Consumer Credit Card Market Report, 2023 (2024)

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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Consumer credit card market report.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) is issuing its sixth biennial Consumer Credit Card Market Report to Congress. The report reviews developments in this consumer market since the CFPB's most recent biennial report on the same subject in 2021.

The CFPB released the 2023 Consumer Credit Card Market Report on its website on October 25, 2023.

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Wei Zhang, Deputy Assistant Director, Consumer Credit, Payments, and Deposits Markets, Division of Research, Monitoring, and Regulations at ((202) 435–7700 or, or Margaret Seikel, Financial Analyst, Division of Research, Monitoring, and Regulations ( If you require this document in an alternative electronic format, please contact

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1.1 Background

In 2009, Congress passed the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD Act or Act).[1] The Act made substantial changes to the credit card market. The CARD Act mandated new disclosures and underwriting standards, curbed certain fees, and restricted interest rate increases on existing balances. Among the CARD Act's many provisions was a requirement that the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board) report every two years on the state of the consumer credit card market. With the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) in 2010, that requirement transferred to the CFPB alongside broader responsibility for administering most of the CARD Act's provisions. This is the sixth report published pursuant to that obligation, building on prior reports published by the CFPB in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2021.[2]

1.2 Publication

In addition to being delivered to Congress, the full report is available to the public on the CFPB's website at​f/​documents/​cfpb_​consumer-credit-card-market-report_​2023.pdf.

1.3 Summary of Report

The full 2023 report reviews the state of the consumer credit card market as of the end of 2022. In addition to mandating the CFPB's biennial review and report on the market, the Act also requires the CFPB to “solicit comment from consumers, credit card issuers, and other interested parties” in connection with its review.[3] As in past years, the CFPB has done so through a Request for Information (RFI) published in the Federal Register , and the CFPB discusses specific evidence or arguments provided by commenters throughout the report.[4]

This study represents the CFPB's sixth biennial report on the state of the consumer credit card market and continues the approach of the CFPB's previous reports. The CFPB revisits similar baseline indicators to track key market developments and consumer risks as well as the adequacy of consumer protections. Throughout this report, we continue to examine trends by card type and credit score tier, but further segment consumers with the highest scores into two new groups, prime plus (720 to 799) and superprime (800 and above). In a new section, this report examines the market dynamics, concentration, and profitability of the credit card industry in detail, complementing other regulators' examination of the safety and soundness of card issuers. We explore new topics that have become more important as the market continues to evolve. For example, the current report explores the prevalence and cost of installment plan features and the dollar value of credit card rewards. Additionally, we discuss issuer practices related to dispute resolution, minimum payments, and servicemember rate reductions.

Use of Credit

Use of credit: Credit card debt at the end of 2022 surpassed $1 trillion for the first time in our data, but total outstandings remain below pre-pandemic levels when adjusted for inflation. Spending grew to new highs of $846 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022. At the same time, total payments rose, and cardholders paid significantly more of their monthly balances with a greater share of accounts entirely paid off each month. Delinquency and charge-off rates in 2022 were at lower levels than 2019 but increasing, presumably rising with the expiration of COVID–19 related financial relief.

Overall market size and structure: Nearly 4,000 issuers, together with dozens of co-brand merchant partners and four major networks, provide cards to over 190 million consumers. The top ten credit card issuers still represent over four-fifths of consumer credit card loans, but the next 20 biggest issuers' market share has grown since 2016.

Competition and profitability: For companies involved in credit card issuance, servicing, and debt collection, the industry remains profitable. Issuers' profitability fell in 2020 but spiked in 2021 and remained at or above 2019-levels in 2022 with an average return on assets of six percent for general purpose cards and two percent on private label portfolios. Point-of-sale; Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL); and fintech personal loans as well as “pay-by-bank” options increasingly compete with traditional credit cards for purchase volume and balances.

