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Whether it’s to pay for wants or just to pay for necessities, Americans are accumulating more credit card debt.
A recent CompareCards.com study found that credit card balances increased by an average of 3.6 percent from September 2017 to September 2018 in the nation’s 50 biggest metropolitan areas. And the average credit card balance by city was as high as $7,649.
Spending with credit isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though.
CompareCards.com notes that it could signal higher consumer confidence, for example. And as long as you pay off your balance in full each month, you will avoid racking up interest charges.
Of course, racking up credit card expenses can be risky.
Carrying a large balance can also be stressful and hamper financial goals such as saving money for retirement, the kids’ college funds or an emergency fund. Not to mention that maxing out your credit cards can hurt your credit score because it increases your utilization ratio — the percentage of credit available to you that you are using at a given time.
If you find yourself in credit card quicksand, there are many solutions — including budgeting, making more frequent payments or requesting a lower interest rate. Or, if you’re really struggling with debt, turn to a trustworthy credit counselor for expert help.
Following is a look at the major U.S. cities with the highest credit card balances.