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How much credit card debt do Americans have? It varies by generation

If you’re struggling to pay off credit card debt, you are far from alone: One in three Americans have more credit card debt than savings both in 2023 and 2024, a Bankrate survey shows.

Although inflation is cooling and the job market remains strong, Americans are still having difficulty keeping up with credit card payments. At the end of 2023, Americans had over $1 trillion in credit card balances, a record high, according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

“Credit card and auto loan transitions into delinquency are still rising above pre-pandemic levels,” Wilbert van der Klaauw, economic research advisor at the New York Fed, said in a news release earlier this month. “This signals increased financial stress, especially among younger and lower-income households.”

A woman swipes her credit card in Wal-Mart.

Which is higher? Your credit card debt or emergency savings?

About 36% of U.S. adults reported having more credit card debt than money in an emergency savings account, a recent Bankrate survey found.

Learn more: Best credit cards of 2023

The amount of credit card debt versus emergency savings varies by generation. Millennials and Gen Xers are more likely than other generations to have more credit card debt than emergency savings at their disposal.

“Recognizing that the cost of carrying debt has increased significantly in the past two years and the insufficient level of emergency savings, more Americans are focusing on both paying down debt and boosting emergency savings simultaneously, rather than one to the exclusion of the other,” Bankrate Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride said in a statement.

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