Get connected with a counselor today!

Press Room

NFCC Consumer Debt Score℠ at 64 For Q3 2023

November 20, 2023

Ability to deal with debt stabilizes for American families as holidays approach

WASHINGTON – As prime holiday shopping season begins, there is a glimmer of hope for millions of Americans who have been struggling with higher prices and debt obligations. The NFCC Consumer Debt Score℠, which gauges how comfortable average Americans are with their level of unsecured debt, saw a moderate decline to 64 during the third quarter of 2023, a sign that more Americans have been able to both create a budget and live within it.

“For only the second time since pandemic-related stimulus payments allowed many families to pay down existing debt, we saw a small but notable decline in consumer financial distress,” said Mike Croxson, CEO of the NFCC. “As families head into the traditional holiday spending season, we urge consumers to stick within their budgets and not take on debt that will create anxiety and stress in the new year. And if you are struggling to pay debts, seek help now from an NFCC-certified credit counselor.”

The NFCC Consumer Debt Score℠ has a baseline of 50, indicating a medium level of distress among consumers about their ability to repay their debts, particularly credit card debt. Even with a decrease from a score of 66 during the second quarter of 2023, the NFCC Consumer Debt Score℠ has risen by 67% since its low in the second quarter of 2021 as many families returned to pre-pandemic routines of shopping, dining out and travel, coupled with record-setting inflation on everyday items such as groceries and gas. This substantial increase highlights a noteworthy change in consumer financial distress over a relatively short period of time.

Americans have more than $1 trillion in credit card debt, according to a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data.

The NFCC Consumer Debt Score℠ offers a quarterly snapshot of Americans’ financial capacity and their ability to repay unsecured debts. The first of its kind, the NFCC Consumer Debt Score℠ utilizes proprietary data provided by member agencies of the NFCC. The score also serves as a predictive tool that, when indexed to U.S. consumer debt levels, provides an indication of anticipated unsecured debt default and its ripple effect on lending default metrics in the coming quarter.

While this is the first public release of the NFCC Consumer Debt Score℠, it utilizes millions of data points going back to the first quarter of 2018. The development of the NFCC Consumer Debt Score℠ was funded by JP Morgan Chase.

“The people who seek help from a credit counselor know they are losing their ability to make ends meet. But we know for every person who seeks help, there are more who are either uncomfortable seeking the help they need or who don’t realize they need help until it’s too late,” Croxson said. “We have found our data serves as a bellwether for how likely it is families will be able to manage their financial obligations in the coming months.”

About The NFCC

Founded in 1951, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) is the oldest nonprofit dedicated to improving people’s financial well-being. With 1,215 NFCC Certified Credit Counselors serving 50 states and all U.S. territories, NFCC nonprofit counselors are financial advocates, empowering millions of consumers to take charge of their finances through one-on-one financial reviews that address credit card debt, student loans, housing decisions, and overall money management. For expert guidance and advice, call (800) 388-2227 or visit