Credit card debt is on the rise: American card balances reached $986 billion in the last three months of 2022, according to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

That’s something of a reversal after starting the year before with markedly better credit and lower credit card debt. In the first quarter of 2021, credit card balances were a much lower $770 billion. Despite the economic uncertainty brought on by the pandemic in 2020, the average credit score also increased by 4 points in 2021, according to Experian. Credit scores have been steadily inching up since the Great Recession — a total increase of 25 points over the past decade.

But higher balances today are still a concern, and experts predict these balances will likely continue to rise.

Credit Card
Key credit card debt statistics
  • Average credit card balance in 2022: $5,910
  • Average credit utilization rate in 2022: 28%
  • Average number of credit cards: 3.84
  • Percent of accounts 30 to 59 days past due in 2022: 1.67%
  • Source: Experian 2022, 2021

Average credit card debt by state

Here’s a look at the states with the highest and lowest average American credit card debt, according to the most recent data from Experian. Alaska had the highest credit card debt at $6,787, and Iowa had the lowest with an average credit card balance of $4,609.

States with the highest average credit card debt:

State Average credit card debt
Source: Experian
Alaska $6,787
Connecticut $6,516
New Jersey $6,428
Maryland $6,276
Virginia $6,249

States with the lowest average credit card debt:

State Average credit card debt
Source: Experian
Iowa $4,609
Wisconsin $4,628
Kentucky $4,734
Mississippi $4,741
Idaho $4,821
  • State Average credit card debt
    Source: Experian
    Alabama $5,205
    Alaska $6,787
    Arizona $5,409
    Arkansas $4,978
    California $5,567
    Colorado $5,915
    Connecticut $6,516
    Delaware $5,762
    Florida $6,050
    Georgia $5,994
    Hawaii $5,972
    Idaho $4,821
    Illinois $5,698
    Indiana $4,847
    Iowa $4,609
    Kansas $5,335
    Kentucky $4,734
    Louisiana $5,340
    Maine $4,913
    Maryland $6,276
    Massachusetts $5,670
    Michigan $4,979
    Minnesota $5,102
    Mississippi $4,741
    Missouri $5,185
    Montana $5,039
    Nebraska $5,094
    Nevada $5,697
    New Hampshire $5,678
    New Jersey $6,428
    New Mexico $5,098
    New York $5,883
    North Carolina $5,439
    North Dakota $5,183
    Ohio $5,130
    Oklahoma $5,428
    Oregon $4,940
    Pennsylvania $5,402
    Rhode Island $5,534
    South Carolina $5,535
    South Dakota $4,876
    Tennessee $5,228
    Texas $6,194
    Utah $5,225
    Vermont $4,989
    Virginia $6,249
    Washington $5,560
    West Virginia $4,844
    Wisconsin $4,628
    Wyoming $5,428

Average credit card debt by age group

According to a Q3 2021 analysis by Experian, Gen Xers carry the largest credit card balances of all five generations. Further, baby boomers saw the biggest reduction in their balances between 2020 and 2021 (-4.7 percent), and Gen Z saw the biggest increase (+11.6 percent).

Generation Average credit card debt
Source: Experian
Silent Generation


Baby boomers


Generation X




Generation Z



Credit card debt by race

Despite carrying lower credit card debt balances, Black and Hispanic Americans are less likely to be approved for credit than white and Asian Americans, according to the Federal Reserve’s Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2021, which was published in May 2022.

Race/ethnicity % carrying a balance (among cardholders)
Source: Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2021 – May 2022
White, non-Hispanic 42%
Black 72%
Hispanic 63%
Asian 24%

Credit card debt by educational level

Higher levels of credit card debt can also occur as a result of having more access to credit, according to the same Federal Reserve household survey. Cardholders who have completed higher levels of education likely earn more and qualify for higher credit limits than those who have fewer or no degrees.

Education level % carrying a balance (among cardholders)
Source: Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2021 – May 2022
Bachelor’s degree or more 35%
Some college 56%
High school diploma or GED 57%
No high school diploma 57%

Credit card debt today

A total of 35 percent of Americans carry credit card debt from month to month, according to a January 2023 Bankrate survey of 2,458 U.S. adults— an increase of 6 percent from 2022. Credit experts cite too much of a focus on earning credit card rewards, rather than controlling and paying off debt as a factor for this shift.

Further, the survey found 43 percent don’t know the interest rate they’re being charged on this debt. When the average credit card interest rate sits at almost 20 percent, that can be a costly mistake.

One common debt payoff strategy includes opening a balance transfer credit card that charges 0 percent interest for a set period of time. But surprisingly, 37 percent of U.S. adults with credit card debt don’t know these 0 percent balance transfer cards exist.

Fortunately, some of the best balance transfer credit cards offer 0 percent APRs for up to 18 or even 21 months, meaning cardholders can chip away at their debt without owning a dime in interest for nearly two years.

4 ways to eliminate credit card debt

Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’ll take some time for your credit card debt repayment strategy to pay off, too. With a clear budget plan and safeguards in place to keep you from spiraling into even more debt, you can start paying off your balance in no time.

  • Step 1: Take stock of your current debt situation. You can’t tackle your debt if you’re unclear on how much you actually owe. Check all of your credit card accounts and note your balances, interest rates and payment due dates. If your interest rate is steep, try calling your credit card issuer and asking for a lower rate.
  • Step 2: Crunch some numbers to figure out your ideal payment. You should always aim to make at least the minimum payment on your card each month. But carrying a hefty balance over from month to month can cost you in the long run. Once you’ve figured out how your minimum payments fit into your budget, see if you can allocate a bit more toward your payment so that you’ll pay less in interest over time and shave a few months off of your repayment timeline.
  • Step 3: Set yourself up for success by automating where you can. If part of the reason your debt has grown is that you’re forgetting a payment here and there, set up credit card autopay so that you never miss a payment. You can also set alerts or reminders on your phone or calendar app so that you’ll be notified when it’s almost time for you to make your payment manually.
  • Step 4: Create regular financial check-ins with yourself. Set up a monthly 30-minute block to review each of your accounts, track your progress and make any adjustments to your repayment plan. Maybe you received a bonus during the month and feel comfortable paying a little extra, or you had an unexpected emergency and can only make the minimum payment this month. Whatever it is, just make sure you adjust the plan accordingly.

The bottom line

There are many factors that play a role in how much credit card debt you carry and your ability to quickly pay it off. Many Americans have credit card debt, and there’s no shame in having racked up balances in the past.

But it’s important to try to make paying down your debt a top priority, since the way that you manage your credit can determine how much access you have to it in the future — and how much it’ll cost you to pay it down. If you’re deep in debt, don’t let it continue to grow. Sit down and make a plan to pay it off as soon as possible.