The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Saturday, June 22, 2024

Average Credit Card Debt by State in 2024

Average Credit Card Debt By State
Erica Sandberg

Written by: Erica Sandberg

Erica Sandberg
Erica Sandberg

Erica Sandberg is a consumer finance expert and journalist whose articles and insights are featured in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, MarketWatch, Forbes, and MSN Money. An experienced media host, she's led many financial programs, including her podcast, "Adventures With Money." She's appeared on Fox, CNN, "EconTalk" and "The Dr. Drew Podcast," and has been the resident money and credit authority for KRON-4 News in San Francisco for more than 10 years. She's the author of "Expecting Money: The Essential Financial Plan for New and Growing Families" and recipient of the 2024 Financial Literacy and Education in Communities (FLEC) Award for National Excellence.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Reviewed by: Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker
Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker has more than a decade of experience as a finance contributor and editor, and has specialized in the credit card industry since 2015. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among many others. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media. Ashley holds a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism from Florida Atlantic University.

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Advertiser Disclosure

Carrying over credit card debt from one month to the next is a common practice among American credit card holders. But life has become more expensive due to inflation, and many consumers are charging the things they want and need instead of paying cash. 

But unless a cardholder repays the balance in full when the bill comes in, compound interest will be added to the unpaid balance as it rolls over to the next month. This means you will pay more than you borrowed, and it will take you longer to pay off your balance.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported credit card debt topped $986 billion in the first quarter of 2023, with American households owing their share of $9,654.1,2

Americans Collectively Owe $986 Billion in Card Debt: Here’s How That Breaks Down by State

If you owe money on your cards, the balances you’re holding may be higher or lower than those of people in your community. Comparing and contrasting the numbers can give you insight into where you stand with the rest of the country, based on your location. 

LendingTree analyzed the credit reports of its users to find the average credit card debt in each state in 2022.3 Here is how the data breaks down in order of highest to lowest balances.

StateAverage Credit Card Debt
Per Person (2023)
New York$9,165
New Jersey$9,044
Rhode Island$8,728
North Dakota$7,714
New Hampshire$7,415
South Carolina$7,063
North Carolina$6,955
South Dakota$6,367
New Mexico$6,367
West Virginia$6,008
Source: LendingTree 2023 Credit Card Debt Statistics

These balances are even more alarming than they first appear because the added interest can be so expensive. In February 2023, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis reported that the average credit card APR on accounts with balances incurring interest was 20.92%.4 

Connecticut Has the Highest Average Credit Card Debt: $9,408

Because Connecticut has a high average household income — $100,639 for a household of two earners5 — residents tend to have higher than average credit card debt. Credit card limits are based not just on credit scores, but also on the amount a borrower can afford to repay, i.e., their income and outstanding debt.

So if you have the means to make at least the minimum payments on a high credit limit, the credit card issuer may provide a greater level of charging power. 

Kentucky Has the Lowest Average Credit Card Debt: $5,408

Kentucky not only has one of the lower median incomes in the United States — $66,902 for a two-earner household5 — it also has the lowest average credit card debt. Consequently, the credit limits will follow suit. 

The less money you can afford to pay, the less you will be able to borrow. The end result is a smaller credit limit and lower debt. 

How Card Debt Correlates to Credit Scores in Each State

There is a strong correlation between how much someone owes in credit card debt and their credit scores. 

Credit scoring companies, such as FICO, weigh some information on a credit report heavier than others. Credit utilization is second only to payment history as the most important credit scoring factor. 

The amount of debt you carry comprises 30% of your FICO score

FICO Factors Graphic

The less you owe on your credit cards as compared to the amount you can borrow, the broader your credit utilization will be. That results in a better credit score because it indicates you are not over-borrowing to make ends meet. 

Conversely, if you have used up all or most of your credit card limit, your credit scores are likely to be lower because lenders see that as an overreliance on borrowing to get by. 

The common rule of thumb is to have at least 70% of your balance available. So if you have a credit card with a $1,000 limit, revolving no more than $300 on that card is recommended to achieve a high credit score. If the total of your credit limits on all cards is $10,000, the total of your revolving debt should be under $3,000. 

That’s why the high and low scores per state begin to make sense. The average credit score in the US in 2022 was 714.6 

In Connecticut, the state with the highest average credit card debt, it was 725, so better than the national average. On the other hand, credit scores for Kentucky averaged 702, far lower than the national average.

StateAverage Credit Score
in 2022
District of Columbia716
New Hampshire734
New Jersey724
New Mexico699
New York721
North Carolina707
North Dakota733
Rhode Island723
South Carolina696
South Dakota734
West Virginia700
Source: Experian Q3 2022 Data

To extrapolate: Connecticut residents may carry more debt than residents of Kentucky, but they may have much broader credit utilization ratios.

How Balance Transfer Cards Can Help

No matter where you live in the country, if you are burdened with expensive credit card bills because the interest fees are eroding your payments, a solution may be closer than you think. A balance transfer credit card that offers a 0% APR for a limited period can help.

With a 0% APR balance transfer card, you can move your existing debt to the new card account. This will give you a fixed number of months to repay the transferred balance with no finance fees added to the debt. 

Most accounts charge a transfer fee of between 2% and 5% of the balance, but the final savings can be tremendous. The 0% time frame is currently anywhere between 12 months and 21 months. 

For example, let’s say you have a $5,000 credit card balance with a 21% APR. Your goal is to pay the entire debt off in 15 months. 

  • If you keep your debt with the original card, you would need to make monthly payments of $381 to reach your goal. The total interest paid would be $728.  
  • If you transfer the balance to a credit card that gives you 0% APR for 15 months and charges 2% of the balance as a fee ($100), the monthly payment would drop to $340. You would get out of debt within that same time frame with no interest paid whatsoever. You would save $628 in interest and the monthly payments would be $41 lower. 

To qualify for a 0% APR balance transfer card, you usually have to have a good credit score. Check your score before applying, and if yours is on the low side (below 700), you can use the following strategies to help bring it up:

  • Always pay the accounts listed on your credit reports on time. Delinquencies will drag your scores down, but they can be offset with a stream of timely payments. 
  • If the amount of debt you have is hurting your credit utilization ratio, either pay some of it down first or ask the credit card issuer if they will agree to a higher credit limit. This will lower your credit utilization ratio.
  • Do not apply for credit products unless you really need them. Too many hard inquiries, especially when your scores are already low, can negatively affect credit scores. 

In Conclusion

Whether your credit card balance is higher or lower than the average for your state, what is most important is that you achieve your own financial health. Debt that is accumulating interest and the accompanying payments robs money from your budget.

Take action to drive the debt down, even if you don’t use a balance transfer credit card. 

Once you’re back in the black, plan on keeping it that way. Only charge when you’re certain that you can pay the balance in full by the time the bill rolls in. When you do, you won’t have to worry about debt or interest — and you can be sure that you are feeding your credit reports positive information that will result in high credit scores.

More Relevant Statistics:

Data Sources:







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