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Credit card statistics, industry facts, debt statistics

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Credit-card-statistics-road-map This page contains consumer credit and debt statistics -- including statistics on credit card debt, credit card delinquencies, credit scores, credit card interest rates, debit cards, prepaid cards, bankruptcies and more -- compiled by the CreditCards.com staff. Statistics on this page will be updated regularly as we receive new or updated data.  Some data may appear multiple times on the page because the information is applicable in multiple categories.

If you have credit card statistics that you'd like to share, or if you have a question, comment or concern about what has or hasn't been included on the page, please e-mail us at Editors@CreditCards.com.

 
Credit card statistics
Below is a list of the various categories of statistics on this page. Click the link for more information.
 Most popular searches
  • Average credit card debt per U.S. adult, excluding zero-balance cards and store cards: $5,232.43
  • Average debt per credit card that usually carries a balance: $7,494.44
  • Average debt per credit card that doesn't usually carry a balance: $1,128.44
  • Average number of cards held by cardholders - bankcards: 2.24.52
  • Average number of cards held by cardholders - store cards: 1.55.52
  • Average APR charged on credit cards: 12.10 percent as of Q3 2015 9
  • Average APR on credit cards that carry a balance: 13.93 as of Q3 2015.9
  • Total U.S. outstanding revolving debt: $925.2 billion as of September 2015.9
  • Total U.S. outstanding consumer debt: $3.5 trillion as of September 2015.9
  • Charge-off rate on credit card loans from top 100 banks: 2.9 percent as of Q3 2015. 2
  •  


 Bankruptcy

Please visit our updated page on credit card delinquency and bankruptcy statistics, which features graphs, charts and the latest numbers.


 Credit cards

  Business credit cards

  • 37 percent of small-businesses say their businesses have relied on credit cards to meet capital needs in the 12 months prior to May 2012.18
  • 44 percent of small-business owners say the terms of their business credit cards got worse in the 12 months prior to May 2012.18
  • 50 percent of small-business owners surveyed in May 2012 said they pay off their business credit cards every month.18
  • 26 percent of small-business owners surveyed in May 2012 said they carry a balance of less than $10,000 on their business credit cards.18
  • 15 percent of small-business owners surveyed in May 2012 said they carry a balance of $10,000 to $25,000 on their business credit cards.18
  • 9 percent of small-business owners surveyed in May 2012 said they carry a balance of more than $25,000 on their business credit cards.18
  • 5 percent of small-business owners surveyed in May 2012 said that in the past four years they had closed their credit cards and switched to debit cards exclusively.18
  • Small-business owners surveyed in May 2012 reported an average interest rate of 15.6 percent on their business credit cards.18
  • 80 percent of business cards reviewed between 2006 and 2011 included an “any time” change-in-terms clause with no right to opt out, which gives the bank issuers the right to change account terms at any time with little or no notice.22
  • 84 percent of business cards reviewed between 2006 and 2011 gave issuers the sole power to apply payments to low-rate balances first.22
  • 67 percent of business cards reviewed between 2006 and 2011 included penalty rates for late payments or overlimit transactions.22
  • 73 percent of business cards reviewed between 2006 and 2011 included a late fee, with a median amount of $39, while 67 percent included an overlimit fee, with a median amount of $39.22
  • In 2011, approximately 58.8 percent of small businesses used a business credit card while 43.5 percent used a personal credit card for business purposes.28
  • In 2011, 20.3 percent of small businesses that used business credit cards carried a balance.28
  • In 2011, 32.2 percent of small businesses that used personal credit cards for business carried a balance.28
  • In 2011, business use of personal credit cards decreased as firm size increased, whereas the use of business credit cards increased with firm size.28

  Card ownership

Please visit our updated page on credit card ownership statistics, which features graphs, charts and the latest numbers.

  Credit and charge card circulation

Please visit our updated page on credit card market share statistics, which features graphs, charts and the latest card circulation numbers.

  Credit availability

Please visit our updated page on credit card use and availability statistics, which features graphs, charts and the latest numbers.

  Credit card debt

Please visit our updated page on credit card debt statistics, which features graphs, charts and the latest numbers.

  Credit card purchase volume

Please visit our updated page on credit card market share statistics, which features graphs, charts and the latest card purchase volume numbers.

  Credit card usage

Please visit our updated page on credit card use and availability statistics, which features graphs, charts and the latest numbers.

  Customer satisfaction

J.D. Power and Associates 2015 Credit Card Satisfaction Study Rankings6
  1. Discover Card
  2. American Express
  3. Chase
  4. Capital One
  5. Barclaycard
  6. Wells Fargo
  7. Bank of America
  8. U.S. Bank
  9. Citi Cards
  10. GE Capital Retail Bank/Synchrony

  Delinquency

Please visit our updated page on credit card delinquency and bankruptcy statistics, which features graphs, charts and the latest numbers.

  Fees

  • 28 percent of credit card holders surveyed in December 2010 said no annual fee was the most important credit card feature.12
  • 28 percent of low- and middle-income households reported paying late fees on their credit cards in 2012 down from half of households reporting that they paid late fees in 2008.19
  • 11 percent of bank credit cards carried overlimit penalty fees in 2011, down from 23 percent in 2010 and more than 80 percent in 2009.21
  • In 2011, the percentage of credit cards with annual fees was 21 percent for bank credit cards and 14 percent for credit union credit cards.21
  • Women are more likely than men to carry a credit card balance, make the minimum payment on their credit cards and be charged a late fee.24

  Interest rates/APRs

  • Average APR on credit card with a balance on it: 13.93 in Q3, 2015.9
  • 40 percent of credit card holders surveyed in December 2010 said that low APR/Interest rate was the most important credit card feature.12
  • 17 percent of college students surveyed in spring 2012 reported an interest rate increase on their credit cards within the previous year.14
  • Small-business owners reported an average interest rate of 15.6 percent on their business credit cards in May 2012.18
  • 24 percent fewer low- and middle-income households reported that their interest rates increased as a result of a late payment in 2012 than in 2008.19
  • Median advertised interest rates for purchases on bank credit cards in 2011 were 12.99 to 20.99 percent depending on a consumer’s credit history. Median credit union rates for purchases in 2011 were between 9.99 percent and 17 percent.21
  • Females paid half a percentage point more in credit card interest rates than men in 2012.24

  Payment

  • Women are more likely than men to carry a credit card balance, make the minimum payment on their credit cards and be charged a late fee.24
  • Males who carried a credit card balance as of April 2012: 55 percent.24
  • Females who carried a credit card balance as of April 2012: 60 percent.24
  • Among men and women with low levels of financial literacy, women are likely to engage in significantly more costly behaviors than men.24
  • Among men and women with high levels of financial literacy there are no differences in behavior between the sexes.24
  • In December 2010, 74 percent of cardholders with a mobile phone reported going online to the financial institution’s website to make transactions. 59 percent of cardholders with a mobile phone said they used the Internet as their primary way to make transactions.12
  • In December 2010, 13 percent of cardholders with a mobile phone used a mobile application to make transactions.12
  • One-third of student credit cards had a zero balance in the 2011-2012 school year. Another 41 percent of families reported student card balances of less than $500. Only 3 percent carried a balance greater than $4,000.11
  • Cardholders 18 and older surveyed in February 2012 who said they paid the full balance on their credit cards each month: 58 percent.33
  • Cardholders 18 and older surveyed in February 2012 who said they paid less than the full amount but more than the required minimum balance: 32 percent.33
  • Cardholders 18 and older surveyed in February 2012 who said they paid only the minimum amount: 8 percent.33
  • Cardholders 18 and older surveyed in February 2012 who paid the minimum balance each month and believed they would be able to pay off their current balance by making minimum payments: 60 percent.33
  • Among respondents surveyed in 2012, 65 percent age 50 and over paid their full credit card balances each month compared with 52 percent of those 18 to 49.33
  • Americans surveyed in the first half of 2012 who were seriously concerned about being able to meet essential financial obligations such as their mortgage, loans, credit card or bill payments: 36 percent, down significantly from 49 percent a year earlier.33
  • Consumers paid an estimated $72 billion more than they spent on their credit cards between Q1 2009 and Q1 2010.29

