The New York state comptroller’s office just released information about credit card debt in the United States. The four states with the highest populations had the most overall credit card debt in 2017. California, the most populous state in the union, also holds the dubious distinction of the state with the most credit card debt with a total of $106.8 billion. This is approximately $39.5 billion more than second-place Texas, who holds a total of $67.3 billion in credit card debt.
While California holds the most credit card debt overall, it rounds out the top ten when it comes to average debt at $3,420 per capita. The national per capita average for credit card debt is $3,100. Alaska is the state with the highest average credit card debt per capita at $4,270.
Credit card debt is the most common method for consumer borrowing, according to the report. In 2017, there were nearly 470 million open credit card accounts with available credit through those accounts totaling $3.5 trillion. Outstanding balances totaled $834 million, according to the report.
The report also discusses interest rates and how consumers should be aware of the real costs of interest and fees. This is especially important if their level of debt is rising and they carry a balance over an extended period. The average total cost of credit in 2016 was 14 percent. This can be even higher for private label credit cards. Private label cards can only be used at one store or vendor or a small group of vendors. Unfortunately, consumers with low credit scores now hold more debt on those higher-cost private label cards than they did before the recession in 2008.
To avoid unmanageable credit card debt, know what your credit score is and what your credit file says. You may obtain a credit report from any of the three credit reporting companies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, every year for free. Also, understand what your interest rate is and what your credit limit is. Exceeding your credit limit may trigger additional fees and make it harder to get out of debt.
If you find yourself in a situation that you can’t get out of on your own, take a look at our top-rated debt settlement and debt consolidation companies to start you on the path to debt freedom.
Below you’ll find the list of the ten states with the most overall credit card debt and the most credit card debt per capita: