Updated: March 26, 2018
When people talk about the American Dream, it’s hard to do so without thinking about debt. For all the homes and cars and colleges available to us, we still have to pay for them. And doing so in cash is close to impossible for the average American.
So how much debt are we actually taking on? The average credit card debt and other forms of debt that most Americans carry may surprise you.
We’ve analyzed the most common forms of debt Americans face: credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, and medical debt. (You can find our latest data on student loans here.) Check it out to see where you stand.
Credit card debt in the U.S.
Credit cards are a common spending tool and are central to building good credit. But they come with some of the highest interest rates on any form of debt, and no formal repayment plan. Unfortunately, this can make it easy to get into credit card debt you can’t pay off.
Credit card debt is a common issue that challenges American consumers:
- $1.03 trillion total U.S. credit card debt¹
- 196.8 million credit cardholders in the U.S. (or 79% of adults)²
- $5,234 average credit card debt per cardholder in the U.S.³
- $8,750 average credit card debt per U.S. household³
- 14.99% APR average credit card rate on accounts that assess interest¹
Average mortgage debt in the U.S.
Buying a home in cash might sound like a dream — but the cost of a home can leave it just that: a dream. But as necessary as a mortgage may be, how can you tell how much mortgage you can afford?
Review some of the data below to see just where you stand in comparison to the average American carrying a mortgage:
- $14.9 trillion total U.S. mortgage debt⁴
- $338,078 average mortgage size for new purchases⁵
- 4.45% APR average mortgage on a 30-year mortgage⁶
Car loans in the U.S.
Few people are able to buy a car using cash, which makes auto loans a necessity for most. That said, the prices of auto loans have been soaring in the past few years.
In fact, in 2016, total U.S. auto loan debt surpassed $1 trillion and it doesn’t show any signs of letting up. Here’s is where this trend stands as of the end of 2017:
- $1.13 trillion in total U.S. auto loan debt⁷
- $31,099 is the average auto loan amount on a new car
- The average loan term is 69 months on a new car
- The average auto loan payment amount is $515 on a new car
- The average auto loan APR is 5.11% on a new car
Medical debt in the U.S.
A medical emergency or extended illness can wipe out even the strongest of emergency funds. If you’re finding yourself dealing with medical debts you can’t afford, you’re not alone.
Below are some statistics that show how medical debt has grown and where it hits the hardest:
- 42.9 million people have overdue medical debt in the U.S.⁸
- $1,766 average balance owed among people with overdue medical debt
- 25.7% of people under 65 struggle to pay medical bills of more than $2,000⁹
- 12.6% of people under 65 struggle to pay medical bills of $2,000 or less
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- Federal Reserve Consumer Credit Report
- Federal Reserve Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households
- U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts
- Federal Reserve Mortgage Debt Outstanding Report
- Mortgage Bankers Association
- Freddie Mac
- Experian State of the Automotive Finance Market 2017
- Advisory Board
- National Center for Health Statistics
Interested in refinancing your student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Average Savings|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate|