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Credit Card Statistics

Statistics about Credit Card Rates and Terms
*Average credit card APR is 14.9%. (Federal Reserve)
*Average cash advance APR is 15.9%. (Federal Reserve) As high as 28.24%. (Chase)
*Average penalty/default rate is 23.9%. (Federal Reserve) As high as 32.24%. (Chase)
*Average grace period is 25 days. (Federal Reserve) As short as 20 days.
*Average transaction fee for cash advances is 3%. (Federal Reserve)
*Average balance-transfer fee is 3%. (Federal Reserve)
*Average late-payment fee is $25. (Federal Reserve) As high as $39.
*Average over-credit-limit fee is $25. (Federal Reserve) As high as $25.
*Approximately 57% of credit cards have variable rates. 42% of credit cards have fixed rates. (Federal Reserve)
Household Use of Credit Cards
*73% of all families now carry a credit card. (2007 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances)
*46.1% of all families now carry a credit card balance. This is a slight drop from 46.2% in 2004. (2007 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances)

*In 2007, the median balance for those carrying a balance was $3,000, up 25% from 2004. The mean balance for those carrying a balance rose 30.4% to $7,300.(2007 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances)

*Median credit card balance is $3,000. (2007 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances)

*The average household with a 14.9% interest rate on a $5,100 balance will pay $760 per year in interest payments.

*Credit card debt is 3.5% of total debt. (Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances)

 *Median number of bank-type cards per family is 2. (Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances)


 *Median credit limit per family is $18,000. Up from $13,500 in 2004. (2007 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances)

* Of families with credit cards, 96.1% have a bank-type card, 56.7% have store cards, and 11.9% have gasoline cards. (2007 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances)

*The average monthly spending on a credit card without a rewards program is $465. With rewards, that spending increases to $890.  (Nilson Report )

*Approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population has more than 10 credit cards. (Experian)
*U.S. consumers have an average of four credit cards (Experian)
*Approximately 51 percent of the U.S. population has at least two credit cards. (Experian)
*Approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population has more than 10 credit cards. (Experian)
*About 14 percent of the U.S. population uses at least 50 percent of their available credit. (Experian)
*U.S. consumers who use at least 50 percent of their available credit carry an average of 6.6 credit cards. (Experian)
*The national average credit score for those with credit card utilization of at least 50 percent is 645, compared with the overall national average of 674. (Experian)
*37 percent of those surveyed say they generally pay the full amount of their credit card bill(s) each month (Experian-Gallup survey)
*13 percent of those surveyed said they usually pay the full amount but not always. (Experian-Gallup survey)
*24 percent of those surveyed said they pay as much as they can but usually leave a balance. (Experian-Gallup survey)
*11 percent report of those surveyed said that they usually pay the minimum but not much more. (Experian-Gallup survey)
*13 percent of those surveyed said they did not have any credit cards (Experian-Gallup survey)

*36.3% of Christmas shoppers will primarily use credit cards for purchases. (National Retail Federation)

*In 2006,  the average credit card user charged $626 for Christmas shopping. (CBS News)

*Less than half of all consumers have ever been reported as 30 or more days late on a payment. Only 3 out of 10 have ever been 60 or more days overdue on any credit obligation. (

*77% of all consumers have never had a loan or account that was 90+ days overdue, and less than 20% have ever had a loan or account closed by the lender due to default. (

*The typical consumer has access to approximately $19,000 on all credit cards combined. More than half of all people with credit cards are using less than 30% of their total credit card limit. Just over 1 in 7 are using 80% or more of their credit card limit.

* On average, today’s consumer has a total of 13 credit obligations on record at a credit bureau. Of these 13 credit obligations, 9 are likely to be credit cards and 4 are likely to be installment loans. (


National Debt Statistics

*Among families with debt of any kind — including mortgages, other loans and credit cards — the median level rose 33.9 percent to $55,300. (Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances)

* Consumers spend 12-18% more when using credit cards than when using cash. (Dun & Bradstreet)

*Household debt (mortgage debt and consumer credit), reached $12.816 trillion last year, an increase of 8.6% over 2005. This amounted to an average of $112,027 for each of the country’s $114.4 million residences. (Nilson Report)
*Mortgage debt accounted for 81% of household debt, up from 80.3% the prior year. Over 10 years, the average amount of mortgage debt owed per household increased 121%, from $40,999 to $90,719. (Nilson Report)
*Consumer credit (amount outstanding on installment and non-installment loans, and open-end unsecured personal loans), was 19% of household debt in 2006, down from 19.7% in 2005. (Nilson Report)
*Credit card debt per household was $7,698 at the end of 2006, up 4.8% from $7,344 the prior year. As a percent of total household debt, credit card debt has declined from 10% in 1997 to 6.9% in 2006. (Nilson Report)
*Over the past 10 years, household debt has grown by 147%, credit card debt has grown by 69%. Credit card debt slowed to less than half of household debt primarily because consumers borrowed against equity in their homes to pay down credit card account balances. (Nilson Report)
*Credit card debt, less than $8 billion in 1968 (in current dollars), now exceeds $880 billion, more than tripling since 1988, adjusting for inflation. (Federal Reserve Bank)
*Penalty fees alone cost consumers $17.1 billion in 2006 — up from $12.8 billion in 2003, adjusted for inflation. (R. K. Hammer, a bank card advisory firm)
*As a percentage of $30.489 trillion of total debt including household, business, and government, credit cards account for 2.89% at the end of 2006, down from 3.5% 10 years before. (Nilson Report)

*Over the past ten years, household debt has grown by 147%, business debt by 106% and total government debt by 63%. Credit card debt, a subset of household debt, grew by 69%. (Nilson Report, May 2007)

*The national average credit score for April to August 2007 was 692. (Experian)

