NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Americans and Credit Card Debt

Americans and Credit Card Debt


          The recent recession may have led to some Americans tightening their proverbial financial belts but apparently Americans still love their credit cards.

          The average consumer owed more than $4,200 in credit card debt by the end of 2010, according to a report from credit reporting agency Experian. That is down a modest 4% from $4,467 in the previous year, but consumers in certain cities owed a lot more than the national average.

          Residents of San Antonio, Texas, carried the highest balances, with an average $5,177 on their cards – which is more than 21% above the national average.  Cardholders in Jacksonville, Fla. weren't much thriftier, carrying an average $5,115 in credit card debt.

          Atlanta, Honolulu and Dallas-Fort Worth rounded out the five most indebted cities. Out of the 25 cities with the highest levels of credit card debt, nearly all were located in the South.

          Credit card balances in Evansville, Ind., jumped the most during the year -- a whopping 16% -- while residents of Lafayette, La., owed 14.5% more.

          According to Experian, at the same time that consumers continued to rack up debt, they carried fewer cards.  Consumers carried an average of 1.97 cards, down 23% since 2007. That has led cardholders to utilize more than 30% of their total available balance -- up 10% from 2007.

          But not all cities were splurging last year.  Consumers in a handful of cities managed to significantly whittle down their debts. The biggest savers in 2010 were in Fort Wayne, Ind., where credit card balances dropped an average 24%. Meanwhile, residents of El Paso, Texas, and Boise, Idaho reduced their credit card balances by about 14%. 

          Twenty-five cities with the most bankcard debt in December, 2010


San Antonio, Texas - $5,177

Jacksonville, Fla. - $5,115

Atlanta, Ga. - $4,960

Honolulu, Hawaii - $4,939

Dallas, Texas - $4,936

Norfolk, Va. -  $4,925

Seattle, Wash. -  $4,877

Austin, Texas  - $4,791

Richmond, Va. - $4,771

San Diego, Calif.-  $4,673

Baltimore, Md.  - $4,645

Columbus, Ohio - $4,631

Denver, Colo.  - $4,608

Tallahassee, Fla. -  $4,605

Colorado Springs, Colo. - $4,601

Las Vegas, Nev. $4,599

Washington, D.C.  -$4,598

Augusta, Ga. - $4,575

Reno, Nev.-  $4,575

Spokane, Wash. - $4,572

Savannah, Ga. - $4,570

Phoenix, Ariz. - $4,559

Miami, Fla. - $4,555

Montgomery, Ala.-  $4,532

Orlando, Fla. - $4,525


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