Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Americans Owe Less on Their Credit Cards

Consumer debt has declined 11 percent since its peak in October 2008.

Nearly 60 percent of the top 100 metropolitan statistical areas hardest hit by credit card debt realized double-digit declines in the percentage of income owed to credit card companies, according to a new Equifax report.

The cities with the most sizable reductions are clustered in four states across the country: Florida, Louisiana, Washington and California. According to the report, Florida tops the list as the state with the most cities—five—realizing the largest declines.

Comparing percentage of income owed to credit card companies between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the fourth quarter of 2011, the following MSAs realized the largest year-over-year declines for the country.
  • Port St. Lucie, Fla.—23.59 percent
  • Ocala, Fla.—20.97 percent
  • Bremerton-Silverdale, Wash.—20.62 percent
  • Shreveport-Bossier City. La.—20.10 percent
  • Bakersfield-Delano, Calif.—19.05 percent
  • Northport-Bradenton-Sarasota, Fla.—18.44 percent
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.—18.43 percent
  • Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.—18.32 percent
  • Salinas, Calif.—17.85 percent
The reduction in U.S. consumer credit card debt began a steady decline in the fourth quarter of 2010 that continued through the end of 2011, as consumers remained cautious of their spending and focused on deleveraging debt. According to Equifax’s analysis, consumers owed up to 17 percent of their income to credit card companies in 2010.
Equifax reports that while total consumer debt (mortgage, auto, credit card, etc.) has declined nearly 11 percent from its peak of $12.4 trillion in October of 2008, American households still owe more than $800 billion in debt to credit card companies alone—irrespective of other debts such as mortgages or student loans.



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