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Thursday, November 27, 2014         

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Isle credit card debt smaller but still high

By Kristen Consillio

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Hawaii residents ranked second in the nation in January for the highest average per-person credit card debt at $8,439.

The silver lining was the dollar amount came down 14.3 percent since January 2009.

The average credit score for Hawaii residents was 674 in January, unchanged from a year ago, according to the latest data from Credit Karma Inc., a California-based credit-scoring website, which collected the information from a sample of 2,000 people in Hawaii.

Hawaii residents carried an average $299,339 in home mortgage loans, down 8.8 percent year-over-year, but enough to also rank second highest in the United States. Auto loan debt dropped 3.4 percent to $14,947, while student loan debt totaled $26,731, up 14.2 percent.

"Hawaii's population is not as large as California's, but the cost of living there is significant," said Nichole Mustard, Credit Karma's vice president of strategy. "Consumers spread their debt around a portfolio of lending products rather than a single source."

The company said it has seen a reduction in credit card debt nationwide over the past 20 months.

Nationally, the average credit score was 667, down two points from January 2010. A higher score is better, and 620 is considered the dividing line between good and bad credit.

The average U.S. consumer decreased credit card debt by 9 percent to $7,200 in January, Credit Karma said.

The company used a sample size of 190,000 accounts nationwide.

"The data suggests if consumers maintain this path of financial responsibility, the downward trend for credit scores will continue to slow and ultimately will begin to increase again," said Ken Lin, Credit Karma chief executive officer.






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