Credit Card Debt in the United States: Trends and Issues

  • Credit Card Debt

The average American consumer receives their first credit card aged 20. For many, it’s an exciting time, further proof they have ascended into adulthood and are ready for financial independence. 

The delinquency rate is high on these cards, but the credit is low, often between $1,500 and $2,000, and it gives the borrower a way to improve their credit score.

It also adds another cog to the massive US debt machine, one that creates more debt, more delinquencies, and more problems than any other. But why is this, why is the average credit card debt so high, and can anything be done about it?

State of American Credit Card Debt

The average US debtor has over $6,500 worth of credit card debt and in total the country owes more than $1 trillion. The average credit card APR is around 18%, and if we plug these two figures into a monthly repayment calculator and suppose that the debtor seeks to clear the balance in 5 years, then the average minimum monthly repayment is close to $120 and they’ll repay over $14,000 in total.

That’s not great, but it’s not that bad either, at least not at first glance. The problem is, it supposes that the debtor will stop using all credit card accounts, accumulate no more debt, and meet all monthly repayments. If not, their credit score will suffer, that 5-year term will almost certainly be prolonged, and there will be serious financial implications.  

How Much Credit Card Debt Does the Average American Have?

The average credit card debt is said to be $6,506. According to data published by the Federal Reserve, store cards, which tend to have the highest rates, account for $1,901 of this total, while the average per account is $1,760. This data also tells us that the average amount spent on a card with no balance is $1,154, which means even individuals who clear their cards every month are spending in excess of $1,000 on them.

55% of Americans with credit cards have balances they don’t clear every month and credit card delinquency is increasingly common, accounting for around 2% of total credit accounts. 

Which States Have the Highest Credit Card Debt?

You might expect the highest revolving credit card debt to be in New York or California, but it’s actually in Alaska. Connecticut follows closely behind. New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Hawaii are next.

It’s no coincidence that these 6 states are all ranked in the top ten for the highest household income. The cost of living is also higher than the national average. The honor of the lowest average credit card debt goes to Iowa, Wisconsin, and Mississippi, where the cost of living is around 10% less than the national average.

Which Age Groups Have the Highest Debt?

Every few years the Federal Reserve conducts a survey that looks at debt across the age groups. Generational differences seem to have been in the news a lot lately, with Millennials and Baby Boomers often occupying opposing sides. It’s true that these generations have experienced life very differently with regards to opportunities, income, and debt, but they’ll both be happy to know that they have much less debt than other generations.

In fact, the last survey conducted by the Federal Reserve found that those aged 65 to 74 ($66,000) have a similar debt to those under the age of 35 ($67,400). Adults above the age of 75 have close to half that amount Gen Xers have the highest, nearly twice as much as Millennials and Baby Boomers.

Of course, we don’t need the Federal Reserve to tell us that debt is much less likely in those aged 75 and up. They’re often retired, have paid off the mortgage and are also more likely to have been in receipt of life insurance policies and inheritances. It will come as a surprise to many, however, to know that Millennials, on average, have half the debt of the generation that came before.

US Compared to Rest of World

Americans love credit, there’s no denying that. It’s very easy to acquire large amounts of debt in this country, and it’s just as easy to find a balance transfer card, personal loan, or debt consolidation loan to help you tackle it. 

But why are things so different here when compared to the rest of the world? 

Why is this Problem Worse in the United States?

American debtors have it much worse than debtors in other countries. Debt is more common, it tends to be much higher, and it’s widespread across all demographics. 

It’s easy to understand some of the reasons behind this difference, but not all. As an example, take student loan debt, which accounts for a significant proportion of young adult debt. The average cost of education is just under $25,000 when accounting for all institutions (private schooling costs around $42,000 while public schooling is below $18,000). 

Scholarships are available and many American families save money throughout the child’s lifetime so they can cover these fees when needed. The vast majority, however, are forced to acquire student loans, which can hang over their heads for years. In many European countries, college is free, and while there are some universities that charge, the fees tend to be significantly less, and the student loan systems are also more forgiving.

It’s the same with healthcare, which is cheap or free elsewhere, but hugely expensive in the US. However, it’s a different story with credit cards, so why is America’s average credit card debt so much higher than it is in other countries?

Why Average Credit Card Debt is Higher

There are many reasons America’s average credit card debt is higher than it is elsewhere, but the main reason is actually quite simple: American credit cards are better.

And we don’t mean that in a patriotic, “U. S. A!” way. 

Take the UK as an example, as our cousins across the pond have a very similar financial system. They have balance transfer cards, reward cards, credit scores, credit reports—they even have many of the same credit card companies that we have.