*Nationwide, 23 percent of consumers had their credit score drop up to 50 points from January to June 2007. (Experian)

*41 percent of the U.S. population showed no change in their credit score from January to June 2007.  (Experian)

Industry Statistics
*In 2006, Visa issuers generated an average of $2,467 in purchase volume per card compared to $1,955 for Mastercard credit cards. (Nilson Report)
*In 2006, Visa and Mastercard accounted for 82.5% of general purpose credit card outstandings (Nilson Report)
At the end of 2006, 4% of all general purpose credit card outstandings were delinquent, up from 3.38%. (Nilson Report)
*Average amount for a credit card transaction: (Nilson Report)
Visa– $103 Mastercard–$102
*Average amount for a credit card purchase: (Nilson Report)
Visa–$88 Mastercard–$86
*Average amount for a cash advance: (Nilson Report)
Visa–$1,046 Mastercard–$1,561
*Number of Cards per cardholder: (Nilson Report)
Visa–3 Mastercard–2.63
*Net fraud loss was 6.7 cents for every $100 in total volume, up slightly from 6.6 cents. (Nilson Report)
*Top 10 General purpose cards issuers:
1. American Express   2. J.P. Morgan Chase 3. Bank of America 4. Citigroup 5. Capital One   6. Discover 7. U.S. Bancorp 8. HSBC 9. Wells Fargo 10. USAA Savings
(Nilson Report, Jan. 2007)
*Of the $2.202 trillion in total Visa and Mastercard volume in 2005, purchases accounted for 77.5 % of total volume. Cash (obtained at ATMs, over the counter at a bank branch, by paper check, or electronic interbank payment) accounted for 22.5%. (Nilson Report)
*2006 Credit Card Outstandings- $777.04 Billion. (Nilson Report)
Visa 45.66%
Mastercard 36.83%
American Express 11.32%
Discover   6.19%
*In 2006, There were 666.3 million signature-based general purpose type cards in circulation.
% of cards in circulation by brand:
Visa- 31.2%
American Express- 5%
*In 2006, the average credit card purchase transaction averaged $87, the average debit card purchase transaction was $39 (Nilson Report)
*The unpaid balances on all credit cards grew to $886.20 billion by the end of 2006, up 6.4% over 2005–a$53.49 billion increase.

*About 15% of all credit card applications are rejected by issuers because they have a lack of positive credit information or no information at all.

College Student Credit Card Usage

* Eighty-four percent of undergraduates had at least one credit card, up from 76 percent in 2004, the last time the study was conducted. The average number of cards has grown to 4.6, and half of college students had four or more cards.

*Undergraduates are carrying record-high credit card balances. The average (mean) balance grew to $3,173, the highest in the years the study has been conducted. Median debt grew from 2004’s $946 to $1,645. Twenty-one percent of undergraduates had balances of between $3,000 and $7,000, also up from the last study.

*Since 2004, students who arrived on campus as freshmen with a credit card already in-hand have increased from 23 percent to 39 percent.

*In spring of 2008, only 15 percent of freshmen had a zero balance, down dramatically from 69 percent in the fall of 2004. The median debt freshmen carried was $939, nearly triple the $373 in 2004.

*Seniors graduated with an average credit card debt of more than $4,100, up from $2,900 almost four years ago. Close to one-fifth of seniors carried balances greater than $7,000.

*Ninety-two percent of undergraduate credit cardholders charged textbooks, school supplies, or other direct education expenses, up from 85 percent when the study was last conducted, in 2004.

*Nearly one-third (30%) put tuition on their credit card, an increase from 24 percent in the previous study.

*Students who used credit cards to pay for direct education expenses estimated charging $2,200, more than double 2004’s average of $942.

*The most common education expenses charged were textbooks (76%), school supplies (75%), and commuter costs (54%).

*Food (84%), clothing (70%), and cosmetics (69%) ranked at the top of other expenses charged.

*Only 17 percent said they regularly paid off all cards each month, and another 1 percent had parents, a spouse, or other family members paying the bill. The remaining 82 percent carried balances and thus incurred finance charges each month.


*Average outstanding balance on undergraduate credit cards is $2,169.  (Nellie Mae)

*More than half of all students with credit cards carry balances lower than $1,000. (Nellie Mae)

*56 % of undergraduates get their first card at age 18. (Nellie Mae)

*In 2006, 92 percent of graduate students have at least one credit card, a 4-percent decrease from the 96 percent who had credit cards in 2003. (Nellie Mae)
*The average outstanding balance on graduate student credit cards increased 10 percent during that time, from $7,831 to $8,612. (Nellie Mae)
*Ninety-four percent of graduate student survey respondents used credit cards to pay for some portion of their direct education expenses, primarily textbooks. Twenty-eight percent admitted paying for some portion of their tuition with credit cards. (Nellie Mae)
*The majority of graduate students, 67 percent, said they took out their first card as an undergraduate. (Nellie Mae)
*Of the graduate student survey respondents, 93 percent would have liked more information on financial management topics before they started school and would like financial management education now. (Nellie Mae)
* The more time spent in graduate school, the more likely a student is to grow his or her credit card debt level. On average, older graduate students (aged 30-59) carry $12,593 in credit card debt, almost twice as much as their younger counterparts (aged 22-29) who carry an average
debt of $6,479. (Nellie Mae)
*Eleven percent of first-year graduate students do not have credit cards, while only 4 percent of fourth-year graduate students do not have credit cards. (Nellie Mae)
*As has been true in previous studies, students attending school in the Midwest region of the country tend to carry the highest credit card debt. (Nellie Mae)
*Although 93 percent of respondents try to keep their credit card debt under control by paying at least the required monthly minimum, just 20 percent said they pay off their cards in full each month. (Nellie Mae)

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