Credit Card Statistics: Usage, Debt, Trends in 2022

Credit cards are gaining more popularity as a payment option every year due to the security, convenience, and speed advantages they offer. Furthermore, they are a handy tool that substitutes carrying large sums of cash.

However, it is essential to acknowledge all sides to this payment method. This article will provide you with valuable credit card data and insight to help you decide whether it’s a good fit for you.

Top Credit Card Statistics: Editor’s Choice

  • 9% of credit card debt decreased for the first time in ten years.
  • In November 2020, the credit card spending increase was 7.4% YoY.
  • Alaska residents had an average of $6,617 in credit card debt.
  • In 2020, 47% of Americans carried credit card debt.
  • In 2021, the national average card debt was $6,569.
  • The highest annual income had an average debt of $12,600.
  • In July 2021, there were 1.96 billion credit card transactions in the UK.
  • 49% of all payments in Canada were by credit card in 2020.

US Credit Card Trends

1. The overall credit card debt decreased by 9% in 2020 for the first time in eight years.

US credit card debt dropped in 2020 after a continuous increase for nearly ten years. According to credit card statistics, this is the first notable decrease in consumer debt in the last eight years. 

Given the broader economic environment caused by COVID-19, many credit card users in the US reduced their spending, resulting in the surprising development.

2. The average credit card debt in America was $5,315 in 2020.

75% of the people in the US don’t pay off their monthly credit card balance. However, a noticeable decrease in the credit card debt on average was seen in 2020, compared to the previous year when the figure stood at $6,194.

3. The US credit card spending data indicated an increase of 7.4% in November 2020 compared to November 2019.

In November 2020, credit card spending outpaced the figures from the same period in 2019. According to research, credit card spending was highest since the beginning of the 2020 pandemic during the 46th week ending on November 15.

4. The average number of credit cards per person in the US is four.

Many people living in East Coast states have more than one credit card, with New Jersey taking first place, with an average of 4.1 cards per person. 

Most recent credit card facts show that Mississippi and Alaska’s number of credit cards per person on average is 2.8—the lowest in the US. Meanwhile, Connecticut, New York, Delaware, and Florida are also among the states with the most credit cards.

5. The average credit card balance decreased by $879 in 2020.

The average individual’s credit card debt decreased for the first time in nine years in 2020. The Experian estimated a 14% drop compared to 2019 figures.

The COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected businesses, causing them to temporarily or permanently close. In addition, the restrictions affected the consumer spending rate, which is also a reason for the decrease in credit card balances.

6. The average American household credit card debt fell 12% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Significant changes occurred in consumer spending patterns due to quarantines, lockdown, and unemployment. An even higher decrease in consumer spending is expected as many people plan to keep this trend after the pandemic.

7. The average credit card fees for processing range from 1.3% to 3.5% of each transaction.

Credit card fees depend on the type of the card, merchant, and the payment network—Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express. Payment networks charge two types of fees—assessment and interchange—for each transaction.

8. The overall average credit card interest rate by credit score is 15.6%.

Consumers’ average total interest increases with lower credit scores. If the total amount of interest charged per year is divided by the total balance at the end of the cycle, the resulting number will show the level of interest that consumers paid at each credit level.

9. Recent cash vs. credit card spending statistics reveal that 38% of point-of-the-sale payments in 2020 were by credit card.

The US’s second most common payment method is debit cards with 29%, followed by cash with 12%, signifying the declining use of physical money for purchases. However, despite technological advancements, the number of credit cards remains almost the same.

10. Credit card fraud statistics reveal a 44.7% increase in 2020.

The most common identity theft is government documents or benefits fraud, with 406,375 reports in 2020. However, credit card fraud comes in second, with 393,207 cases. The age group that suffers the most from such crime is 30 to 39-year-olds.

11. Credit card ownership statistics show Gen Z has an average of 1.8 credit cards.

A high percentage of Generation Z receive their first credit card before their 20th birthday as authorized users on someone else’s account. On the other hand, Millennials own on average 3.2 credit cards, while Baby Boomers have 4.8.

Credit Card Debt Statistics

12. In 2020, Alaska’s residents had the highest average debt in the US of $6,617.

Consumer credit card debt differs across the US. In 2020, the average credit card debt of Kentucky, Iowa, and Indiana was lower than $5,000—significantly less than in the rest of the US. 

On the other hand, Virginia, Maryland, Texas, and New Jersey’s average balances were close to $6,000 according to average credit card debt by state statistics.

13. 47% of US citizens carried credit card debt in the first quarter of 2020.