But they don’t enjoy the same freedom that Americans have when it comes to choosing a credit card. Competition isn’t as high, and rewards average a mere 0.5% cashback. US credit cards, on the other hand, offer as much as 5% through introductory offers and 1% to 2% thereafter.

The average APR is also lower here in the US, clocking in at 24.7% in the UK and less than 18% in the US. What’s more, surveys in 2018 and 2019 suggest that Americans use cash for just 14% of purchases, while in the UK it’s closer to 40%, and we know that credit leads to more impulsive purchases.

Simply put, the US is more obsessed with credit and banks, card providers, and lenders are taking advantage of that. That’s why the average credit card debt is much higher. 

Household Income vs Debt

The median household income in the US is over $62,000, but if you include student loans, credit cards, and mortgages, the average debt is close to $140,000. Take mortgages out of the equation and it drops below $40,000, but only just. 

Discretionary income is over $1,700 a month on average, but once you consider interest repayments, unexpected bills, vacations, college funds, and additional living expenses, it doesn’t leave much to clear those household debts. 

The Biggest US Credit Card Companies

The average credit card user has three cards. For most, their first card and their main card is provided by the same company that they bank with. The additional cards are reward cards and store cards as well as ones acquired solely for a balance transfer.

If you’re an average credit card user, there’s a high chance you will have at least one account with one of the following companies:


The first provider to offer a cashback scheme, Discover also has one of the best modern rewards cards. Known as the Discover It, this card rewards consumers with as much as 5% cashback.

Discover is mistakenly seen as a card that isn’t accepted in many retailer locations. However, while this may be true outside the United States, you shouldn’t have an issue using it domestically. A few years ago, a survey found that Visa and MasterCard were accepted in 9.5 million locations, while Discover was accepted in 9.3 million, just a fraction less.

American Express

American Express is one of the best providers of airmile programs and other rewards programs. It also has some of the most sought-after premium credit cards, which are offered to big spenders. 

AMEX is actually the card that is accepted the least of all major providers. The study mentioned above found just 6.9 million retailers had embraced AMEX. However, it is accepted in more international locations than Discover.

Although figures are constantly changing, the most recent estimates suggest that there are around 1 million more American Express cards than there are Discover cards in the United States.


The Chase Freedom card is the most popular credit card in the United States, offering consumers a reasonable APR as well as several perks. Chase also offers the Slate card and provides cards on behalf of several major airlines, including British Airways.

In most cases, these cards are offered only to consumers with above-average credit scores, but they are not necessarily considered premium or elite user cards.


Mastercard is not the most popular credit card in the United States. In fact, there are around 191 million users of this card and over 320 million users of the card in first place. However, it is a long way clear of the other providers on this list. If you combine all users of Chase, American Express, and Discover cards then the number you arrive at is only just higher than the number of Mastercard users.

These cards are accepted in locations across the United States and all over the world. It’s the second biggest in the US, but it’s also the second biggest pretty much everywhere else.


It’s probably no surprise to see that Visa is number 1, as this is the biggest provider not just in the United States, but all over the world. There are more Visa credit cards and debit cards in existence than any other type; it is accepted in more locations, and it’s a brand name that is as instantly recognizable as Coca Cola and Sony.

Pros and Cons of American Credit Cards


  • Multiple types of cards
  • Huge rewards
  • Many companies to choose from
  • Accepted in most outlets nationwide
  • Competitive rates
  • Options for no credit and poor credit


  • Can be too convenient
  • High-interest rates
  • Few options and high fees for consumers with bad credit

If you have a good debt-to-income ratio, a solid payment history, and you can meet your minimum payment obligations without issue, the US is a great place to acquire credit. Reward cards give you an incentive to spend, balance transfer cards allow you to move your debt around, and you get the feeling that every bank and lender wants your business and will trip over themselves to get it.

If you have none of those things, like so many millions of Americans, then it becomes a nightmare. There are debt counseling, debt settlement, and debt management services to help, but if you can’t meet your monthly payments, and you find yourself prioritizing debt repayments over food, clothing, and family days out, it can become depressing very quickly.

What Does the Future Hold?

Now we’ve looked at the current state of credit card debt in the US and have established that things look pretty bleak, that begs one question: How does the US government plan on approaching this issue?

The truth is, they’ll probably do very little. The only way to prevent those figures from rising is for American consumers to stop spending so much, but that hurts the economy. If you change the mentality of the average American consumer, focusing more on frugality and less on consumerism, the GDP takes a nosedive, the country’s biggest companies suffer, and America’s position on the world stage is notably weakened.

The world is moving away from cash and towards a completely digital payment structure. Cash will soon become a thing of the past and everything, from bills to bus fares and grocery shopping, will be purchased with credit, whether you’re using a credit card, a smartphone app, or some other new-fangled device. Once this happens, the issues facing credit card users become more pronounced and the country’s $14 trillion worth of consumer debt grows ever larger.

In simple terms, the situation will likely get worse for debtors and better for lenders, but if we continue down this road then maybe we’ll start seeing fewer punishments for credit card delinquencies and more options for struggling debtors.

There are over 100 million Americans crossing their fingers and hoping for just that.


23 Employers Switching to Long-Term Remote Work

Happy remote worker
fizkes /

This story originally appeared on

Although the transition to working from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic was fast and furious for a lot of organizations, many companies are now figuring out that working remotely is the future of work — pandemic or not.

Keeping reading for 23 companies that have switched to long-term remote work, along with some of their recent remote opportunities that have been posted to the FlexJobs database.

1. Amazon

Amazon sign
Sundry Photography /

As the largest online retailer in the world, Amazon employs nearly 92,000 employees all over the globe and offers traditional and e-books, furniture, household items, apparel, electronics, music, movies, and more.

Remote work plans: Employees whose positions allow them to work from home can do so through June 2021.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Customer Service Associate
  • Customer Support Associate
  • Economist – Advertising Finance

2. American Express

American Express Sign on Building
JHVEPhoto /

American Express is a global provider of financial goods and services, including payment solutions, travel, and financial management for individuals and businesses.

Remote work plans: Employees can continue working from home through Labor Day 2021.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Manager – Corporate Communications – Global Supply Management
  • Business Analyst – Workforce Forecasting – Capacity Planning – Scheduling
  • Real-Time Analyst

3. Capital One

Capital One Sign
Isabelle OHara /

Capital One, one of the nation’s top 10 largest banks, provides financial services and products for consumers, commercial customers, and small businesses nationwide.

Remote work plans: Capital One plans to keep all non-essential staff working from home until Labor Day 2021.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Bilingual Collections Associate – Repo
  • Customer Solutions Specialist

4. Coinbase

Coinbase Logo
Nadezda Murmakova /

Coinbase offers cryptocurrency services designed to facilitate transactions in open-source, peer-to-peer digital currencies like bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin.

Remote work plans: Coinbase has become a “remote-first” company, allowing most staff who want to work remotely to do so indefinitely. Once pandemic restrictions are lifted, employees who want to return to the office will be able to for some or all of their working hours.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Social Media Manager
  • Training Lead, Client Services
  • Group Product Marketing Manager, Consumer

5. Dropbox

Dropbox logo on phone
Primakov /

Dropbox helps people and companies keep files in sync, and share and collaborate on projects anytime and anywhere.

Remote work plans: Dropbox will let all employees work from home permanently. Existing office space will become Dropbox Studios, where people can choose to go in to work.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Director of Product Management, Business Platform
  • Senior Director of Product
  • Sales Compensation Analyst

6. Facebook

Facebook sign
Markus Mainka /

Founded in 2014, Facebook is the largest social media network worldwide, with more than 2.6 billion monthly active users.

Remote work plans: Facebook will allow up to 50% of their employees to work remotely forever. The rest of the company can remain remote until July 2021.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Product Designer
  • Technical Program Manager

7. Hawke Media

remote worker
fizkes /

Hawke Media offers a full range of digital marketing services. It specializes in optimizing digital media strategies to help companies work more efficiently, save money, and generate revenue.

Remote work plans: Hawke Media is now a fully remote company.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Digital Strategist
  • Vice President of Creative Operations

8. Infosys

Infosys sign
BalkansCat /

Information technology and services company Infosys offers services to clients in more than 50 countries worldwide. Infosys solutions include strategic consulting, digital transformation, insights and analytics, business services, engineering services, and finance and accounting.

Remote work plans: Infosys will allow 33% to 50% of its workforce to work from home permanently.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Underwriting Manager
  • Post Closer Process Associate

9. Lambda School

online college
Rido /

Founded in 2017 as a revolutionary alternative to traditional colleges, Lambda School trains students for high-tech careers with 100% online classes and no up-front costs.

Remote work plans: Lambda School has rolled out a permanent work-from-anywhere policy, and employees can work from anywhere in the U.S.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Data Analyst
  • Engineering Manager for Student Products
  • Marketing Analyst

10. Microsoft

rvolkan /

Microsoft is a multinational technology corporation that develops, manufactures, and markets computer software, consumer electronics, and personal computers.

