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Personal Finance Reports

Credit Card Debt After The Holidays: Survey Finds $998 Average Balance

In January, LendEDU conducted a survey of 1,000 Americans who went into credit card debt as a result of holiday spending.

In short, we found that our average respondent accumulated $998.36 of debt after splurging for the festivities. 

Respondents were asked a series of questions about their credit card spending during the holidays, debt payoff plans, and post-holiday financial stress.

The holidays can be a stressful time. And, the time after the holidays can be even more stressful if you are one of the many Americans in financial recovery. In our previous survey ahead of the holidays, we found that nearly a quarter of Americans were planning on incurring debt as a result of holiday spending.

With this new poll, LendEDU found that the majority of the Americans were expecting to go into credit card debt as a result of holiday spending. Our respondents were largely stressed and expected to take an average of 10.28 months to repay their credit card balances that they had accumulated over the most wonderful time of the year.

Survey Questions and Raw Data

1. By how much did your current credit card debt balance increase due to holiday spending? Note: Holiday spending includes all expenses related to gifts, travel, decorations, food/drink, and all other related expenses.

We found that the average respondent’s current credit card balance increased by $998.36.

2. How many months do you think it is going to take you to repay the credit card debt you accumulated as a result of holiday spending?

We found that the average respondent reported 10.28 months until expected debt payoff.

3. Were you expecting to increase your credit card debt balance as a result of holiday spending?

a. 70.90% of respondents answered “Yes”

b. 20.10% of respondents answered “No”

c. 9.00% of respondents answered “Unsure”​

4. Are you experiencing stress due to credit card debt that resulted from holiday spending?

a. 56.80% of respondents answered “Yes”

b. 37.60% of respondents answered “No”

c. 5.60% of respondents answered “Unsure”​

5. Did you accumulate credit card debt on a store-branded credit card as a result of holiday spending?

a. 52.60% of respondents answered “Yes”

b. 47.40% of respondents answered “No”

6. Are you planning to restructure or refinance your credit card debt by using a personal loan, balance transfer, or other credit product?

a. 21.50% of respondents answered “Yes”

b. 59.00% of respondents answered “No”

c. 19.50% of respondents answered “Unsure”​

7. Do you regret getting into additional credit card debt as a result of holiday spending?

a. 42.30% of respondents answered “Yes”

b. 49.80% of respondents answered “No”

c. 7.90% of respondents answered “Unsure”​

Insights and Graphics

Consumers Expected Credit Card Debt

In our third question, we wanted to determine if consumers were anticipating credit card debt as a result of holiday spending. 

Consumers Are Stressed With Mixed Feelings of Regret

In our fourth question, we asked consumers if they are experiencing stress as a result of their post-holiday credit card debt.

We followed-up in question seven by asking if consumers regretted getting into additional credit card debt.

Stored Branded Credit Card Debt is Problematic

Consumers often fall victim to very high interest rates charged on store branded credit cards as compared to the average. The interest rates charged on store branded credit cards are as high as 29.99%. And unfortunately, we found that the majority of our respondents did accumulate debt on a store branded credit card.

More Consumers Should Think About Restructuring

If you accumulate credit card debt, there are options available to you. It is common practice for consumers to refinance credit card debt using a personal loan or balance transfer credit card. The interest savings could be meaningful with the average credit card interest rate of 15.59%. However, we found that many consumers are not aware of the potential savings.

As of January 2018, the best personal loan rates are as low as 2.49% for creditworthy consumers. And, January is a popular time for consumers to find promotional balance transfer offers with credit cards. 


This poll was commissioned by LendEDU and conducted online by polling company Pollfish. In total, 1,000 American consumers ages 18 and up were polled. We instructed Pollfish to screen for consumers who reported having accumulated a credit card balance as a result of holiday spending. The poll was conducted over a two-day span from January 5th, 2018 to January 6th, 2018.

LendEDU was not compensated by a third-party for running this survey.

See more of LendEDU’s Research