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From the Experts at

Five Shocking Credit Card Debt Statistics

October 3, 2013 by Gerri Detweiler

5 Shocking Credit Card Statistics

Need a little motivation to get out of debt? Interested in how your debt levels compare with the average American? We've researched the Federal Reserve Board statistics to provide you with some perspective.

Find out how your debt compares with's free Credit Report Card. You'll get a free credit score, an analysis of how your debt is affecting your credit score, as well as learn how your debt compares to the debt of others.

1. How much credit card debt does the US carry?

At the end of the second quarter 2013, there was approximately $850 billion in outstanding revolving debt, mainly credit cards.

2. How has America's debt balances changed over time?

Over the last decade, from 2002 to 2012, America's credit card debt balances increased by $76 billion. They did drop considerably after the financial crisis in 2008 when default levels were very high, but they have started to creep up again:

2012: $845.8 billion
2011: $842.5 billion
2010: $840 billion
2009 - $917 billion
2008 - $1.005 trillion
2007 - $972 billion
2006 - $902 billion
2005 - $849 billion
2004 - $823 billion
2003 - $791 billion
2002 - $769 billion

And there were major increases in the previous decades:

1987 - $169 billion
1977 - $39 billion
1967 - $1.4 billion

(Source: Federal Reserve)

3. How much credit card debt does the average person have?

According to the Experian Intelliview tool, as of the first quarter of 2013, the average credit card balance per consumer was $3,779. However, consumers with low credit scores - "D" in the VantageScore range - owed considerably more, with an average debt of $5,965. Find more statistics on average credit card debt here.

4. What percentage of an average consumer's income goes to their debt payments?

In 2010, the most recent year for which this data is available, an average of 14.2% of family income went toward debt debt payments, though 13.8% of families had 40% or more of their income going toward debt payments.

(Source: Survey of Consumer Finances, Federal Reserve)

5. How much are American consumers paying on their credit card debts?

Someone with a $5,000 balance with a 16% APR who makes a $125 payment each month would need 4.8 years and $2,000 in interest to pay off the balance.

With the same balance and payment and a high 25% APR, the debt would take over 7 years and $5,800 in interest to repay.

With the same balance and payment and a low 9% APR, the debt would take 4 years and $966 in interest to repay.

Now that you've seen the numbers, are you ready to get serious about your debt? Start with your free Credit Report Card from You'll get a free credit score along with action steps for building and maintaining strong credit.

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Meet Our Experts

Gerri Detweiler Gerri Detweiler is's Director of Consumer Education. She focuses on helping people understand their credit and debt, and writes about those issues, as well as financial legislation, budgeting, debt recovery and savings strategies. She is also the co-author of Debt Collection Answers: How to Use Debt Collection Laws to Protect Your Rights, and Reduce Stress: Real-Life Solutions for Solving Your Credit Crisis as well as host of