Americans are more likely to pay with a credit card than with cash than ever before. With a credit card, consumers can buy now and pay later and earn rewards like cash back and travel points for meeting certain spending thresholds. While credit cards have obvious appeal, they can also be dangerous, as easy credit appears to be saddling a growing number of Americans with considerable debt.
According to the Federal Reserve, Americans owe a record $1.04 trillion in credit card debt — up from less than $854 billion five years ago. According to Ted Rossman, an industry analyst at research group creditcards.com, about 40% of Americans have enough income to pay off their balance — and do so in full every month. For them, a high credit card balance is not a problem.
For the remaining 60%, however, maintaining a high credit card balance can mean hundreds of dollars in interest payments a year and possibly a low credit score.
On average, Americans owe $6,354 on bank-issued credit cards. At the state level, average credit card debt per capita varies substantially. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the average bank card balance from creditcards.com to identify the states with the most credit card debt.
Individuals with high credit card balances tend to have some common traits. “The more cards, the more income, typically the higher balances are going to show on your card,” Rossman said.
Indeed, states with higher debt tend to be home to higher-income residents and report more credit cards per person. These states also tend to have a higher overall cost of living, which drives up spending. However, high average average balances do not always translate to low average credit scores in these states. Mortgage payments can drive up total debt, as can student debt.
Average credit card debt per person by state come from creditcards.com and are as of 2017. The average number of credit cards and credit score are also as of 2017 and come from data research group Experian. Credit scores are based on VantageScore, range between 501 and 990. Scores below 630 are deemed poor, and scores above 721 are considered excellent. Cost of living estimates came from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and are as of 2016.
|Rank||State||Avg. balance||Cost of living||Avg. credit score||Avg. # of cards|
|1||Alaska||$8,515||5.4% more than avg.||668||2.9|
|2||Connecticut||$7,258||8.7% more than avg.||690||3.2|
|3||Virginia||$7,161||2.3% more than avg.||680||3.1|
|4||New Jersey||$7,151||13.2% more than avg.||686||3.5|
|5||Maryland||$7,043||9.5% more than avg.||672||3.2|
|6||Hawaii||$6,981||18.4% more than avg.||693||3.3|
|7||Texas||$6,902||3.1% less than avg.||656||3.1|
|8||Colorado||$6,718||3% more than avg.||688||3.1|
|9||Georgia||$6,675||7.9% less than avg.||654||3.0|
|10||New York||$6,671||15.6% more than avg.||688||3.3|
|11||Washington||$6,592||5.5% more than avg.||693||3.0|
|12||New Hampshire||$6,490||5.9% more than avg.||701||3.1|
|13||California||$6,481||14.4% more than avg.||680||3.2|
|14||Illinois||$6,410||1.1% less than avg.||683||3.1|
|15||Nevada||$6,401||2.6% less than avg.||655||3.2|
|16||Arizona||$6,389||4.1% less than avg.||669||3.0|
|17||Florida||$6,388||0.3% less than avg.||668||3.2|
|18||Rhode Island||$6,375||0.4% less than avg.||687||3.3|
|19||Delaware||$6,366||0.2% more than avg.||672||3.1|
|20||Massachusetts||$6,327||7.8% more than avg.||699||3.2|
|21||New Mexico||$6,317||6.4% less than avg.||659||2.8|
|22||Oklahoma||$6,296||11% less than avg.||656||2.7|
|23||Wyoming||$6,245||3.3% less than avg.||678||2.8|
|24||South Carolina||$6,157||9.7% less than avg.||657||2.9|
|25||Pennsylvania||$6,146||1.6% less than avg.||687||3.1|
|26||North Carolina||$6,117||9.1% less than avg.||666||3.0|
|27||Kansas||$6,082||9.5% less than avg.||680||2.8|
|28||Louisiana||$6,074||9.6% less than avg.||650||2.8|
|29||Oregon||$6,012||0.2% less than avg.||688||3.0|
|30||Tennessee||$5,975||9.8% less than avg.||662||2.8|
|31||Alabama||$5,961||13.4% less than avg.||654||2.7|
|32||Utah||$5,960||2.7% less than avg.||683||3.0|
|33||Vermont||$5,924||1.6% more than avg.||702||2.9|
|34||Minnesota||$5,911||2.5% less than avg.||709||3.0|
|35||Missouri||$5,897||10.5% less than avg.||675||2.9|
|36||Montana||$5,845||5.9% less than avg.||689||2.9|
|37||Ohio||$5,843||10.7% less than avg.||678||3.0|
|38||Idaho||$5,817||7% less than avg.||681||2.9|
|39||Maine||$5,784||1.6% less than avg.||689||2.9|
|40||South Dakota||$5,692||11.7% less than avg.||700||2.8|
|41||Arkansas||$5,660||13.1% less than avg.||657||2.8|
|42||Nebraska||$5,630||9.5% less than avg.||695||2.8|
|43||Michigan||$5,622||6.7% less than avg.||677||2.9|
|44||Indiana||$5,581||9.7% less than avg.||667||2.8|
|45||Kentucky||$5,555||12.2% less than avg.||663||2.8|
|46||West Virginia||$5,547||12.4% less than avg.||658||2.8|
|47||North Dakota||$5,511||8.5% less than avg.||697||2.9|
|48||Mississippi||$5,421||13.6% less than avg.||647||2.6|
|49||Wisconsin||$5,363||7.2% less than avg.||696||2.8|
|50||Iowa||$5,155||9.8% less than avg.||695||2.7|