Credit Card Debt Statistics of Australia 2024

By   |   Updated 22 Mar 2024

We conducted a study from credit card comparison data and compiled the following data on how Australian consumers are using credit cards, their debt and average transactions.

Australia's total credit card debt is approximately $40.99 billion, as theReserve Bank of Australia reported. This figure represents a significant decrease from the high of over $52 billion in 2018.

Currently, less than half of this debt (45%, or $18.5 billion) accrues interest, indicating that most credit card users manage to pay off their spending within the interest-free period provided by their cards.

Key credit card debt statistics

Key credit card debt statistics

  • Total credit card debt in Australia: $40.99 billion
  • Total number of credit card accounts: 13.47 million
  • Average balance per credit card account: $3,043
  • Average monthly credit card repayment: $2,650
  • Average credit card balance being charged interest: $1,374
  • Average value of a credit card transaction: $115
  • Average number of monthly credit card transactions per account: 22.7
  • Average credit card interest rate: 18.05%
  • Average annual credit card fee: $135

Overview of Australian consumer's credit card usage

Australia has 13.4 million active credit card accounts, with 17.6 million credit cards issued. This indicates that multiple cards are often linked to a single account. Australia's adult population is approximately 0.68 credit card accounts per individual or 1.5 per household.

Visa and Mastercard dominate the market, processing 93% of credit card transactions. Though less frequently used, American Express and Diners Club account for a larger share (14.5%) of transaction value and are typically used for higher-priced purchases.

In recent years, the number of credit card accounts has declined by about 20% from the peak in early 2018, influenced by increased mortgage borrowing. David Boyd, co-founder of CreditCardCompare.com.au, explained, "Consumers often reduce their credit card limits or cancel extra cards to enhance their mortgage borrowing capacity."

Credit card debt insights

Australia's average debt per credit card account is $3,043, with the average for interest-accruing balances lower at $1,374. Credit limits average $9,472, showing that most cardholders spend within their limits. Despite a reduction in the total number of accounts, credit card debt levels have remained relatively stable.

The use of credit cards has reached unprecedented levels, with monthly spending soaring to nearly $35 billion, a 20% increase from pre-pandemic figures. Transaction numbers of total credit card debt in Australia is approximately $40.99 billion, as the Reserve Bank of Australia reported that it doubled over the last decade, from an average of 10 monthly transactions per card in 2013 to 22.7 today, leading to a decrease in the average transaction value to $115.

David Boyd attributes this transaction surge to a shift in spending habits, "Consumers are more inclined to use credit cards for small, everyday purchases. However, I expect the average transaction size may increase as international travel resumes and grows further after the pandemic."

Interestingly, while domestic transactions average $115, overseas transactions are higher at $171, despite constituting just over 3% of total credit card spending. Card users making purchases abroad face an average currency conversion fee of 2.58%, though many cards offer no international fees.

Comparative data show credit card usage against debit cards, highlighting a significant volume of transactions and spending across both platforms.

Challenges and solutions for managing credit card debt

Credit cards, accessible and convenient, can lead to significant debt due to their high-interest rates and fees. The average interest rate for credit cards is 18.05% annually, with an average yearly fee of $135.

For those struggling with credit card debt, David Boyd recommends, "If you find yourself in financial hardship or struggling with your debt and need assistance from lenders, you should consider debt refinancing options, including balance transfer credit cards with zero-interest offers, as viable strategies to manage and reduce debt."

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