Remote work plans: Employees can work from home for approximately 50% of their workweek. Managers have the option to approve full-time remote work for staff.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Senior Business Program Manager, Customer Success
  • Executive Communications Lead – Storytelling
  • Customer Engineer

11. Salesforce

Salesforce sign
Bjorn Bakstad / Money Talks News

Salesforce helps businesses of all shapes and sizes connect with customers using their customer relationship manager.

Remote work plans: Salesforce has declared the 9-to-5 workday dead and now offers three categories of flexible work for employees: Flex (only in the office one to three days per week), fully remote, and office-based (the small number of staff who need to be in-person four to five days per week).

Recent remote job openings:

  • Accessibility Content Marketing Manager
  • Account Executive, Public Sector
  • Enterprise Account Executive

12. Shopify

Shopify Company Logo
Paul McKinnon /

Shopify is an ecommerce company that provides a multichannel, cloud-based commerce platform for small and midsized companies to design, organize, and manage stores across various sales channels.

Remote work plans: All of Shopify’s 5,000 employees can work from home indefinitely.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Payroll Manager
  • Senior Legal Counsel, Product and Commercial

13. Siemens

Siemens Company Sign
nitpicker /

Started in 1847, Siemens is a global industrial electrical engineering and electronics corporation that operates nine divisions. Products include industrial controls, energy-efficient building solutions, wind turbines, medical imaging technology, and train and subway solutions.

Remote work plans: 140,000 of Siemens’ employees can permanently work from home for two to three days per week.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Senior Scientific Marketing Manager – Pharmaceutical Services
  • Software Designer, Developer – Java

14. Skillshare

Skillshare Website
Postmodern Studio /

Skillshare is an online learning community that services more than 3 million students. Classes cover areas as diverse as design, business, crafts, culinary arts, technology, and film.

Remote work plans: Skillshare is moving to permanent remote work.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Head of User Research
  • Content Program Manager
  • Director of Product, Consumer Experience

15. Slack

Slack Company Sign
Sundry Photography /

Slack offers real-time messaging, archiving, and search services designed to facilitate team communication so users can quickly and efficiently stream communication and documents to share with colleagues.

Remote work plans: Most Slack employees can work from home permanently, and Slack is committing to hiring more permanently remote employees.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Senior Product Manager, Conversations, Search and Channels
  • Senior Product Manager, Monetization
  • Group Product Manager, Productivity

16. Spotify

Spotify phone earbuds
Primakov /

A Swedish company, Spotify provides music, comedy, podcast, and streaming services. Users can play music directly from the cloud, instead of downloading it to their device, and have access to more than 30 million tracks.

Remote work plans: Spotify recently announced that employees can choose to work in the office, remotely, or in a company-paid coworking space.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Backend Engineer

17. Square

Square Company Sign
Sundry Photography /

Square began as a small credit card-reading application and now provides merchants with the ability to manage point-of-sale systems, accept credit card payments, and sell online.

Remote work plans: Even when offices begin to open, Square employees will be able to work from home permanently.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Editor, Editorial Strategist, Management
  • Senior Technical Accounting Manager
  • Technical Writer

18. Starbucks

Sergey Kohl /

A global coffee brand, Starbucks aims to provide an inspiring and nurturing environment in each establishment.

Remote work plans: Starbucks has extended its remote work plan until October 2021.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Director, Policy and Practice – Inclusion and Diversity
  • Senior Information Security Engineer – Identity and Access Management

19. Target

Jonathan Weiss /

Target is the nation’s second-largest discount store retailer and operates over 1,800 stores in 47 states.

Remote work plans: Employees in the Minnesota headquarters can continue working remotely until June 2021, with plans for a long-term hybrid model.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Lead Data Analyst, Talent Analytics
  • Senior Data Analyst, Talent Analytics

20. Twitter

Twitter building
Michael Vi /

Twitter is an online social networking and news service that allows people to post messages and interact with others instantly around the world using short messages.

Remote work plans: Employees at Twitter will be able to work from home indefinitely, going into the office if and when they choose.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Senior – Staff Researcher – Creator Experience
  • Conversation Lead
  • Senior Researcher – Media Experience

21. Upwork

Upwork Logo
Sundry Photography /

Upwork is the world’s largest freelance marketplace offering 2,500 skill categories, with 10 million registered freelancers and 4 million registered client companies.

