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Which States Have the Most Credit Cards?

These days, it’s not uncommon for Americans to have more than one credit card. In fact, Americans are carrying 3.06 credit cards on average, which is a 1% increase compared to 2016. However, some states own more credit cards than the national average.

We’ll take a closer look at which states tend to have the most credit cards per person, but first, let’s consider what people are doing with those cards.

Credit card debt reached a record high for Americans at the end of 2017. The $786 billion in credit card debt tops the previous record of $737 billion in 2008 according to Experian data. That is nearly a 7% increase from 2016 and stokes concerns over a possible credit card bubble.

However, consumers have shown to be spending responsibly as delinquency rates are much lower, 2.26% than the 4.73% rate in 2008 at the height of the recession. Credit card balances have experienced mild growth up 3% in 2017 vs. 2016 and Americans, on average, are paying their bills on time.

Americans’ average credit card balance was $6,354 in 2017.

Now, which states have the most credit cards?

New Jersey Has the Most Credit Cards

New Jersey ranked #1 for owning the most credit cards, 3.49 cards per person (ages 18 and older),  in the US for 2017. New York and Rhode Island ranked #2 and #3 owning 3.34 and 3.26 credit cards respectively. Hawaii ranked fourth with 3.25 cards and California and Connecticut each has 3.23 cards on average.

  • Almost all of the top states, excluding Massachusetts, carried an average credit card balance above the national average of $6,354.
  • The states with the most credit cards still seem to manage their credit responsibly since only three states, Florida, Nevada, and Maryland had a VantageScore below the national average of 675.
  • Nevada was the only state on the list that also ranked among the top 10 states for the highest average delinquency rate, 45%, in 2017.
Highest Average Credit Cards by State
Rank State Avg. Number of Credit Cards Avg. Credit Card Balance
1 New Jersey 3.49 $7,151
2 New York 3.34 $6,671
3 Rhode Island 3.26 $6,375
4 Hawaii 3.25 $6,981
5 California 3.23 $6,481
6 Connecticut 3.23 $7,258
7 Massachusetts 3.21 $6,327
8 Florida 3.19 $6,388
9 Nevada 3.18 $6,401
10 Maryland 3.16 $7,043

Mississippi Has The Least Credit Cards

Mississippi held the fewest number of credit cards, 2.57 cards, in the US for 2017. Iowa and Alabama followed with 2.67 and 2.69 credit cards, respectively. Oklahoma held 2.71 cards ranking fourth while Arkansas came in fifth with 2.76 on average.

  • All of the top-ranked states carried an average credit card balance below the national average of $6,354.
  • Iowa was the only state ranked that had an average credit score, 695, above the national average of 675.
  • Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Louisiana all had average delinquency rates above the 36% national average in 2017.
Lowest Average Credit Cards by State
Rank State Avg. Number of Credit Cards Avg. Credit Card Balance
1 Mississippi 2.57 $5,421
2 Iowa 2.67 $5,155
3 Alabama 2.69 $5,961
4 Oklahoma 2.71 $6,296
5 Arkansas 2.76 $5,660
6 West Virginia 2.76 $5,547
7 Indiana 2.77 $5,581
8 Louisiana 2.77 $6,074
9 Tennessee 2.77 $5,975
10 Kentucky 2.78 $5,555

If you’re thinking about applying for a new credit card, keep in mind that applying for lots of credit cards at the same time can hurt your credit. Learn more about how applying for credit cards can impact your credit here.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication.