The personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2020’s Cities with the Least-Sustainable Credit Card Debt in addition to its latest Credit Card Debt Study. The debt picture is worrisome nationwide, as WalletHub found that consumers racked up $21.5 billion in credit card debt from June through September, sending outstanding debt to an all-time record level for the third quarter of a year.
But some cities are in a worse position than others. WalletHub’s researchers drew upon data from TransUnion, the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Census Bureau and WalletHub’s proprietary credit card payoff calculator to determine the cost and time required to repay the median credit card balance in more than 2,500 U.S. cities. Below, you can find a handful of highlights from these reports.
|Cities with the Least-Sustainable Credit Card Debt|
|Park City, UT|
|Lake Placid, FL|
|Ewa Beach, HI|
|Green Cove Springs, FL|
|Hilton Head Island, SC|
|Cities with the Most-Sustainable Credit Card Debt|
|Mountain View, CA|
|Foster City, CA|
|Los Altos, CA|
|Santa Clara, CA|
|Palo Alto, CA|
|Falls Church, VA|
- Clarkston, Georgia, has the lowest median credit card debt, at $1,003, eight times lower than Darien, Connecticut, which has the highest median credit card debt ($8,051).
- Cupertino, California, has the shortest debt payoff timeline, at 12 months and 8 days, 11.3 times shorter than Jacksonville, North Carolina, whose timeline of 138 months and 17 days is the nation’s longest.
- We began the year owing more than $1 trillion in credit card debt, and WalletHub projects that we will end 2019 with $80 billion more in credit card debt than we started with.
- The best balance transfer credit cards currently offer 0% APRs for the first 15-21 months with no annual fee and balance transfer fees as low as zero. Such deals likely will not be around for too much longer.
Q&A with WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou
What do the latest credit card debt statistics tell us about the health of U.S. consumers?
“The $21.5 billion in credit card debt that U.S. consumers added to their tab during the third quarter pushed outstanding balances to a record high for this time of year, at $1.023 trillion. We are in a very unhealthy, precarious position when respect to revolving debt at the household level,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “The third quarter’s results also make the final few months of the year even scarier, given that this is when people tend to rack up the most debt.”
How will credit card debt levels look after Q4 data comes in?
“WalletHub is projecting a $80 billion net increase in credit card debt for 2019. That would push the average household’s balance to $9,451 and bring our collective credit card debt to roughly $1.1 trillion,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “For context, $1.1 trillion is roughly three times as much as the federal government will spend on net interest payments toward the national debt this year.”
What advice do you have for people trying to get out from under credit card debt?
“People trying to get out from under credit card debt should start by making a plan to pay off as much as they can afford each month in order to get debt-free as quickly as possible. Simply having a plan will make the task more digestible. Plus, the interest on credit card debt compounds daily, and typically accrues at a pretty high rate compared to finance charges on other types of debt. So the longer you wait to pay it off, the more expensive it becomes,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “People also shouldn’t forget about the income side of the equation when approaching debt problems. Taking steps to control costs – like brewing your own coffee, bringing lunch to work, etc. – are helpful, to be sure. But it might be more efficient for some people to supplement their income instead, for example.”