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  • Writer's pictureDonnelle Brooks

Average Household Credit Card Debt in Australia

In the dynamic world of personal finances, one topic that frequently emerges as a point of concern is credit card debt. For Australians, understanding the nuances of average household credit card debt is essential for maintaining financial stability. In this article, we'll delve into the key insights surrounding this topic, shedding light on the current scenario, factors influencing debt levels, and strategies for managing credit effectively.

The Current Landscape: Average Household Credit Card Debt

As of May 2023, the average household credit card debt in Australia stands at $3018 according to Finder. This figure provides a snapshot of the collective credit card obligations faced by Australian households. However, it's important to note that this average can vary significantly based on factors such as socio-economic status, location, and individual spending habits.

The number of credit cards in circulation is falling, possible due to the rise of other credit options, such as Buy Now Pay Later and debit cards that function as credit cards used to for online purchases.

Factors Influencing Credit Card Debt Levels

Several factors contribute to the fluctuation in average household credit card debt across Australia:

Economic Conditions

Economic fluctuations and periods of financial uncertainty can impact consumers' ability to repay credit card balances promptly, leading to an increase in debt levels.

Interest Rates

Fluctuations in interest rates directly affect the cost of carrying credit card balances. Higher interest rates can lead to increased debt accumulation if not managed effectively.

Consumer Behaviour

Spending habits play a pivotal role in credit card debt accumulation. Overspending, lack of budgeting, and impulsive purchases can all contribute to higher debt levels.

Income Disparities

Socio-economic differences can result in varying debt levels. Households with lower incomes might rely more on credit cards for essential expenses, contributing to higher debt burdens.

Managing Credit Card Debt: Strategies for Financial Wellness

While credit card debt is a common financial challenge, there are effective strategies to manage and reduce it:


Creating a detailed budget that outlines income and expenses can help identify areas where overspending occurs. Allocating funds to pay off credit card debt systematically is essential.

Prioritizing Payments

Paying more than the minimum required amount can significantly reduce the interest accrued on credit card balances. Prioritize higher interest debts first to minimize overall cost.


Consolidating multiple high-interest credit card balances into a single loan with a lower interest rate can simplify repayments and save on interest costs.

Negotiating with Creditors

If facing financial hardship, consider contacting your credit card issuer to negotiate a repayment plan. They might offer temporary relief or restructuring options.

Avoiding Impulse Spending

Before making a purchase, take a moment to assess whether it's a necessity or an impulse. Practicing mindful spending can prevent unnecessary debt accumulation.

Looking Ahead: Financial Empowerment

Understanding the average household credit card debt in Australia and its underlying factors empowers individuals and families to make informed financial decisions. By adopting responsible credit card management practices, setting up effective budgets, and being mindful of spending habits, Australians can work towards reducing debt burdens and achieving financial wellness.

What Happens to Credit Card Debt When You Die in Australia?

The topic of credit card debt and its implications upon one's passing can be a sensitive and important consideration for many Australians. When an individual passes away, their assets and liabilities, including credit card debt, are typically addressed through a legal process known as estate administration. In this article, we will explore the course of action that takes place in Australia regarding credit card debt after someone's death.

The Estate and Executor Role

Upon the death of an individual, their estate is the collective term for their assets, possessions, and debts. An executor, often named in the deceased's will, is responsible for overseeing the distribution of these assets and settling debts, including credit card balances.

Addressing Credit Card Debt

Executor's Role

The executor's primary responsibility is to locate and manage the deceased's assets, pay off debts, and distribute the remaining estate to beneficiaries as outlined in the will. This includes addressing credit card debt.

Notification of Death

Once informed of the death, credit card issuers should be contacted as a part of the administrative process. They will require a death certificate and relevant information to confirm the death.

Access to Funds

While the estate is being settled, funds from the deceased's accounts might be frozen until the executor gains access to manage financial affairs.

Debt Settlement

Credit card debt is generally paid off from the deceased's estate before distributing assets to beneficiaries. If the estate lacks sufficient funds to cover all debts, certain assets might need to be sold to settle these obligations.

Joint Accounts and Guarantors

In cases where the credit card account is held jointly with another individual, such as a spouse, the surviving account holder may become solely responsible for the debt. Similarly, if someone has acted as a guarantor for the credit card debt, they might be held liable for repayment.

Exceptions and Considerations

There are instances where credit card debt might not necessarily be passed on to the estate:

Deceased's Estate Insolvent

If the estate lacks enough assets to cover all debts, including credit card balances, these debts might be written off. However, certain laws and regulations vary by state.

Joint Accounts with Survivorship

In cases of joint accounts with a "joint with survivorship" designation, the surviving account holder may continue to use the credit card without becoming responsible for the deceased's share of the debt.

Seeking Legal and Financial Guidance

Given the complexities surrounding credit card debt and estate administration, it's recommended that individuals seek professional legal and financial advice. Consulting with a solicitor or financial advisor can help ensure the correct steps are taken, legal requirements are met, and the estate is administered appropriately.

So, my credit card debt doesn't disappear when I die?

In Australia, credit card debt is generally addressed as part of the estate administration process after an individual's passing. The executor plays a pivotal role in settling debts, including credit card balances, using the assets from the deceased's estate. It's essential to be well-informed about the legal procedures involved and to seek expert guidance to navigate this process smoothly and responsibly. So yeah, don't spend up big in the hopes that the slate will be wiped clean.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, the landscape of credit card debt in Australia is influenced by economic conditions, consumer behaviour, and various other factors. With the right knowledge and strategies, individuals can take charge of their financial journey and pave the way for a more secure and prosperous future. Credit Cards can be a tool in managing your finances, but try not to rely on them too heavily.

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