  Rewards

  • Of the 3.7 credit cards held by the average credit card holder in 2009, two cards earned rewards and 1.8 cards did not. (These numbers do not sum exactly to 3.7, due to rounding error.)1
  • 13 percent of credit card holders surveyed in December 2010 said rewards or points were the most important credit card feature.12
  • 57 percent of cardholders surveyed in December 2010 said cash back was the most important type of credit card reward; 13 percent said merchant rewards and another 13 percent said flexible points.12
  • 57 percent of rewards card holders surveyed in Q2 2012 rated the quality of their card issuer’s service as above average or excellent.23
  • 54 percent of rewards card holders surveyed in Q2 2012 rated the quality of the card issuer’s website as above average or excellent.23
  • 49 percent of rewards cardholders surveyed in Q2 2012 rated the variety of rewards that could be earned as above average or excellent.23
  • 45 percent of rewards card holders surveyed in Q2 2012 rated the dollar value of points earned as above average or excellent.23
  • 45 percent of rewards card holders surveyed in Q2 2012 rated the speed with which rewards could be earned as above average or excellent.23
  • 30 percent of rewards card holders surveyed in Q2 2012 rated the ability to access rewards information using a mobile device as above average or excellent.23
  • 27 percent of rewards card holders surveyed in Q2 2012 rated the ability to redeem points using a mobile device as above average or excellent.23

 Credit risk
  • Between 2011 and 2012, 15 states experienced a decrease in credit risk. Of the five most populous states, three saw year-over-year decreases in credit risk, including Illinois, California and Texas. The other two -- New York and Florida -- saw year-over-year credit risk increases.31
  • Between Q1 and Q2 of 2012, all 50 states saw a decrease in credit risk; only the District of Columbia experienced an increase.31
  • States with the lowest credit risk in 2012 were concentrated in the Upper Midwest and New England regions. The states with the lowest credit risk in 2012 were North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota.31
  • Nevada, South Carolina, Mississippi, Texas and Georgia had the highest credit risk in Q2 of 2012.31

 Credit scores

Please visit our updated page on credit score statistics, which features graphs, charts and the latest numbers.


 Debit cards

Please visit our updated page on debit card statistics, which features graphs, charts and the latest numbers.


 Debt

  Credit card debt

Please visit our updated page on credit card debt statistics, which features graphs, charts and the latest numbers.

  Total consumer debt

  • Total U.S. outstanding consumer debt: $3.5 trillion as of September 2015.9
  • Average age Americans at which expect to be debt-free: 53.45
  • The average total debt among Baby Boomers in 2012 was $101,951.8
  • The average total debt among those 66 and over in 2012 was $38,043.8
  • The average total debt among Generation X in 2012 was $111,121.8
  • The average total debt among Generation Y in 2012 was $34,765.8
  • Generation X in 2012 had 42 percent more overall debt than other generations.8
  • Among middle- and low-income Americans surveyed in 2012 who described their credit as being “poor,” 55 percent said unpaid medical bills or medical debts contributed.19
  • In 2010, 13.8 percent of families had a ratio of debt payments to family income of greater than 40 percent.15
  • When facing financial problems related to debt, 27 percent of U.S. adults said in 2012 that they would first turn to their friends and family for help, and 13 percent said they would reach out to the lender or credit card company.27
  • Nearly 53 percent of Americans believe "a partner with debt is a turnoff." 57 percent of women and 48 percent of men agree with the statement.47
  •  

 Demographics

  African-American

  • While 62 percent of middle- and low-income households in debt in 2012 described their credit as “excellent” or “good” only 44 percent of African-Americans and 55 percent of Latinos described their credit in those positive terms.19

  Elderly

  • The average total debt among those 66 and over is $38,043.8
  • The average Experian VantageScore among people 66 and over is 829.8
  • Among respondents age 50 and over surveyed in February 2012, approximately 27 percent reported that they had four or more credit cards, compared with 16 percent of those age 18 to 49.33
  • Among respondents age 18 to 49 and over surveyed in February 2012, approximately 34 percent said they had no credit cards compared to 16 percent of those age 50 and over.33
  • 65 percent of survey respondents age 50 and over surveyed in February 2012 paid their full credit card balances each month compared with 52 percent of those 18 to 49.33
  • Among credit card holders surveyed in February 2012, those age 50 and up were more likely than those age 18 to 49 to use their credit card:
    • for travel (68 percent versus 55 percent ),
    • clothing (72 percent versus 62 percent),
    • home maintenance (39 percent versus 28 percent)
    • and car maintenance (54 percent versus 40 percent).33

  Gender

  • Women are more likely than men to carry a credit card balance, make the minimum payment on their credit cards and be charged a late fee.24
  • Males who carried a credit card balance as of April 2012: 55 percent.24
  • Females who carried a credit card balance as of April 2012: 60 percent.24
  • Among men and women with low levels of financial literacy, women are likely to engage in significantly more costly behaviors than men.24
  • Among men and women with high levels of financial literacy there are no differences in behavior between the sexes.24
  • Females paid half a percentage point more in credit card interest rates than men in 2012, regardless of financial literacy level.24

