Too much credit card debt is sometimes enough to push people over the financial edge.
According to a new survey, three of the five worst big cities for credit card debt are right here in Texas.
The average North Texan owes $4,902 on credit cards. Of the 25 largest cities in America, Dallas-Fort Worth is second from the bottom. It would take that person 14 months and just under $400 in interest to pay off that debt.
Matt Schulz with Credit Cards.com says the rest of Texas isn’t exactly in high cotton.
“They say everything’s better in Texas, and apparently that includes credit card debt burden,” says Schulz.
San Antonio comes in dead last and Houston’s credit card debt is the fifth worst nationwide. At the top end of the list: San Francisco, Boston and Washington D.C.
Schulz says this survey compared average credit card debt in a city to that city’s median income. That’s where Texas is struggling.
“Folks in the biggest cities in Texas aren’t earning as quite as much as some of the other big cities around the country so it makes it a little more challenging to pay off that credit card debt,” he says.
When you look at average credit card debt, there’s only a $500 difference between the best city on the list and the worst; $4,400 in San Francisco, $4,900 in San Antonio.
“There isn’t that much difference in credit card debt from one big city to another,” says Schulz. “There’s a much bigger range of difference in what people earn than what they owe.”
Schulz says this survey doesn’t take into account cost of living. So Texans with lower mortgages and cheaper rent payments might actually do better paying down debt than someone who lives in Washington D.C.
Still, chipping away at credit card debt is daunting. One thing folks can try to make it easier?
“Is to call their bank and ask for a reduced interest rate,” Schulz says. “And I think people would be surprised at how often that works.”
Schulz says asking for a lower interest rate works more than half the time. Worth a shot if you’re watching your available credit disappear each month under a mountain of interest.