Cost of credit: By some measures, credit cards have never been this expensive, as issuers charged more than $130 billion in interest and fees in 2022 alone. By the end of 2022, interest and fees as an annualized percentage of balances, or the total cost of credit, was almost 18 percent on general purpose cards and over 21 percent on private label accounts. Many cardholders with subprime scores are now paying 30 to 40 cents in interest and fees per dollar borrowed each year. Federal Reserve rate increases triggered upward repricing on most general purpose cards, and issuers continue to price well above the prime rate, with an average annual percentage rate (APR) margin of 15.4 percentage points. Fee volume now exceeds pre-pandemic levels. Annual Start Printed Page 75279 fees grew in 2021 and 2022, while late fees returned to 2019 levels at $14.5 billion as did the cardholder cost of balance transfers and cash advances.

Rewards: The dollar value of rewards earned by general purpose cardholders exceeded $40 billion for mass market issuers in 2022. Transacting accounts, or those where the cardholder pays the full statement balance each month, are increasingly benefitting from credit card use. But, when a consumer revolves a balance on their credit card, the cost of interest and fees almost always exceeds the value of rewards the consumer may have earned. Cardholders' rewards redemptions have increased, but consumers still forfeit hundreds of millions of dollars in rewards value each year.

New features and products: Installment plan features which permit cardholders to convert a credit card purchase to a lower-cost, fixed-rate loan comprise a small but growing segment of the market designed to compete with BNPL. These issuer plans often offer lower finance charges than on revolving debt, but consumers may struggle to make higher monthly payments. “Credit card-as-a-service” platforms from fintechs to traditional banks have streamlined co-brand partnerships to improve user experience and offer novel rewards with smaller retailers. Some issuers are now approving consumers with only soft inquires on consumers' credit reports; others are underwriting consumers without credit scores using new datasets and modeling techniques outside the traditional credit reporting system. Issuers are providing cardholders with more flexible repayment terms and new payment options, including through a growing number of digital wallets.

Persistent debt: With the average minimum payment due increasing to over $100 on revolving general purpose accounts in 2022, more users are incurring late fees and facing higher costs on growing debt. We find one in ten general purpose accounts are charged more in interest and fees than they pay toward the principal each year, indicating a pattern of persistent indebtedness that could become increasingly difficult for some consumers to escape. Public relief programs in 2020 and 2021 enabled some consumers to pay down credit card balances, but the number of cardholders facing persistent debt has begun to climb.

Availability of credit: Most measures of credit card availability grew in 2021 and 2022 after a sharp decrease in access during 2020. Application volume for general purpose credit cards reached a new peak in 2022, as issuers increased acquisition efforts and consumer demand grew. For retail cards, in contrast, application volume fell from 2020 to 2022. Approval rates more than rebounded for all card types. The recent upticks in marketing, applications, and approvals led to significant growth in credit card originations in 2021 with even more activity in 2022. Consumers with below-prime scores opened more than 80 million new credit card accounts in 2021 and 2022 combined compared to 63 million over the two year period from 2019 through 2020. Total credit line across all consumer credit cards increased to over $5 trillion in 2022 but remained below 2017 levels in real terms. After declining in 2020, issuers initiated credit line increases more frequently in 2021 and 2022 than they did prior to the pandemic but decreased lines or closed accounts at rates similar to those seen over the past decade.

Disputes: Credit card disputes spiked with pandemic-related cancellations and supply chain issues in mid-2020, declined in 2021, but then rose in 2022 as spending grew. Disputed transaction volume for mass market issuers was up 50 percent from 2019 levels to almost $10 billion in 2022, and chargebacks increased more than 80 percent from $3.2 billion to $5.9 billion.

Account servicing: Cardholders increasingly use and service their cards through digital portals, including those accessed via mobile devices. Three in four general purpose accountholders are now enrolled in issuers' mobile apps, and adoption is increasing, notably for those under 65. The use of automatic payments has likewise continued to climb. New artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML) technologies are changing how providers service accounts, but concerns regarding the use and sharing of consumer data remain significant, particularly among older cardholders.

Debt collection: Compared to prior surveys, the use of email in collections continued to increase in 2022, with consumers opening about one-third of messages. Issuers seemed to leverage the text messaging (or SMS) channel significantly more in 2022 than in prior years with a relatively low opt-out rate at 1.3 percent. New enrollments in loss mitigation programs and total inventory in those programs declined. Post-charge-off settlements fell significantly from their previous peaks during the pandemic. All issuers who sold debt reported deleting the charged-off tradelines from credit reports upon sale, potentially resulting in an incomplete view of consumers' debt burden, likelihood of default, and history in the credit reporting system.

