SavvyPoll Number One

Credit Card Debt

It is an uncomfortable feeling knowing that we owe a given sum of money to a person, a bank, or a company. Unfortunately, very few of us are able to get through life without debt touching our lives. It is nearly impossible not to accrue some debt in pursuit of higher education, an automobile, or a home. The worst kind of debt? Credit card debt. For most people, the single greatest impediment to attaining wealth and financial freedom.

This week’s SavvyPoll asks, “How much do you believe the average American household owes in credit card debt?”

A. $4,000 – $5,999

B. $6,000 – $7,999

C. $8,000 – $9,999

D. Greater than $10,000

Prior to getting to the poll results, a few things to keep in mind. First, this is strictly a look at credit card debt and not all consumer debt (which would include things such as payday loans) and long-term secured debt (e.g mortgages). Second, as discussed here, different organizations have different definitions of what constitutes credit card debt and apply different metrics.

The true objective of this poll was not to definitively identify the average credit card debt for American households. Instead, like the SavvyQuizzes, the real desire is to get readers to think more about the topic and encourage more research; encourage a change in behavior if applicable. Without further ado, the results, which include the answer as well as the percentage for each answer chosen by SavvyReaders:

CardHub Study

Source: CardHub Credit Card Debt study, 2013

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.


  1. Sadly this is not a surprising statistic. I was actually more surprised that the amount owed isn’t larger. Too many Americans depend on their credit card(s) as an extension of income. The “charge it now,deal with it later” attitude has infected us.

    • I was a little surprised as well. I assumed the figure would be slightly higher. Thanks for stopping by. Great to hear from you.

  2. It’s a good question. D, I think.

    • A popular answer. The results on Wednesday.

  3. D ~ but only because it’s my moniker. I hope I’m wrong!

    • Thanks for chiming in, Debt Debs. Check back Wednesday for the results.

  4. According to the reports from the Federal Reserve and the Joint Economic committee the answer should be D. Let’s see what other’s have to say.

    • Your answer is noted. Without revealing the answer, I will say that my source was neither the Federal Reserve or the Joint Economic Committee. If you have links to those reports, I hope you will share. Thanks for taking the time to answer and check back Wednesday for the results.

  5. I’m going to say “C” but I’m hope I’m wrong and its lower. Credit cards are the easiest forms of debt aquisition. You don’t have to go to a bank to apply. The applications just show up in your mailbox. It’s so easy to apply. By just filling out a short application that takes only a few minutes you will be a slave to the lender for years to come if you’re not careful.

    • Your answer of ‘C’ is noted. Absolutely agree that credit cards, and the debt that goes with them, are too easy to attain. And of course, the banks hope you never pay off the balances. They would much rather people carry balances for years, and years, and years….

      Check back on Wednesday for the results.

  6. A Google+ reader chooses ‘D’.

  7. A Google+ reader chimes in with…

    “I choose ‘A’.”

  8. I’m going to go with B. It actually makes me sad that all of these are choices 🙁

    • Your answer is noted. It is sad and disturbing, particularly when you consider this is a look at just credit card debt. Throw in debt from student loans, homes, vehicles, etc. and you really begin to appreciate the scourge of debt.

      Check back Wednesday for the results.

  9. I will take a chance and say $8000 and $9999.

    • Thanks for the reply. I have you down for C. Check back on Wednesday for the results.

  10. D

    I would like to believe it is lower. Living souls are using credit more due to the high cost of gas, food with households that one or more are unemployed or underemployed.

    • Your answer is noted. I was a little surprised at the result…though I won’t reveal at this point if it is lower or higher than I would have thought.

      Agreed that unemployment – and underemployment – are significant contributors to the problem of debt, particularly credit card debt. The documentary Inequality For All gives a nice explanation of how/why Americans came to depend on credit cards.

      I’ll be interested to get your feedback on the new feature and the format – poll question on Sunday and the reveal [the answer, as well as the percentages for each answer chosen by readers] – on Wednesday.

      • I thought about it and wondered if it would come in lower. I also thought about the reason(s) it might. Limited access to credit, card companies raising rates, canceling cards. The number of bankruptcies have increased.

        or perhaps we have become more #savvy.

        • The number is lower than I would have expected, and as you note, there are likely a number of reasons for that. Banks tightening lending requirements and consumers being more proactive in paying down more debt since the 2008 crisis among them. And of course, let’s hope that people are becoming more savvy with respect to credit and personal finance in general.

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