Credit Card Balances Growing in U.S.

December 7, 2018
Swiping a credit card
Photo: Unsplash/Rawpixel

More Americans are using their credit cards more frequently, as credit card balances grew 3.6 percent on average in 50 major U.S. cities, per a new report by CompareCards.com.

Of all cities studied, Austin, Texas ranked first with residents' average credit card balance of $6,924, rising 12.3 percent annually. The 10 cities with the biggest balances were mostly in the American South and West. In San Jose, Calif., the average balance was up 10 percent, CNBC reports. Washington, D.C. was found to have the highest average credit balance overall in 2018, $7,649, while Indianapolis had the lowest, $5,393. The report calls the overall debt growth "discouraging," and points out that only in 6 cities did balances go down.

A number of up-and-coming tech hubs cluster at the top of the list, and many of the metropolitan areas where balances have grown substantially are bustling. Over the summer, Austin was named the top place to live in America by U.S. News & World Report, based on affordability, job prospects and quality of life. Texas also ranked as CNBC's top state for business this year.

Still, the report says, "the truth is that when you carry credit card debt during good economic times, it is likely that you aren't putting enough money away for when things go bad."

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