Astounding Credit Card Statistics, Vol. 3

It’s a topic many of us would rather keep under wraps, and those of us socially aware enough to understand the personal nature of credit card debt intentionally veer away from such conversations in social or leisure settings, but debt has become – for some – a virtually unavoidable obstacle on the road to success. Whether you’re a merchant running a busy store (like so many of our clientele), a student who lives on borrowed money, or just a non-stop shopaholic, debt can be a crushing facet of everyday modern life.

Vision Payment Solutions advocates the responsible use of credit cards and spending. In the tradition of keeping our clients abreast of all the current, important credit card-related news and information, we present Volume Three of our Astounding Credit Card Statistics series:

  • In 2004, of those with credit cards, 84 percent of African-American households carried credit card debt compared with 54 percent of white households. (Source:, “Borrowing To Make Ends Meet,” November 2007)
  • Over 90 percent of African-American families earning between $10,000 and $24,999 had credit card debt. (Source: study, November 2007)
  • 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 between $3,000 and $7,000, also up from the last study. (Source: Sallie Mae, “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards,” April 2009)
  • 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. (Source: Sallie Mae, “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards,” April 2009)
  • 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. (Source: Sallie Mae, “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards,” April 2009)
  • The average college graduate has nearly $20,000 in debt; average credit card debt has increased 47 percent between 1989 and 2004 for 25-to 34-year-olds, and 11 percent for 18- to 24-year-olds. Nearly one in five 18- to 24-year-olds is in “debt hardship,” up from 12 percent in 1989. (Source:, “The Economic State of Young America,” May 2008)
  • Discussing credit card debt is highly taboo. The topics at the top of the list of things that people say they are very or somewhat unlikely to talk openly about with someone they just met were: The amount of credit card debt (81 percent); details of your love life (81 percent); your salary (77 percent); the amount you pay for your monthly mortgage or rent (72 percent); your health problems (62 percent); your weight (50 percent). (Source: research, January 2009)

Vision Payment Solutions is an industry leader in credit card-processing software, hardware, and technical support. We provide merchants of all markets and industries with the equipment and knowledge needed to accept a variety of payment forms from their shoppers, and we also sustain small businesses through our equipment-leasing and capital-financing programs. Click “Apply Now” to get started today!