FinHealth Spend Research 2021

The FinHealth Spend Research estimates what U.S. households pay in interest and fees for common financial services every year. The majority of U.S. households were struggling financially before COVID-19, and the pandemic added pressures that affected access to everyday financial products. This report analyzes how the hundreds of billions Americans spent on interest and fees in 2020 varied by race, income, and other demographic factors, with specific insights into the increased burdens borne by financially struggling consumers.

FinHealth Spend Research 2021

Key Takeaways

In 2020, financially struggling households represented 84% of total U.S. spending on fees and interest for everyday financial services, despite comprising just 64% of the population.

Effects of the Pandemic

Several markets contracted, including credit cards, single payment credit products, and subprime auto financing.

Largest Spending Drivers

Financially Coping and Vulnerable households spent $63 billion on used auto loans and $90 billion in interest and fees on general purpose credit cards.

Inequities by Race and Ethnicity

Black households were 2.7 times more likely to use pawn loans and 3.8 times more likely to use payday loans than White households. Latinx households were 3.1 times more likely to use payday loans than White households.

Inequities by Income

Low-to-moderate income households were seven times more likely to use pawn loans and, among checking account holders, 1.8 times more likely to have overdrafted than higher-income households.

spending graphic

What Is Financial Health?

FinHealth Spend Report 2021 applies the Financial Health Network’s unique approach to evaluating and measuring financial health. Learn more about how we define this key concept.

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FinHealth Spend 2021 Resources

Explore the full 2021 report and view supplemental resources for additional insights.

FinHealth Spend Report 2021

With this report – an evolution of our Financially Underserved Market Size Study – we shed light on how much households paid for a variety of everyday financial products and services in 2020, through lenses of financial health, income, race, and ethnicity.

2021 FinHealth Spend Report Shows Financially Coping and Vulnerable Households Spent $255B for Everyday Financial Services

Chicago, IL, April 20, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Financial Health Network, the nation’s authority on financial health, in partnership with Prudential Financial, today released The FinHealth Spend Report 2021, the evolution of our annual market sizing report showing Financially Coping and Vulnerable households account for 84% of spending on fees and interest for financial […]

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Our Supporter

This report was made possible through the financial support of Prudential Financial. 

About FinHealth Spend Research

Learn how FinHealth Spend Research has evolved since 2011, and see how it has helped drive positive changes for real Americans across demographic groups.

Visit the Overview Page


Elaine Golden

Senior Associate, Research
Financial Health Network

Hannah Gdalman

Senior Associate, Financial Services Solutions
Financial Health Network

Meghan Greene

Director, Research
Financial Health Network

Necati Celik

Senior Associate, Data
Financial Health Network

Stephen Arves

Manager, Data
Financial Health Network