Adults 75 or older have the highest average credit card debt at $8,100, but just 28% of people in this age group have debt. Meanwhile, 52% of Americans 45–54 years old have credit card debt, making them the age group most likely to carry it.
Members of Generation X have the highest average credit card debt at $7,155, followed by baby boomers and millennials, according to credit bureau Experian's latest consumer findings. With an average credit card balance of $1,963, consumers in Generation Z carry the lowest credit card debt.
Quick facts: Credit card debt and delinquency rates
The youngest Americans (18 to 29) suffer the highest delinquency rates of 9.36%. That's 76% higher than the total average credit card delinquency rate.
Most debt belongs to 25- to 34-year-olds; 50- to 61-year-olds owe the most on average, exceeding borrowers aged 62 years and older by 0.4%. 281,600 federal borrowers aged 24 years and younger owe an average $15,980 each for a total of $4.50 billion.
Former Société Générale rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel owes the bank $6.3 billion.
1/4 of the debt for 25 to 34-year-olds comes from credit cards. 16% of their debt is student loans, while 3% is mortgages.
Adults 75 or older have the highest average credit card debt at $8,100, but just 28% of people in this age group have debt. Meanwhile, 52% of Americans 45–54 years old have credit card debt, making them the age group most likely to carry it. The average credit card debt for this age group is $7,700.
15% of Americans Have Been in Credit Card Debt for 15 Years
A separate survey conducted by Inside 1031 found that 55% of people carry a credit card balance from month to month. In addition, 40% haven't been credit card debt-free since before 2018 — and 15% have had credit card debt since before 2006.
When including authorized users, the average age Americans received their first credit card was 20. The majority -- 54.3% -- obtained their first credit card between the ages of 18 and 20, while just over 4% were younger than 18. Another 30% got their first credit card between the ages of 21 and 24.
Millennials, with their limited incomes and, in many cases, loan balances, may be more hesitant to rack up debt they know they can't easily pay off. Furthermore, Gen Xers and baby boomers, more so than millennials, are dealing with the expense that is putting their own kids through college.
67% of millennials report having credit card debt, while just 36% face student loan debt. About 1 in 4 cardholders across all generations think they'll die in debt.
Likewise, millennial consumers (ages 25 to 40) have an average of $27,251 in non-mortgage debt, presumably across credit cards, auto loans, personal loans and student loans.
Kevin O'Leary, an investor on “Shark Tank” and personal finance author, said in 2018 that the ideal age to be debt-free is 45. It's at this age, said O'Leary, that you enter the last half of your career and should therefore ramp up your retirement savings in order to ensure a comfortable life in your elderly years.
And yet, over half of Americans surveyed (53%) say that debt reduction is a top priority—while nearly a quarter (23%) say they have no debt. And that percentage may rise.
The average credit card debt for 30 year olds is roughly $4,200, according to the Experian data report.
How much money does the average American owe? According to a 2020 Experian study, the average American carries $92,727 in consumer debt. Consumer debt includes a variety of personal credit accounts, such as credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, personal loans, and student loans.
A Credit Karma Study
According to our May 25, 2022, report of 73 million Credit Karma members with credit cards, Credit Karma members held more than $374 billion in credit card debt across more than 311 million open accounts. Average credit card debt by member was $6,198.
Highlights: Credit scores are three-digit numbers that show an important piece of your financial history. Credit scores help lenders decide whether to grant you credit. The average credit score in the United States is 698, based on VantageScore® data from February 2021.
Early credit card companies were often discriminatory and would not extend lines of credit to African Americans. Additionally, women were not allowed to get a credit card without a male co-signer until 1974. The pitfalls of the credit card industry didn't only impact women and minorities.
The average credit card debt by age makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Cardholders younger than 35 years old have the lowest average credit card debt because many of them have starter credit cards with relatively low spending limits. But as people reach middle age, debt levels increase.
25—34 year olds = $78,396
Younger millennials carry an average debt of $78,396, primarily due to credit card balances, according to Experian. Only 16% of those in this age group have student loan debt. Furthermore, only 3% have mortgage debt.
With federal student debt totaled at $1.57 trillion, the majority of federal student debt is concentrated with Generation X. The average Baby Boomer with student loans tends to owe more than the average Millennial. However, on the national scale, Millennials have a larger overall debt than Baby Boomers.
On average, Americans carry $5,315 in credit card debt, but if your balance is much higher—say, $20,000 or beyond—you may be feeling hopeless. Paying off a high credit card balance can be a daunting task, but it's possible.