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How Does Your Debt Compare?

Contributed by mm | January 9, 2004 7:52 AM PST

This MSN Money story offers some astonishing facts about how average Americans use credit.

Credit Cards

- The average cardholder has 2.7 bank credit cards, 3.8 retail credit cards, and 1.1 debit cards. That’s 7.6 cards per cardholder.
- The average household has more than $8,000 in credit card debt, up from about $3,000 in 1990. An $8,000 debt at a rate of 18% interest will take more than 25 years to repay and cost more than $24,000.
- The average interest rate charged by credit cards is 14.71%.
The total unused credit lines for bank credit cards was about $6,185 per person as of mid-year 2002.
- About 40% of active accounts are paid off monthly. About 3% of credit card accounts are past due by 30 days or more each month.
- The most recent Federal Reserve study showed that 43% of U.S. families spent more than they earned. On average, Americans spend $1.22 for each dollar they earn.

Mortgages

- Median years left on mortgage is 29, which means most people have refinanced recently.
- Median outstanding principal is $69,227, or 56.4% of home value
- 1,008,000 homeowners have 3 or more mortgages on the same property.

This article also discussed some other facts about student loans and bankruptcy rate. In summary, an average American is in a much worse debt situation than five or ten years ago. Shall we thank the historically low rate or hate it?

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