Updated August 27, 2013

Infographic: Credit Card Debt Statistics

Credit Card Debt Continues to Decline As More Consumers Take Control of Their Finances

Nobody wants to pay more than they have to. But paying even just an extra dollar on all your long-term loans or credit card bills can save you money in the long run.

With this extra payment, you make a small step toward control of your financial future.

(Click Image to Enlarge)
Infographics: The Power of the Extra Dollar
Infographics: The Power of the Extra Dollar © CreditDonkey

When it comes to debt, many Americans have been “scared savvy” over the last few years helping to reduce U.S. credit card debt by hundreds of billions of dollars. But there’s still a long road ahead.

Following the financial meltdown of 2008, many Americans have learned to better manage their money, launching credit card repayment plans that have helped reduce U.S. consumer debt by eleven percent since late-2010, according to Equifax.

Unfortunately, much of that reduction can be attributed to credit card companies charging-off bad debt, says Charles Tran, founder of CreditDonkey.

“While it’s encouraging to see more people handle credit cards wisely, America’s total credit card debt is nearly $795 billion, and the average credit-card-holding household owes $14,718,” said Tran. “That’s why the infographic above includes very blunt math on the cost of plastic, as well as tips to reduce debt and improve your credit score.”

The first thing the nation’s 156 million cardholders should know, says Tran, is that they should always pay more than the monthly minimum.

If a cardholder paid only the monthly minimum on a balance of $14,718, for example, it would take 31 years to repay the loan (assuming a 13.04% APR), and cost the cardholder $16,772 in total interest. By putting $300 a month toward the same balance, however, the cardholder would reduce repayment time to 6 years and save $10,347 in interest.

To keep debt under control and improve your credit score, CreditDonkey recommends:

  • Keep debt to less than 30% of their total credit limit.
  • Maintain a long credit history by not closing credit card accounts. Instead, simply refrain from using the unwanted cards.
  • Never pay bills late or allow them to be referred to collection agencies.
  • Monitor your credit. It takes a long time to build good credit, but one negative mark can quickly reduce the credit score.

“At the very least, people need to carefully track their income and expenses,” Tran added. “Too many people charge things to their credit cards, and then forget about the charges until the bill arrives.”

Estimate Your Credit Card Payoff

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(includes CreditDonkey® Payoff Chart to show how long it will take to get out of debt)

Editor's Note: Calculations are an estimate based on assumptions and for illustrative purposes only. The actual time and cost to pay off your balance by only making the minimum payment or specific monthly payment will depend on the terms of your account and future account activity. Your credit card issuer may calculate your payment differently. We do not know whether the payment on your bill represents only a percentage of your total balance or includes amounts that vary from month to month such as fees. For more information, please contact your credit card issuer or visit http://www.federalreserve.gov/creditcardcalculator/

(Research by Nat; Graphic Design by Boris)

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Comments about Infographic: Credit Card Debt Statistics

  • Ashyia Hill
    on May 10, 2012 9:23 AM said:

    When I finally got serious about paying down my credit card debt and my car loan, any extra money went to that purpose: gifts, government refunds, even extra paychecks, all went to getting my debt down. Though I negotiated with my credit card issuer to pay a certain amount, I always paid above that by at least $15. I was able to pay everything off a year and two months early. Never pay the minimum!

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