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LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

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Credit card surveys, statistics and research

LendingTree regularly conducts proprietary, anonymized, research from its millions of customers, as well as through polling, government and financial services data to study consumer attitudes and trends regarding spending, card usage and debt, which we share with our readers and the media.

To see the latest credit card statistics, which tracks credit card APR trends, how much credit card debt Americans are carrying, including card debt amounts broken down by states, click on the story below.

Frequently asked questions

When approved for a regular, unsecured credit card, you are given a credit line from which you can borrow funds and then repay them. Because you borrow money as you spend, rather than borrowing a set amount of money at one time like you would with a loan, credit cards are considered “revolving credit.”

When it comes to paying off your debt, you have the option of paying off what you charge to the card in full each month, making just the required minimum payment (which is a portion of your balance plus interest and any fees) or paying an amount somewhere in between. If you pay less than the full balance, you’ll owe interest on the debt that’s carried over to the next month, as well on any new charges you make to the card.

When you handle credit cards responsibly — by paying on time every time and not racking up or revolving a large balance — that account activity is reporting to the credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), which then feeds that information into an algorithm that becomes your credit score. Harmful practices, such as paying late, maxing out your card or even not using a card at all, will also be reported to the credit bureaus and could end up damaging your credit score.

Most credit cards require a certain credit score level for you to qualify. The higher your credit score, the more cards you’ll qualify for and the better terms you’ll receive.
Before applying for a credit card, you should check your score so you know where you stand. Once you know your credit score, you’ll have a better idea of what type of credit cards you could qualify for, which will help narrow down your choices.
For example, those with very good to excellent credit scores (740 – 850) may qualify for the best cashback or travel rewards cards, while those with fair or poor credit scores (580 – 669) should focus on credit cards designed for those seeking to build or rebuild their credit (secured or student cards).

Having at least one credit card is essential, especially if you shop online, need to rent a car or buy an airline ticket. However, to build a solid credit score, experts recommend you carry at least two from different networks (American Express, Visa, Mastercard or Discover) in case you encounter a merchant who doesn’t accept cards from a certain network.
According to a survey from the credit bureau Experian, the average American has three credit cards. If your credit score is in great shape, you can benefit from using a cashback rewards card for everyday purchases and a travel rewards card that can help you offset future travel purchases. Plus, having multiple lines of credit that are being handled responsibly helps to build a good credit score, and shows potential lenders that you are a good risk.
However, if juggling multiple cards causes you stress and ends up in missed payments and high balances, then sticking to one card is best.

Getting into credit card debt is easy; getting out of it is much harder. If you find that you’re not making much headway paying off what you owe, it’s time to make a plan. The first step, of course, is to stop adding to your balances. There are numerous ways to attack spiraling card debt, including:

  • Apply for a balance transfer card offering 0% interest for a specified period of time. This will allow you to avoid interest charges during the promotional period and have 100% of your payment be applied to your debt. Read our roundup of The Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards.
  • Adopt either the snowball or avalanche method of repaying your debt. The snowball method involves focusing your efforts to repay the card with the smallest balance first while continuing to make minimum payments on other cards. Once that card is paid off, you focus on the next card with the smallest balance. The avalanche method involves devoting the most repayment to the card with the highest interest rate first, then ones paid off, focusing on the next card with the highest APR.

These aren’t the only options you have when digging out of debt. You can take out a personal loan, borrow from your 401(k), borrow against any equity you have in your home, and more.


LendingTree will help you find your best credit card

Helping consumers find their right credit card is our goal. LendingTree has a team of seasoned credit card experts who examine and present the pros and cons of different types of credit cards, including any loyalty programs, terms and conditions and benefits. We offer the tools and information you need to make the best choice for your credit background, spending preferences and financial goals.

If you choose to apply for a card through our site with which we have an affiliate relationship, then we may recent a commission. However, not all the cards we cover have a LendingTree partnership.

Whether you have excellent credit, are looking to rebuild your credit or want cashback or travel rewards, there is a credit card that will fit your needs.