion $12.25 trillion 5.8%
2017 $764 billion $12.73 trillion 6.0%
2018 $815 billion $13.21 trillion 6.2%
2019 $848 billion $13.67 trillion 6.2%
2020 $893 billion $14.30 trillion 6.2%
2021 $770 billion $14.64 trillion 5.3%
2022 $841 billion $15.84 trillion 5.3%
Data source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York (2022). Debt statistics are from the first quarter of each year.

While it has been a very gradual change, credit card debt has become a smaller portion of Americans' total household debt.

What is the average American credit card debt per household?

The average American household has about $6,473 in credit card debt, based on the most recent U.S. credit card debt and household data.

Average credit card debt per household was calculated by dividing U.S. credit card debt in 2022 ($841 billion) by the most recent number of households taken in 2021 (129.93 million).

Average credit card debt by state

Alaska has $7,089 in average credit card debt, more than any other state. Wisconsin and Iowa have the smallest average balances at $4,587.

Credit card debt numbers vary quite a bit by state. Here's a full list of each state's average credit card balance as of 2021.

State Average credit card debt
Alabama $5,258
Alaska $7,089
Arkansas $4,964
Arizona $5,414
California $5,635
Colorado $5,909
Connecticut $6,237
Delaware $5,581
Florida $5,748
Georgia $5,822
Hawaii $6,197
Idaho $5,025
Illinois $5,552
Indiana $4,796
Iowa $4,587
Kansas $5,308
Kentucky $4,772
Louisiana $5,355
Maine $4,950
Maryland $6,164
Massachusetts $5,448
Michigan $4,850
Minnesota $5,115
Mississippi $4,819
Missouri $5,117
Montana $5,223
Nebraska $4,985
Nevada $5,651
New Hampshire $5,496
New Jersey $6,115
New Mexico $5,203
New York $5,754
North Carolina $5,361
North Dakota $5,223
Ohio $4,968
Oklahoma $5,571
Oregon $5,124
Pennsylvania $5,293
Rhode Island $5,324
South Carolina $5,523
South Dakota $5,007
Tennessee $5,234
Texas $6,033
Utah $5,233
Vermont $4,963
Virginia $6,189
Washington $5,684
Washington, D.C. $6,367
West Virginia $4,831
Wisconsin $4,587
Wyoming $5,584
Data source: Experian (email communication, 2021).

States with the highest credit card debt

Alaska has consistently had the highest credit card debt in recent years, and in 2021, it was 28% more than the national average.

  1. Alaska: $7,089
  2. Washington, D.C.: $6,367
  3. Connecticut: $6,237
  4. Hawaii: $6,197
  5. Virginia: $6,189

States with the lowest credit card debt

Wisconsin and Iowa both have 17% less credit card debt than the national average, but it's Wisconsin that's the official winner. Before rounding off, its average credit card debt beat Iowa's by a razor-thin margin of $0.08.

  1. Wisconsin: $4,587
  2. Iowa: $4,587
  3. Kentucky: $4,772
  4. Indiana: $4,796
  5. Mississippi: $4,819

Average credit utilization rate

The average credit utilization rate is 25.6% as of 2021, a 0.3% increase from where it was in 2020.

This metric, also known as a credit utilization ratio, is your credit card balances divided by your credit limits. If you have one credit card with a $1,000 balance and a $10,000 credit limit, then your credit utilization would be 10%.

Year Average credit utilization rate
2020 25.3%
2021 25.6%
Date source: Experian (2022). Utilization rates are from the third quarter of each year.

Lower credit utilization is better for your credit score. The conventional wisdom is that you should keep it below 30%, so consumers are doing well managing their credit cards.

Average credit card interest rates

The average credit card APR on interest-bearing accounts is 16.4% as of 2021, but that will likely increase a considerable amount due to interest rate hikes in 2022.

Interest-bearing accounts include all credit cards that charge interest. It excludes credit cards that aren't charging interest at that time, so 0% intro APR credit cards don't count until the introductory period ends.

Column graph showing average interest-bearing credit card interest rates with a trend upward from 2017 to 2021.
Year 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Average (interest-bearing) credit card interest rate 13.8% 14.6% 15.2% 16.2% 16.4%
Data source: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (2022). Interest rate statistics are from the fourth quarter of each year.

Credit card interest makes up a significant chunk of card issuers' earnings. Interest rates have been steadily increasing in recent years, although there was only a modest uptick of 0.2% from 2020 to 2021.

READ MORE: How Does Credit Card Interest Work?

Credit card delinquency rates

Credit card delinquency rates have fallen over the past two years. The 90-day delinquency rate has seen the best results, as it's down 63%.

A credit card account is considered delinquent when it's at least 30 days past due, which is when it can be recorded on the cardholder's credit report. Although that already does significant damage to the cardholder's credit score and carries financial penalties, the consequences get worse as credit cards reach 60 and 90 days past due.

