How much credit card debt does the average American hold in 2023? (2024)

Life has always been expensive. But lately, it seems like it’s become more difficult to stretch a dollar.

Recent data from TransUnion confirms this, publishing a report that details the average credit card debt across the U.S. In every demographic, the numbers are startling. Holding credit card debt is the equivalent of lighting a chunk of your income on fire. Nightmarishly high interest rates make it even harder to afford life’s myriad expenses. If you’re an “average” consumer, you need a plan to pay down your credit card debt quickly.

Credit card debt in America by the numbers

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit, credit card debt in America has increased by $45 billion from Q1 of 2023. That represents a 4.6% increase in a single quarter, with cardholders shouldering thirteen-figure debt at $1.03 trillion for the first time. In short, that amounts to an average balance of $5,733 per cardholder.

Eye-watering, to say the least–and the fact that many of us carry no balances makes this statistical average even more alarming.

Consider the implications: The Federal Reserve reports that the average credit card interest rates are 20.68% in Q2 of 2023. Making only the minimum monthly payment on a $5,733 balance could result in over $1,000 in interest payments. That’s not to mention some borderline predatory credit cards that impose more than 30% APR.

Interest rates this lofty make it extremely difficult to “undo” overspending.

Credit card debt by age

TransUnion provides data surrounding current credit card debt by cardholder age. Here are the averages it found:

These figures show that, generally speaking, cardholders aged 30–64 possess more than the estimated credit card debt national average. Individuals outside of this spectrum may have fewer bills, perhaps due to situations like living at home (in the case of younger cardholders) or receiving subsidies for things like in-home assistance or assisted living (in the case of older cardholders).

States with the highest and lowest credit card debt

States with the highest and lowest credit card debt are not necessarily proportional to the cost of living in each area. As of early 2023, Alaska was the state with the most average credit card debt at $6,652 per person (about $900 more than the national average). Conversely, Wisconsinites carry the least credit card debt. They average $4,700, which is over $1,000 under the national average.

Business credit card debt

For many reasons, small business credit cards are a popular tool for business owners. One big motivation is to keep personal expenses sequestered from work expenses and earn rewards in business-focused bonus categories while they’re at it.

Senior Wealth Advisor Neal Furlong says small business credit cards are a good idea for anyone operating an entity, no matter how small. “Even for folks that operate as their own sole proprietors, it’s easier to track your numbers for tax purposes–and [see] what’s a deductible expense–so you’re not mixing [business and personal expenses].”

JPMorgan Chase provided data that the median revolving balance among small business credit cards averaged slightly more than $7,000 in 2022. In other words, for cardholders who failed to pay their balances in full each month, $7,000 was the average balance carried.

Tips for paying down credit card debt

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who has racked up credit card debt, don’t despair. There are many proven tools and strategies that can help you pay down that debt quickly and get your finances back on track. Here are some of the best methods.

“Snowball” or “Avalanche” method

Two fashionable tactics for eliminating credit card debt are the “snowball” and “avalanche” methods. Both are very simple and practical for those with debt across multiple credit cards.

The snowball method requires that you focus all your resources on paying off the account with the smallest amount of debt. This will help you lower your monthly minimum payments as quickly as possible.For example, let’s say you’ve got three credit cards: a Visa with a $4,000 balance, a Mastercard with a $2,000 balance, and an Amex with a $500 balance.

With the snowball method, you would make minimum payments for all cards (to prevent your accounts from becoming delinquent) and throw the rest of your expendable funds at the $500 Amex balance. Once that’s paid off, you would rinse and repeat with your $2,000 Mastercard balance while only paying the minimum balance on the Visa.

The avalanche method takes a different approach. You’ll continue to make all of your minimum payments, but you’d instead channel your money toward paying off the account with the highest APR. With this method, you ensure you lose as little money as possible to interest.

Debt consolidation

Consolidating debt with a personal loan is another strategy for those with debt across several credit cards. Upon approval for a debt consolidation loan, your bank will give you a chunk of money to pay off credit card debt (or at least pay it down). You’ll then owe your bank instead of your credit card issuers.

Debt consolidation loans tend to have much lower interest rates than credit cards​​–and you’ll likely pay significantly less in monthly minimum payments, as you’re only making one payment per month.


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How much credit card debt does the average American hold in 2023? (1)

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Balance transfer credit cards

Balance transfer credit cards can be used much like debt consolidation loans. Here’s how the strategy works: many credit cards offer 0% intro APR for a specific amount of time (generally between 12 and 21 months) when transferring a balance. You can enjoy zero interest during the defined introductory period by opening one of these cards and transferring balances from your other credit cards. This means every dollar you put towards paying your card off goes toward the principal amount. You can also benefit from one monthly payment instead of multiple.

An important caveat is that you may not be approved for a balance transfer credit card (or a credit line that can accommodate your current debt) if you aren’t touting a good credit score due to a high credit utilization. And, if you fail to pay the debt in full by the end of the introductory period, you’ll be on the hook for the full amount of the interest that would have accrued in that time frame. If you go this route, be prepared to be diligent in your payments.