Throughout this report, we highlight potential areas of concern in the consumer credit card market. Given rising balances and credit costs, more cardholders may struggle to pay their credit card bill on time, especially with amounts past-due, overlimit, or under an installment plan added to the minimum payment due. As such, the CFPB will continue to monitor assessments of late fees, reliance upon penalty repricing, and debt collection practices, alongside the disclosure of minimum payments in accordance with CARD Act requirements. Issuers' margins are increasing as they price APRs further above the prime rate, potentially signaling a lack of price competition. Instead, companies offer more generous rewards and sign-up bonuses to win new accounts, largely benefitting those with higher scores who pay their balances in full each month. The CFPB will explore ways to promote comparison shopping on purchase APRs—a major cost of credit cards that is often unknown to consumers prior to card issuance. We will also monitor changes in rewards value if issuers look to cut costs in response to lower revenue. We encourage new entrants—both bank and non-bank—to work on providing consumers with more transparency, better experiences, and greater access to credit, so long as they comply with existing consumer finance laws.

1.4 Current and Future CFPB Work in This Market

Over the past two years, the CFPB has been actively engaged in the credit card market and has taken measures to address regulatory uncertainty, identify compliance deficiencies, and research new, emerging technologies and products to ensure the adequacy of consumer protection and a transparent and competitive marketplace for all consumers. The CFPB is continuing to study and consider actions to address the areas of concern noted in the full report. Aside from a current rulemaking related to credit card penalty fees, however, the CFPB is not currently proposing to add or revise regulations related to the topics covered in the 2023 Consumer Credit Card Market Report.

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Rohit Chopra,

Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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1.  The Act superseded a number of earlier regulations that had been finalized, but had not yet become effective, by the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board). Those earlier rules were announced in December of 2008 and published in the Federal Register the following month. See74 FR 5244 (Jan. 29, 2009); 74 FR 5498 (Jan. 29, 2009). The rules were withdrawn in light of the CARD Act. See75 FR 7657, 75 FR 7925 (Feb. 22, 2010).

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2.   See CFPB, Card Act Report (Oct. 1, 2013) (2013 Report),​f/​201309_​cfpb_​card-act-report.pdf; CFPB, The Consumer Credit Card Market (Dec. 2015) (2015 Report),​f/​201512_​cfpb_​report-the-consumer-credit-card-market.pdf; CFPB, The Consumer Credit Card Market (Dec. 2017) (2017 Report),​f/​documents/​cfpb_​consumer-credit-card-market-report_​2017.pdf; CFPB, The Consumer Credit Card Market (Aug. 2019) (2019 Report),​f/​documents/​cfpb_​consumer-credit-card-market-report_​2019.pdf; CFPB, The Consumer Credit Card Market (Sept. 2021) (2021 Report),​f/​documents/​cfpb_​consumer-credit-card-market-report_​2021.pdf. The Bureau also held a conference in 2011 in which numerous market stakeholders contributed information and perspective on developments in the credit card market. See Press Release, Bureau of Consumer Fin. Prot., CFPB Launches Public Inquiry on the Impact of the Card Act (Dec. 19, 2012),​about-us/​newsroom/​consumer-financial-protection-bureau-launches-public-inquiry-on-the-impact-of-the-card-act.

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3.  15 U.S.C. 1616(b) (2012).

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4.  RFI Regarding Consumer Credit Card Market, 88 FR 5313 (Jan. 27, 2022).

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[FR Doc. 2023–24132 Filed 11–1–23; 8:45 am]


Consumer Credit Card Market Report, 2023 (2024)


What is the average credit card debt per person in 2023? ›

Average American Credit Card Debt

However, according to Transunion, this figure rose from $5,795 in January 2023 to $6,295 in January 2024. The average credit card interest rate on accounts with balances that assessed interest was 22.75% in November 2023, according to the Federal Reserve.

