WASHINGTON–Americans will carry $70 billion more in credit card debt during 2019 than 2018, according to the latest Credit Card Debt Study from Wallethub, which also lists the U.S. markets with the most and least credit card debt paydowns.
The study found consumers paid off $38 billion of their roughly $1 trillion in credit card debt during the first quarter of 2019.
“Given that this year’s first-quarter paydown was smaller than last year’s, WalletHub now projects a $70 billion net increase in credit card debt during 2019,” Wallethub said.
According to the WalletHub data, the average card debt per household in 2019 is $8,390, up from 2018’s $8,109.
WalletHub said it compared more than 2,500 cities based on how much residents owe to credit card companies – specifically, how those balances changed in Q1.
Cities with the biggest debt paydowns included:
- Ewa Beach, Hawaii
- Darien, Conn.
- Dix Hills, N.Y.
- Lake Forest, Ill.
- Southlake, Texas
- Westport, Conn.
- Collegeville, Penn.
- Calabasas, Calif.
- Beverly Hills, Calif.
- Scarsdale, N.Y.
Cities with the smallest debt paydowns included:
- Atlantic City, N.J.
- Benton Harbor, Mich.
- Bastrop, La.
- Dunnellon, Fla.
- Camden, N.J.
- Greenville, Ohio
- Forest Park, Ga.
- Sun City Center, Fla.
- Laguna Woods, Calif.
- Darlington, S.C.
‘Not Quite as Healthy’
“Paying off credit card debt always is preferable to the alternative, but history tells us the size of the paydown matters,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “It’s normal for credit card debt to decrease during the first quarter of the year as consumers receive annual salary bonuses and tax refunds as well as commit to financial New Year’s resolutions. But a relatively big or small first-quarter paydown can be an important indicator for consumer performance throughout the rest of the year.
“In 2018, we began the year by paying off almost $41 billion in credit card debt during the first quarter, and we ended the year owing $67 billion more than we did to start,” Papadimitriou continued. “The fact that we didn’t pay down as much debt during Q1 this year may be a sign that consumers aren’t quite as healthy as some other metrics may indicate.”
How long can consumers keep racking up credit card debt?
According to Papadimitriou, if debt passes $10,000, “that would be a breaking point.”