Most Americans Owe Money to at Least Four Different Companies

Although America’s incomes have grown fast in the past decade, most consumers are in personal debt. If you’ve ever been in personal debt for a long period of time you understand the struggle many borrowers are feeling. It’s hard to feel financially free and independent when you owe money to one or more companies. Between credit cards, car loans and the mortgage, there are several companies that you probably owe money to now, even if you’re in a very strong financial position.

So we took a deep dive into the hard numbers around outstanding loans in the U.S. Whether you use a lot of credit or almost none at all, you might be surprised to learn that the average American owes money to at least four different companies.

Loan TypeTotal Outstanding in USAverage # held per household*
Credit cards275,000,000[2]2.36
Car loans107,000,000[3]0.89
Personal loans21,100,000[4]0.18
Student loans43,000,000[5]0.36

*119M Households in the U.S. [6]

Consolidating Debt Can Help Reduce Interest Charges and Stress

If you owe money to five or six different companies, there are options for you. Consolidating debt can save you time on bill payments each month and reduce the overall amount of interest you pay on your loans. Even borrowers with poor credit can apply for a debt consolidation or personal loan to ease the burden. They’re quite common and can be a financially smart move that also reduces the number of companies you owe money to.

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Data sources

American Community Survey, United States Census Bureau, [1]

A Look at U.S. Consumer Credit Card Debt [2]

A record 107 million Americans have car loans [3]

Chamber of Commerce, Personal Loan Statistics [4]

Addressing the 1.5. Trillion in Federal Student Loan Debt [5]

QuickFacts, United States Census Bureau [6]

2020 Average Credit Card Debt Statistics in the U.S. [7]