Washington, D.C., for example, was ranked as having the third-lightest debt burden even though its average amount owed was a whopping $5,046 – because the median income there is the highest for any metropolitan area in America.
Using that guideline, CreditCards.com looked at the 25 largest cities in the country and calculated how long it would take someone earning the median income to pay off the average credit-card balance.
“It’s interesting that the metro areas with the highest average credit card debt don’t necessarily have the highest debt burdens when adjusted for income”, said Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com’s senior industry analyst.
It finds the average area resident could pay off their credit card debt in less than a year. To pay that off would take 11 months if the cardholder paid $455 per month, which is 15 percent of the median income in the city. The average card holder in San Francisco will pay only $234 in interest and pay off his or her debt in nine months.
Courtney Miller, an economics writer for NerdWallet, says a lot of it comes down to the culture surrounding credit card debt. It assumed that consumers would pay 15 percent of the median income in their area each month in order to eliminate their debt.
Short of asking for a raise, there are a few steps you can take to speed up the process.
Schulz said he isn’t sure why cities in Texas have higher debt burdens, but he noted that San Antonio has a large military presence. Otherwise interest charges can pile up and the process can take much longer.
“While they have the 9th highest credit card balance among the 25 cities, they have the eighth biggest average earnings”.
Consumers can also ask credit-card issuers to waive other fees, says Bruce McClary, a spokesman for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. “It’s certainly worth a call”, says Schulz.
South Floridians have a tougher time paying off their credit cards than most people in the country, largely because they make less money, according to an analysis released Monday. Some people may be more motivated by paying the smallest balance first and then using the payments that used to go there to pay off the other cards.