Research shows that about 120 million people, or nearly half of the US, had credit card debt at the beginning of 2020. It also indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected consumers, resulting in a high percentage of Americans with increased credit card debt. 

14. The US national average card debt was $6,569 in February 2021.

According to debit and credit card debt statistics in 2021, the four states with the most debt are on the East Coast. Meanwhile, the lowest three were in the Deep South, with a significant difference in balances between the top and bottom of the list.

15. The US average family credit card debt is $6,270.

Research shows that the total outstanding US consumer debt amounts to $4.2 trillion, while the total credit card debt is $807 billion. Furthermore, over 45% of families have some credit card debt, and those with the lowest quartile of net worth own an average of $4,830. 

16. People in the highest annual income percentile have, on average, $12,600 debt.

The average credit card debt by income statistics show that people with a better credit card debt-to-income ratio are usually on the higher income ladder. In other words, individuals with lower annual income pay less in credit card debt than the wealthier ones.

Credit Card Usage Statistics by Country

17. There were 1.9 billion credit card transactions in the UK in July 2021.

The number of credit transactions was 21% higher than in July 2020 and 16.6% higher compared to July 2019. According to the UK credit card facts, the total amount spent was £60.7 billion, which was 3.1% lower than the figure in 2020 but 12.4% higher than in 2019.

18. The latest credit card usage statistics reveal there were 1.18 trillion transactions in 2020 in Brazil.

Brazil’s card industry showed a consistent recovery during 2020—credit card transactions increased by 2.6% in 2020, while debit cards reached 14.8% growth. The prepaid cards had the fastest growth rate with a 107.4% increase in the year-over-year comparison.

19. Credit card statistics in Australia reveal that almost 400,000 accounts were closed between March and June 2020.

The hefty annual fees for credit cards and very high interest are some of the main reasons why the number of credit card users has dropped. Many consumers are also canceling their credit cards to improve their credit rating when applying for home loans.

20. 49% of all payments were by credit card, according to the most recent credit card statistics Canada.

In 2019 and 2020, credit cards had the highest usage percentage in Canada. 49% of transactions in 2019 happened by credit cards, which accounts for around half of point of sale payments. The second most used method was debit cards, with 28% of overall transactions.

Credit Card Statistics: The Takeaway

Many people in the US use credit cards daily as a convenient way to pay for purchases or household expenses. It can help you easily track where your money goes and, in general, be of great help in budget evaluation.

On the other hand, troubles with credit cards happen very often. According to recent credit card stats, the most frequent issue is overspending, resulting in a huge credit card debt. Other very troublesome occurrences are credit card frauds and thefts. 

When used carefully and in moderation, everything considered, credit cards are undoubtedly a great alternative to cash.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many credit cards does the average American family have?

If we consider that the average US family in 2020 consisted of 3.15 people and that the average citizen has four credit cards, the answer would be about eight credit cards per family.

Having several credit cards certainly has its advantages—valuable rewards, cashback, zero-interest grace periods, fraud protection, and more. However, having more credit cards also means you should manage them responsibly.

What is considered high credit card debt?

Three simple ways can help you assess if you have too much credit card debt. Credit utilization ratio counts show how bad it is for a credit score when debt is high. The debt-to-income ratio is also essential, as the lower it gets, the better. 

The debt-to-income ratio is calculated by taking into comparison monthly income and the monthly total of debt payments. If this metric is high, then the credit card user has too much debt.

The third and most straightforward measure is the credit card debt ratio. Net income is an essential value in calculating the credit card debt ratio, and it represents the amount of income available for spending on bills and other expenses.

What is the average household credit card debt?

After a year of financial turmoil and uncertainty, the average US household’s financial situation has gotten worse because of rising unemployment and an overall decrease in household income.

However, in the fourth quarter of 2020, the average household credit card debt was $8,089, signifying a 12% year-on-year decrease. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way consumer society operates and made it easier to pay their debt and save money.

What percent of the population has credit card debt?

47% of people in the US were carrying credit card debt by the end of the first half of 2020. The 2020 lockdown has caused millions of businesses to close permanently. In addition, 23% of people have fallen further into credit card debt.

However, the pandemic affected Millennials the strongest, with 34% of them having added to their credit card debt since the beginning of 2020. Furthermore, Alaska residents had the highest credit card debt in the US in 2020, while Iowans had the lowest.

What is the average household credit card debt?

After a year of financial turmoil and uncertainty, the average US household’s financial situation has gotten worse because of rising unemployment and an overall decrease in household income.

However, in the fourth quarter of 2020, the average household credit card debt was $8,089, signifying a 12% year-on-year decrease. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way consumer society operates and made it easier to pay their debt and save money.


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