What are the new rules for credit cards in 2023? ›

The Credit Card Competition Act is a bipartisan bill that, according to its backers, is intended to break up what they view as a Visa-Mastercard duopoly. It would require large banks to allow more choice in terms of what payment network can be used for processing transactions that involve their credit cards.

How do credit card companies make the most profit from _______________ responses? ›

Key takeaways. Credit card companies generate most of their income through interest charges, cardholder fees and transaction fees paid by businesses that accept credit cards.

What is the rejection rate for credit card applications? ›

Rejection Rates:

The average rejection rate for credit card applications during 2023 increased by 1.1 percentage points to 19.6%. The average rejection rate of mortgage applications decreased by 2.5 percentage points to 12.1% in 2023, remaining above the 2019 rate of 10.2%.

How many people have $50,000 in credit card debt? ›

Running up $50,000 in credit card debt is not impossible. About two million Americans do it every year.

How many Americans are debt free? ›

What percentage of America is debt-free? According to that same Experian study, less than 25% of American households are debt-free. This figure may be small for a variety of reasons, particularly because of the high number of home mortgages and auto loans many Americans have.

What is the 7 year rule on credit cards? ›

Although the unpaid debt will go on your credit report and have a negative impact on your score, the good news is that it won't last forever. After seven years, unpaid credit card debt falls off your credit report. The debt doesn't vanish completely, but it'll no longer impact your credit score.

What is the golden rule of credit cards? ›

The golden rule of credit card use is to pay your balances in full each month. “My best advice is to use a credit card like a debit card — paying in full to avoid interest but taking advantage of credit cards' superior rewards programs and buyer protections,” says Rossman.

What is the average credit score in america 2023? ›

The average FICO Score in the United States was 715 in 2023, according to Experian data, increasing by one point from its 714 average in the third quarter (Q3) of 2022.

Do credit card companies like when you pay in full? ›

While the term “deadbeat” generally carries a negative connotation, when it comes to the credit card industry, you should consider it a compliment. Card issuers refer to customers as deadbeats if they pay off their balance in full each month, avoiding interest charges and fees on their accounts.

How do credit card companies trick you? ›

Using Geolocation Tracking

Credit card companies and banks generally use software to extract geolocation data and leverage it for information like the malicious user's time zone, internet service provider (ISP), and exact location of the fraudster at the time of the fraudulent purchase.

Can credit card companies see how much you make? ›

In addition to your contact information and household bills, credit card applications ask for your annual or monthly income. Card issuers use this information, along with your credit reports and credit scores, to decide whether to approve your application.

Is it bad if I apply for a credit card and get denied? ›

Can getting denied for a credit card hurt your credit score? No, a credit card denial does not affect your credit. However, you might see a slight drop in your credit score due to the hard credit inquiry associated with your credit card application.

Will my credit score go down if my credit card application is rejected? ›

The lender's approval or rejection decision makes no difference to your credit scores. But if a rejection leads you to apply for more cards, that would mean more hard inquiries. And multiple hard inquiries over a short period could have more of an impact on credit scores.

Why do I get denied for every credit card? ›

Having too many credit accounts: Having too many accounts in a short period is a common reason for the rejection of credit card applications. If you have had multiple credit accounts in the past 24 months, it's often a reason for automatic rejection.

What is the average amount of credit card debt a person has? ›

What is the average credit card debt? The average American household owes $7,951 in credit card debt a year, according to 2022 data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the U.S. Census Bureau.

How much debt is the average American in 2023? ›

Key household debt figures
Average household debt, 2023$104,215
Total credit card debt, Q4 2023$1.129 trillion
Average credit card debt, Q3 2023$6,501
Total mortgage debt, Q4 2023$12.252 trillion
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Apr 2, 2024

How much credit card debt do people usually have? ›

The average American household now owes $7,951 in credit card debt, according to the most recent data available from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the U.S. Census Bureau. But that's just the average.

What percent of 18 year olds have more than $1000 in credit card debt? ›

Young Americans and Credit Card Debt by the Numbers

Younger consumers and those newer to owning a credit card are not exempt from credit card debt. According to the GOBankingRates survey, 28% of Americans under the age of 24 have over $1,000 in credit card debt.

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