  Latino

  • While 62 percent of middle- and low-income households in debt in 2012 described their credit as “excellent” or “good” only 44 percent of African-Americans and 55 percent of Latinos described their credit in those positive terms.19

  Students

  • 35 percent of students owned a credit card in 2012, down from 42 percent in 2010.11
  • Over three-quarters of students with credit cards had them in their own name in 2012, a similar percentage as 2011.11
  • 27 percent of all college students surveyed in spring 2012 had a credit card in their own name.14
  • College students with a credit card in their own name in spring 2012 were more than twice as likely to have a Visa than a MasterCard.14
  • 43 percent of college students surveyed in spring 2012 said they would prefer to have a credit card in their own name requiring proof of income rather than having a secured card or being an authorized user of a parent’s card.14
  • When asked what they would do if they received their first credit card tomorrow, 62 percent of college students surveyed in spring 2012 said they would shift 1 percent or more of their spending from other payment methods to the credit card.14
  • 62 percent of college students surveyed in spring 2012 applied for their first credit card before starting college.14
  • Percentage of college freshmen with a credit card in 2012: 21 percent.11
  • Percentage of college sophomores with a credit card in 2012: 28 percent.11
  • Percentage of college juniors with a credit card in 2012: 38 percent.11
  • Percentage of college seniors with a credit card in 2012: 60 percent.11
  • Percentage of students from high-income families that owned a credit card in 2012: 53.11
  • Percentage of students from low-income families that owned a credit card in 2012: 29.11
  • Percentage of students from middle-income families that owned a credit card in 2012: 31.11
  • College students did 15 percent of their monthly spending on a credit card in spring 2012.14
  • One-third of student credit cards in 2012 had a zero balance. Another 41 percent of families reported student card balances of less than $500. Only 3 percent carried a balance greater than $4,000.11
  • The average outstanding credit card balance of college students reported in 2012 was $755.11
  • High-income students had lower credit card balances on average -- $521 compared with $755 in the general student population.11
  • The percentage of college students borrowing from credit cards in 2012 to pay for college was 3 percent. The average amount in college costs financed on those credit cards was $2,169.11
  • 13 percent of college students from middle- or low-income families in 2012 whose current credit card balance included some college expenses reported leaving school because of credit card debt.19
  • 68 percent of college students surveyed in spring 2012 had concerns about identity theft when it comes to having a credit card.14
  • More than twice as many college students (80 percent) carried debit cards than carry credit cards in 2012.11
  • Approximately 32 percent of students owned both a debit and credit card in 2012.11
  • 85 percent of college students didn't know what their credit score was in spring 2012.14
  • 9 percent of college students reported in spring 2012 that their credit score was between 700 and 850, categorized as ‘very good.’14
  • 60 percent of college students said in spring 2012 that the most important reason to have a credit card was to start building a credit history.14
  • 54 percent of college students said in spring 2012 that the most important reason to have a credit card was to have additional purchasing power for the unexpected.14
  • 17 percent of college students surveyed in spring 2012 reported an interest rate increase on their credit cards within the previous year.14
  • Proportion of parents who use credit cards to pay for their kids’ college bills as of 2012: Approximately 4 percent, borrowing on average $4,911.11
  • 18 percent of middle- or low-income households surveyed in 2012 identified late payments toward student loans as contributing to their low credit score.19
  • 60 percent of middle- or low-income households in debt who had college expenses for a child between February 2009 and February 2012 said that those expenses contributed to the credit card debt.19
  • 71 percent of middle- or low-income households in debt who had college expenses for themselves or their spouse between February 2009 and February 2012 reported that those expenses contributed to credit card debt.19
  • 20 percent of middle- or low-income Americans with no credit card debt but who had debt in the past cited college expenses as a factor that contributed to that past debt.19
  • A May 2012 study found that 32 of the 50 largest public four-year universities, 26 of the largest 50 community colleges, and six of the 20 largest private not-for-profit schools had debit or prepaid card contracts with a bank or a financial firm.20

  Teens and young adults

  • The average total debt among Generation Y in 2012 was $34,765.8
  • The average Experian VantageScore among Generation Y in 2012 was 672.8

 History
  • The first national general-use credit card that allowed balances to be paid over time was the BankAmericard, issued in 1958, (which in 1977 changed its name to Visa).25
  • MasterCard began in 1966, when a number of banks formed the Interbank Card Association. In 1969, the Interbank Card Association bought the rights to use "Master Charge" from the California Bank Association. It was renamed MasterCard in 1979.42

 Identity theft, fraud

Please visit our updated page on credit card fraud and ID theft statistics, which features graphs, charts and the latest numbers.