Budgeting apps

Perhaps more important than treating the symptom of credit card debt is addressing the cause: spending more than you’re making. A wide selection of budgeting and debt reduction apps exist to help you keep track of every hard-earned dollar.

For example, Rocket Money famously imports all of your account transactions and categorizes your spending with graphs and charts to help see where you spend your money. The service can negotiate lower prices for various memberships and subscriptions, and it can even identify and cancel any duplicate services for which you may be unwittingly paying.

Contact your credit card issuer

Another often-recommended strategy to paying debt is to contact your credit card issuer directly. It’s possible to have success in reducing your APR by simply asking. However, this may not come without consequences.

“I would be cautious in doing that,” says Credit Expert John Ulzheimer, formerly of FICO and Equifax. "Remember, banks are in the business of risk mitigation. The minute you call a card issuer [about a lower APR], you’re telling them you’re struggling to make your payments. It wouldn’t be unheard of to get a letter in the mail the following week indicating that your account has been closed or your credit limit has been reduced to your balance. They don’t want you to get into any more debt.”

How much credit card debt does the average American hold in 2023? (2024)


How much credit card debt does the average American hold in 2023? ›

The average credit card balance among U.S. consumers was $6,501 as of Q3 2023, exactly 10% more than in Q3 2022.

How much credit card debt does the average American have in 2023? ›

Average credit card debt
YearAverage credit card debt
1 more row
Feb 26, 2024

How much credit card debt is the average American in? ›

On an individual level, the overall average balance is around $6,501, per Experian's data. Other generations' credit card debt falls closer to that average or below. Here's the average amount of credit card debt Americans hold by age as of the third quarter of 2023, according to Experian.

What is the average credit card rate in 2023? ›

Over the last 10 years, average APR on credit cards assessed interest have almost doubled from 12.9 percent in late 2013 to 22.8 percent in 2023 — the highest level recorded since the Federal Reserve began collecting this data in 1994.

What is the average credit card debt held by Gen Z? ›

Average Credit Card Debt by Age: Gen Z (Ages 18-27)

Even so, the average credit card debt for Gen Zers was $2,854 in the third quarter of 2022, according to Experian. A year later it had risen 14.3% to $3,262.

How many Americans have more than $20000 in credit card debt? ›

Approximately 22% of Americans said they now owe between $10,000 to $20,000 in credit card debt, and 5% have more than $30,000.

How many people have $50,000 in credit card debt? ›

Running up $50,000 in credit card debt is not impossible. About two million Americans do it every year. Paying off that bill?

How much does the average person pay in credit card debt? ›

Based on data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the U.S. Census Bureau (based on 2022 and 2021 data respectively), it can be calculated that each American household carries an average of $7,951 in credit card debt in a year.

How much credit card debt does the average American have by age? ›

Average American credit card debt by age
Age groupAverage credit card debt
Millennials (26-41)$5,649
Gen X (42-57)$8,134
Baby boomers (58-76)$6,245
Silent Generation (77 and older)$3,316
1 more row
Oct 9, 2023

How many Americans are debt free? ›

What percentage of America is debt-free? According to that same Experian study, less than 25% of American households are debt-free. This figure may be small for a variety of reasons, particularly because of the high number of home mortgages and auto loans many Americans have.

What is the average credit card debt for a 23 year old? ›

Average credit card debt by age and generation
GenerationAgesCredit Karma members' average credit card debt
Gen ZMembers 18–26$2,781
Gen X43–58$8,266
Apr 29, 2024

Which credit card is the best to have? ›

Best rewards credit cards of May 2024
  • Best for luxury travel: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Best for bad credit: Discover it® Secured Credit Card.
  • Best for online shopping: Prime Visa.
  • Best for entertainment: Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card.
  • Best for rotating bonus categories: Chase Freedom Flex®

How far back does credit history go? ›

A credit reporting company generally can report most negative information for seven years. Information about a lawsuit or a judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer. Bankruptcies can stay on your report for up to ten years.

What age group has the most debt? ›

Gen X (ages 43 to 58) not only carries the most debt on average of all the generations, but is also the debt leader in credit card and total non-mortgage debt.

Who has the most debt in America? ›

Gen X has the highest average debt balance in all categories, except for personal loans. Here's the breakdown: Credit cards: Gen X have the highest credit card balance compared to other age groups, at $8,215. Auto loans: Gen X have the highest auto loan balance, at $21,570.

Which generation has the most credit card debt? ›

Gen Z is in the financial trenches. A new study from credit reporting agency TransUnion found those in their early 20s are earning less, have more debt and see higher delinquency rates than Millennials did at their age.

What is considered high credit card debt? ›

You don't want to check your debt-to-income ratio every time you make a few charges. So, there's an easier ratio you can use to measure when you have too much credit card debt. It's your credit card debt ratio. In general, you never want your minimum credit card payments to exceed 10 percent of your net income.

What percentage of 30 year olds have credit card debt? ›

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.

How much credit card debt does the average middle class American have? ›

Average credit card debt in 2023
Average credit card debt, Q3 2023$6,501
Average store card balance, Q3 2022$1,110
Average revolving credit card balance, 2022$5,910
Delinquency rate of all credit card loans from commercial banks, Q3 20232.98%
1 more row
Apr 2, 2024


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