Credit Card Debt Study: Trends & Insights

Jun 11, 2019  |  Alina Comoreanu, Senior Researcher

Credit card debt statistics speak to the financial health of American households. They can also foreshadow over-borrowing bubbles, changes to lending standards, and other trends with the potential to impact our wallets.

Although we started 2019 owing more than $1 trillion in credit card debt, Americans repaid $38.2 billion in credit card debt during Q1 2019 – the fourth-largest quarterly payoff ever. Rather than a turning point in consumers’ addiction to overspending, however, the Q1 2019 paydown could actually be a sign that even more debt than expected is now in the forecast for the rest of the year. In fact, WalletHub projects a $70 billion net increase in consumer credit card debt for 2019 overall.

Below, you can learn more about the current credit card debt landscape, including which cities owe the most and how that has changed, according to the latest data available from TransUnion and the Federal Reserve.

Main Findings

Outstanding credit card debt is at the third highest point since the end of 2008, after reaching an all-time record high in Q4 2018.

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We ended 2018 with $66.5 billion in new credit card debt, and WalletHub projects a $70 billion increase in 2019.

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The $38 billion in credit card debt paid down during Q1 2019 is 6% lower than the Q1 2018 paydown.

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Since the end of the Great Recession, consumer performance has regressed on a year-over-year basis in 6 of every 10 quarters.

At 3.83% for Q1 2019, the charge-off rate is rising year over year.

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Average Credit Card Debt per Household

Stat 2019 2018 Percent
Average Credit Card Debt per Household $8,390 $8,109 3%
Total Credit Card Debt $985B 952B 3%
Quarter Net Increase -38B -41B -6%


The average household’s balance, at $8,390, is $1,731 below WalletHub’s projected breaking point.

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2019 Credit Card Debt Paydown by City

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*99th Percentile = Biggest Paydown
1st Percentile = Smallest Paydown