 Online, mobile use
Please visit our updated pages on online payment statistics and mobile payment statistics, which feature graphs, charts and the latest numbers.

 Payment methods

Please visit our updated page on payment method statistics, which features graphs, charts and the latest numbers on which payment instruments consumers are using.


 Prepaid cards and gift cards

Please visit our updated page on prepaid and gift card statistics, which features graphs, charts and the latest numbers.


 Sources and Calculations
  1. “The 2009 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice,” Federal Reserve Bank of Boston; published in 2011
  2. Federal Reserve Economic Data
  3. American Express interview
  4. Visa Operational Performance Data for 2012 (reported Feb 6, 2013)
  5. MasterCard 2012 results, Operational Performance (reported Jan. 31, 2013)
  6. J.D. Power and Associates 2015 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study
  7. Experian’s State of Credit 2012 report
  8. Experian’s Generational Credit Trends (spring, 2012)
  9. Federal Reserve’s G.19 report on consumer credit
  10. The United States Census Bureau: The 2012 Statistical Abstract
  11. Sallie Mae’s 2012 How America Pays for College
  12. ComScore’s 2010 Online Credit Card Report
  13. ComScore’s 2011 State of Online and Mobile Banking Report
  14. Student Monitor Financial Services spring 2012
  15. Federal Reserve Bulletin, June 2012; Changes in U.S. Family Finances from 2007 to 2010: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances
  16. Credit Reports 101
  17. Fitch Ratings
  18. National Small Business Association Small Business Access to Capital Survey, 2012
  19. Demos: The 2012 National Survey on Credit Card Debt of Low- and Middle-Income Households
  20. U.S. PIRG Education Fund: The Campus Debit Card Trap: Are Bank Partnerships Fair to Students? (May, 2012)
  21. The PEW Health Group: A New Equilibrium: After Passage of Landmark Credit Card Reform, Interest Rates and Fees Have Stabilized. (May, 2011)
  22. PEW Safe Credit Cards Project: U.S. Households at Risk from Business Credit Cards (May, 2011)
  23. Aite Group: Credit Card Rewards Programs: What Do Cardholders Think?
  24. FINRA Investor Education Foundation: In Our Best Interest: Women, Financial Literacy and Credit Card Behavior (April, 2012)
  25. Britannica.com
  26. American Bankruptcy Institute: Annual Business and Non-Business Filings by Year (1980 – 2012)
  27. The 2012 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey, prepared for The National Foundation for Credit Counseling and the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association
  28. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System: Report to the Congress on the Availability of Credit to Small Businesses, September 2012
  29. TransUnion press release, July 27, 2011
  30. TransUnion's Total Inquiry Index, September 2012
  31. TransUnion’s Credit Risk Index, September 2012
  32. TransUnion Q2 2012 credit card delinquency rates
  33. AARP Bulletin Survey on Budgeting and Credit Card Use (April 2012)
  34. Federal Trade Commission: Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book for January – December 2011 (Released February 2012)
  35. Unisys Security Index U.S. May 2012
  36. American Bankers Association’s Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin (October, 2012)
  37. 2011 Consumer Debit Research: Final Report of Survey and Focus Group Results, October, 2011
  38. PULSE 2012 Debit Issuer Study
  39. October 2011 National Foundation for Credit Counseling Study
  40. Moebs Services study
  41. Electronic Payments Coalition
  42. MasterCard corporate history
  43. TransUnion Industry Insights Report
  44. Experian analysis of September 2015 credit files
  45. Average American expects to be debt free by age 53 -- CreditCards.com poll conducted by GfK Roper May 31 through June 2, 2013
  46. Poll: Card debt the No. 1 taboo subject -- CreditCards.com poll conducted by GfK Roper March 2013
  47. Love me, love my debt? No way, poll says -- CreditCards.com poll conducted by GfK Roper January 2013
  48. MasterCard Q1 2013 Financial Results, Operational Performance (reported May 1, 2013)
  49. Discover Historical Calendar Year Supplement for 2012 (reported March 5, 2013)
  50. American Express Q1 2013 Financial Results, Earnings Supplement (reported April 17, 2013)
  51. Visa Operational Performance Data for Q1 2013 (reported May 1, 2013
  52. Experian State of Credit Report 2015

 

 

Updated: December 1, 2015


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