Credit cards are a financial staple in cultures around the world, allowing consumers to experience more financial freedom, more safely trudge through financial difficulties, and find it easier to purchase trendy products. Unfortunately for us consumers, credit card lenders often experience consumers taking lengthy periods of time to pay balances back, if even paying them at all, resulting in high interest rates and low maximum balances. Debtors with less-than-ideal repayment habits have their tendencies reflected in subpar credit scores, making it more difficult to secure reasonably-priced financing in the future.
As consumer debt in the United States continues on an upward trend displayed in past years, credit cards sustain popularity. Here are a few shocking statistics about credit cards in our society today, providing a snapshot of how deep average consumers are in debt, how much they rely on credit cards, and much, much more.
Average household debt
Credit card debt is measured in a number of ways: per young adult, per adult of all ages, per United States citizen with credit reports, per cards with consistent monthly balances, and countless other manners. One popular metric that statisticians use in measuring current credit card debt throughout the United States is per household.
Not every household is considered in this calculation, as only those with current credit card debt is calculated. Approximately ninety-six-hundred dollars — that’s $9,600 — belongs to the average American household that has at least some credit card debt. With United States households holding so much debt, lenders are certain to target married couples and families to advertise their credit card offerings. Families obviously spend more money than other people or partnerships due to having hungry infant, toddler, and adolescent mouths to feed.
Preference of payment methods
Cash, credit, and debit are today’s most popular methods of paying businesses, service providers, and vendors for their offerings. Checks and money orders are largely outdated, despite being used for some functions. As previously detailed, credit cards are becoming increasingly popular in the United States.
Approximately forty percent of Americans prefer using credit cards as their go-to method of payment, trailed closely by debit cards at thirty-five percent. 2016 was the first year that credit cards surpassed debit cards as preferred method of payment. This unprecedented change is likely for credit card companies to begin targeting demographics that don’t often use credit cards in an attempt to establish as many individual accounts as possible.
Average credit card debt
This metric is different than the aforementioned average household debt, with every single American calculated into this figure. The average United States citizen’s credit card debt is currently around $5,331. Although more consumers currently have outstanding credit card balances than in the past, most of them maintain low balances. Credit card companies may start offering incentives for keeping high balances on outstanding accounts.
Rising income equals rising debt
American families that earn in excess of $157,000 shell out four times as much in interest payments as those that earn less than $22,000. More money, more problems rings very true in this statistic. Credit card lenders are certain to begin targeting families with high household incomes much more often than lower-income households.
Fraction of households with debt
Slightly more than 38% of American households currently owe at least $1 in credit card debt. Credit card companies would much rather more households maintain current credit card balances. Lenders may target households more often with offers, deals, and promotions for credit cards, rather than targeting younger consumers that recently turn 18. Younger demographics are taking on significantly more student loan debt than ever and may be risk-averse towards credit cards. As such, financially stable families may be the new target for credit card giants.
Total credit card debt
In the United States, there is currently slightly more than $940 billion worth of outstanding credit card debt. This is up from around $885 billion in the first quarter of 2016, as compared to Q1 2017. Lenders have obviously marketed more heavily in past years, and charts expect them to keep at it