Three Texas Cities in Top Five for Most Credit Card Debt

Texans are not alone in the struggle to pay off credit card debt

By Laura Rice and Alexandra HartJuly 29, 2015 2:13 pm| ,

If you’re carrying a lot of debt on your credit cards, rest assured that you’re far from alone. In fact, people in Texas are part of a unique club. All together, Texans are dealing with the worst credit card burden of anyone in the U.S. right now.  Take the top five cities where people have the highest credit card debt: three of those are in Texas. The Standard’s David Brown talks with Fred Williams, a writer for CreditCards.com. According to Williams, he used a complex mix of data from credit card bureaus and the government to compile this ranking.

On what this ranking represents:

“Instead of just looking at the dollar total on credit cards, try to get an idea of what burden that represents by also looking at the income available to pay that off. We try to calculate how long it would take to pay off that average balance.”

On the Texas cities in the top five with highest credit card debt:

“Five, Houston’s average balance is about $4,700. It’s taking about 13 months to pay that off … Second, that’s the [Dallas-Fort Worth] area with $4,900 in balances and 14 months to pay it off with kind of a high interest cost during the payoff of $382 … First, San Antonio. The balance is $4,880 and the time to pay that off is 16 months because earnings are below average for the nation there. It’s a heavier burden.”

On why so many cities in Texas have credit card debt:

“It surprised us because Texas has a good economy and all of these cities have lower unemployment rates than the average. San Antonio really stood out. It might be an outlier. It’s kind of different from the other ones even in Texas because of the high military population there. Other studies have shown service members carry a high level of credit card debt compared to other folks with less resources to pay it off.”

On San Antonio versus San Francisco:

“In the San Francisco metro area the median earning we’re looking at $44,000 almost $45,000. That’s quite a bit more than any of the cities we looked at in Texas. So there’s more resources to pay off that balance. An economist suggested to me that another thing going on is that the average balance in San Francisco is $4,300 … less than San Antonio. Certainly the lifestyles are probably a lot more expensive than San Francisco. But San Francisco may have a lot of housing debt that’s crowding their ability to take on other kinds of debt. If you look at the whole debt picture, Texas cities might do better. Certainly it’s a lot cheaper to get housing here.”