Days past due 2019 2020 2021
30–59 3.9% 2.4% 2.3%
60–89 1.9% 1.3% 1.0%
90 or more 6.8% 3.8% 2.5%
Data source: Experian (2021).

Average credit card debt by income

Americans in higher income brackets carry higher credit card balances on average.

However, it's the middle class and the upper-middle class that's more likely to have credit card debt. Among Americans in the 60th through 79th income percentiles, 56.8% have credit card debt. Those in the 40th through 59th income percentile weren't far behind, as 55% have credit card debt.

It's the Americans in the highest (90th to 100th) and lowest (under 20th) income percentiles who are least likely to carry balances on their credit cards. Less than a third of each group has credit card debt.

Income percentile Median annual income Average credit card debt Percentage with credit card debt
Less than 20 $16,290 $3,830 30.5%
20–39 $35,630 $4,650 45.6%
40–59 $59,050 $4,910 55.0%
60–79 $95,700 $6,990 56.8%
80–89 $151,700 $9,780 45.9%
90–100 $290,160 $12,600 32.2%
Data source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances (2020).

Editor's note: Data from the Survey of Consumer Finances was collected in 2019, and is the most recent available from the Federal Reserve.

Average credit card debt by race

White Americans have average credit card debt of $6,940, the most of any racial group.

Black Americans have the lowest average credit card debt at $3,940, and Hispanic Americans are right in between those two other groups with $5,510 in average credit card debt.

Race/ethnicity White, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic Hispanic Other All families
Average credit card debt $6,940 $3,940 $5,510 $6,320 $6,270
Data source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances (2020).

Average credit card debt by age

Generation X carries the highest average credit card balance at $7,236. That's over $1,000 more than baby boomers, who came in second with an average balance of $6,230.

The lowest average credit card debt by age was Generation Z with $2,312. Since young adults have lower incomes on average, they also have a lower average credit limit, which at least helps with avoiding credit card debt.

Generation Average credit card debt
Generation Z $2,312
Millennials $4,569
Generation X $7,236
Baby Boomers $6,230
Silent Generation $3,821
Data source: Experian (2021).

Credit card debt metrics are mostly positive, indicating that consumers aren't getting in over their heads. The average credit card debt in America of $5,221 is a decrease of $973 from where it was two years prior, before COVID-19.

The average FICO® Score reached 714 in 2021. That's a four-point increase from 2020 and the highest average credit score on record. 71% of Americans have a credit score in the good credit range or higher, which starts at a FICO® Score of 670.

Credit utilization was stable from 2020 to 2021, and delinquency rates have declined. The assistance programs that credit card companies offered during the pandemic likely played a part in helping cardholders avoid delinquencies.

Those are all good signs, especially considering the impact inflation has had on consumer finance. Even with higher price tags for goods and services, consumers haven't had to add more to their credit cards, at least so far. The same isn't true with other types of debt, as most of them have increased.

Debt type Average balance (2020) Average balance (2021) Change
Credit card $5,315 $5,221 -1.8%
Personal loan $16,458 $17,064 3.7%
Auto loan $19,703 $20,987 6.5%
Student loan $38,792 $39,487 1.8%
HELOC $41,954 $39,556 -5.7%
Mortgage $208,185 $220,380 5.9%
Source: Experian (2022). Balances are from the third quarter of each year.

How to get out of credit card debt

As we've seen from these statistics, owing money to your credit card issuer is common. Many American credit card holders have expensive balances that are costing them interest charges every month.

If you're in this situation, here are some methods to consider that can help you get out of credit card debt:

  • Keep your credit card charges to a minimum. Either don't use credit or only use it for necessary expenses so you don't add to your debt. Since this is revolving debt, it's hard to get rid of if you continue using your credit cards.
  • Cut spending where you can. Look at your recent spending, see if there's anywhere you can cut back, and make a budget that you can use going forward. There are several budgeting apps that can help here.
  • Consider a balance transfer credit card if you have good credit. Balance transfer credit cards offer a 0% intro APR on credit card debt you transfer over. Although card issuers cut down on these offers at the start of the pandemic, there are now plenty of quality balance transfer cards available, and they're the best credit card option for paying off debt.
  • Look into debt consolidation loans, as well. Debt consolidation loans typically have lower interest rates than most credit cards (excluding the 0% intro APR certain cards offer on purchases and/or balance transfers). They also have a fixed payment amount and length, which can provide the structure needed to eliminate credit card debt.
  • Explore other options if you can't make your monthly payments. You may be able to negotiate with your credit card issuer to lower your interest rate or monthly payment amount. Another option is to look into non-profit organizations that offer credit counseling or a credit card hardship program.

Sources

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that pay us a commission. 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.

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