Americans came into 2019 with more than $1 trillion in credit card debt. Though that’s pretty dismal across the board, median card balances vary across states, making accumulating debt worse in some places than in others.
To home in on this, WalletHub recently conducted a study and released a report that looks at the states with the highest and lowest credit card debts, including median balances, median incomes, expected payoff timeframe, and cost of interest until payoff. The study used data from TransUnion, the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Census Bureau, and WalletHub’s credit card payoff calculator to reach its conclusion.
Results for Washingtonians are — compared to most other states — particularly bleak. Overall, the state ranked fourth among states with the highest credit card debt. When paired with other factors like median credit card balance ($2,880), median income ($53,448), and expected payoff timeframe (15 months and three days), Washington state was ranked first for “Least Sustainable” credit card debt.
Jennifer Brodmann, one of the experts who weighed in on how people amass debt and what people can do to become debt-free, said that many people are “surprised when they see their large credit card balance at the end of the month” because credit cards ease “the pain of paying” or physically parting with their money. Interest rates also become a problem as people make minimum payments, she said.
To fight back against credit card debt, expert Brandon Ware recommends paying cash for everything, finding an additional revenue source to put toward the debt, and categorize future purchases as needs, wants, or desires.
To read more advice from the experts and see how the rest of the states measure up, visit wallethub.com.