New Upgraded Points Survey Exposes How Reliant Americans Are on Their Credit Cards

MANCHESTER, N.H., Jan. 23, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The average American puts 48% of their purchases on a credit card. Due to rising inflation and increased prices, a new survey by Upgraded Points is revealing how often Americans are using their credit cards and the types of purchases people are making on them. 

“It’s shocking to discover just how reliant we have become on credit cards as a nation,” said Keri Stooksbury, editor-in-chief at Upgraded Points. “Due to the rising cost of living, everyone, from baby boomers to Gen Z, is being affected, with over 50% of credit card purchases being essential expenses like food, gas, medical, and utility bills.”

Key Takeaways:

  • 53% of American credit card purchases are essential items like groceries, gas, and medical bills.
  • Nearly 3 in 4 Americans depend on credit cards to cover emergency expenses.
  • 22% of Americans hit their credit card limit at least once per year – 42% have requested an increase in their credit card limit from their issuer at least once.
  • 3 in 10 Americans say it’s been 2+ years since they didn’t have a credit card balance.
  • 46% of credit card users are not paying their balances in full at the end of each statement period with one-third of Americans (33%) paying $100 or more in credit card interest every month alone.

Study Methodology

Diving into our nation’s spending habits, Upgraded Points surveyed over 5,000 U.S. credit cardholders asking Americans about their reliance on credit cards, balances, requests for increased limits by issuers, what is being purchased, and more.

Credit Card Balances by State

The top 5 states with the highest credit card balances:

  1. New Hampshire$4,485
  2. Maine$4,435
  3. Wisconsin$4,347
  4. Alabama$4,231
  5. Connecticut$4,201

The top 5 states with the lowest credit card balances:

  1. Hawaii$1,502
  2. Washington$1,729
  3. West Virginia$1,763
  4. Tennessee$2,044
  5. Mississippi$2,217

Surprisingly, there is no rhyme or reason based on the cost of living. Hawaii, which has been known for having a very high cost of living, scored the lowest in terms of debt, yet also came in at number 1 for being the most reliant on credit cards at 64.3%, versus Kentucky at just 35.3%.

To read more about this survey and the state-by-state breakdown, visit the complete study.

About Upgraded Points 

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Upgraded Points is a travel company that helps to demystify the complex world of travel and credit cards. Launched in 2016 by Alex Miller, Upgraded Points uses targeted research efforts and in-depth studies to help travelers maximize their travel, points, and experiences. Learn more at:

Alex Miller, Founder

SOURCE Upgraded Points LLC