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Which Cities Suffer Most from Credit Card Debt

Still paying off your holiday debt? You're not alone. According to a recent national study, Americans across the county are still fighting the burden from their mounting credit card debt. Equifax, one of the three largest consumer credit reporting agencies in the United States, analyzed the 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas and metropolitan divisions to find out how areas cope with their credit card payments. With the average consumer credit card debt hovering around $4,000 dollars, there are many cities where residents' total debt accounts for over 17% of their total income. Even worse, there are tons of cities with debt well beyond the national average. Here are five cities that desperately need help for bad credit card debt.

5 U.S. Cities with the Worst Credit Card Debt


5. Dallas, Texas

Dallas' debt might be down 4.5 percent since last year, but with an average credit card bill of $4,930, their debt is 15 percent higher than the national average. Like many areas hit hard by the housing bubble, Dallas residents face the crisis of choosing between their mortgage and credit card bills.

4. Honolulu, Hawaii

The average debt might be slightly higher than Dallas at $4,939, but unlike other cities on this list, the residents in Honolulu tend to have a more favorable credit rating. Using the VantageScore model created by the three largest credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax), Honolulu has an above average credit score. This suggests residents from the islands pay their credit card bills on time, but tend to carry a few too many pina coladas on their credit card balance.

3. Atlanta, Georgia

At $4,960, Atlanta's average debt is a result of negligent spending and economic despair. It might seem like it's all Real Housewives and frivolous shopping sprees, but the truth is the heart of The Peach State is still suffering from a devastating housing market, driving the dipping unemployment base to increase its dependence on plastic.

2. Jacksonville, Florida

While many areas of Florida continue to suffer from mounting credit debt, Jacksonville tops them all. Boasting a staggering $5,115 average credit card debt, the North Florida economy is suffering just as much as the Jaguars' ticket sales. Just like Atlanta and other parts of the South, the main contributors to Jacksonville's debt stem from the increase in unemployment and the faltering housing market.

1. San Antonio, Texas

Holding a balance of $5,177, San Antonio's average credit card debt is over 20% higher than the national average. One factor contributing to the area's high debt is the lack of high paying jobs, explains Jeanie Wyatt, Chief Executive of South Texas Money Management. "While San Antonio has a lower unemployment rate and a more stable economy, our wage earners are at that mid to lower end," says Wyatt. Combine the working-class paychecks with San Antonio's reputation as one of the fattest cities in America and you've got a recipe for increased health risks that lead to high medical costs; one of the most common causes of personal bankruptcy.

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Marques

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Logan Abbott's picture

Logan Abbott is a personal finance and credit card expert with over 5 years of experience writing about each topic. He is a graduate of the USC Marshall School of Business, and also contributes to other online finance publications. He has been quoted in the New York Times, San Diego Union Tribune, TheStreet, and more.

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