Remote work plans: Upwork is permanently adopting a remote-first model, with remote work being the default for all employees.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Senior Product Designer
  • Senior Content Designer
  • Directory, Diversity Change Management

22. VMware

Michael Vi /

A subsidiary of Dell, VMware specializes in cloud and virtualization software and services. Its products and services include data center and cloud infrastructure, networking and security, storage and availability, cloud management, and more.

Remote work plans: VMware is offering permanent, remote work to all employees.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Senior Open Source Community Manager
  • Senior Product Manager
  • Senior Customer Service Engineer, Tanzu Observability

23. Zipwhip

Male computer programmer or software developer
antoniodiaz /

Zipwhip is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company that provides software to text-enabled phone numbers by adding texting to existing landlines, toll-free phone numbers, and VoIP.

Remote work plans: Zipwhip has extended its work-from-home policy for all employees through July 2021.

Recent remote job openings:

  • Senior Software Engineer – Android
  • Senior Software Engineer – Mobile and Services

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.


[YMMV] American Express Gold – 75,000 Points

The Offer

Direct link to offer (try incognito mode if it doesn’t show)

  • American Express is offering a bonus of 75,000 points after $4,000 in spend within six months on the American Express Gold

Card Details

Our Verdict

There is an offer for 60,000 points + $250 restaurant credit (20% back). Some people may prefer that offer, really depends on how you value American Express Membership Rewards points. Will add this to our list of the best credit card bonuses.

Hat tip to DDG


Credit card showdown: Amex Platinum vs. Amex Business Platinum

Amex Platinum vs. Amex Business Platinum comparison – The Points Guy

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.


13 of the best beaches in Florida

TPG’s favorite Florida beaches

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.


No, the Amex Gold Card is not the same as the authorized-user Gold Card from Platinum account

No, the Amex Gold Card is not the same as the authorized-user Gold Card from Platinum account

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.


American Express: Free One/Two Month Trials To Obé Fitness

Update 2/23/20: Extended until 03/31/2021.

The Offer

Direct link to offer

  • American Express is offering cardholders a free two month trial to obé fitness monthly membership. You can also gift a one month membership to a friend.

The Fine Print

  • As a US American Express Card Member, you are eligible to redeem a 2-month free trial to obé fitness monthly membership.
  • This offer is eligible to all US American Express Card Members and for a limited-time only, ending 8/16/2020.
  • Trials are only available to new obé fitness subscribers and only for the monthly membership.
  • You will be charged the full monthly amount of $27 after your first 2-months and charges will continue monthly unless cancelled.
  • Please cancel your membership by signing in at and navigating to your subscription settings.
  • You can cancel anytime during the first 2-month free trial with no charge.
  • Card Members must cancel the automatic renewal before the due date of their first payment as well as subsequent monthly payments to avoid being charged.
  • To redeem the 2-month free trial, US American Express Card Members must click through this webpage and complete the purchase journey within the obé fitness website.
  • If you leave or close this webpage and return later, this offer may no longer be available.
  • Purchases are subject to obé’s Terms and Conditions, available at: Please visit for contact information and/or any additional questions or concerns.
  • Offers void where prohibited by law. Other restrictions may apply. Offers, prices, rules, and benefits subject to change without notice.

Our Verdict

Previously T-Mobile users were offered a one month free trial, so I don’t think these are particularly rare. Although for cardholders you obviously get two months. Just remember to cancel as you are enrolled automatically and will be charged $27 per month if you forget to cancel. American Express is also offering a free year of ‘Calm’ sleep and meditation app. And earlier today brought back the shop small promotion.

Post history:

  • Update 11/2/20: Extended until November 30th.


Marriott Bonvoy American Express Business 75,000 Points + $150 Statement Credit

The Offer

Direct link to offer  (open incognito)

  • American Express is offering a sign up bonus of 75,000 points on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Business Card after spending $3,000 within 3 months. You also get a $150 statement credit on eligible purchases made within the first three months

Card Details

  • Anniversary free night award up to 35,000 points (this is a free night certificated that can be used on properties costing up to 35,000 points)
  • $125 annual fee (not waived first year)
  • Card earns at the following rates:
    • Six Marriott rewards points per dollar spent at participating hotels
    • Four Marriott rewards points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping
    • Two points per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Silver status; earn gold status by making $35,000 in purchases within a calendar year
  • Receive 15 nights towards elite status
  • Premium in room internet access at participating properties
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Can only get the bonus once per lifetime

Our Verdict

Last year we saw a 100,000 point offer and a $150 credit, but the credit required spend on U.S. Advertising in select media. This new offer is 25,000 less points but the $150 credit is much easier to earn as any purchases qualify. Because of this increased flexibility I will add this to our list of the best credit card bonuses.