POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Mar 3, 2011
Honolulu ranked fourth in the country for the highest credit card debt at the end of 2010, according to a study by Experian, one of the nation's largest credit reporting companies.
The average credit card balance -- including major cards such as Visa and MasterCard but excluding retail store cards -- for Honolulu residents in December was $4,939.06 per person, virtually unchanged from a year earlier when it was $4,939.23, the company said.
Honolulu's debt was 15.3 percent higher than the national average of $4,284. Honolulu ranked eighth last year for the highest credit card debt.
Honolulu residents' average credit score was 773, according to the VantageScore model created by Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, the three largest credit reporting companies. Credit scores, as measured by Vantage, range between 501 and 990. The average credit score in the U.S. is 747.
"Even though your bank card balances are among the highest in the nation, on average you still have good credit scores," said Rod Griffin, director of public education at Experian. "People in Honolulu aren't taking on more debt as compared to past years so they're being conscious and thoughtful about how they're using their credit, particularly in this economy."
Experian released rankings yesterday of the 25 U.S. cities with the highest average bank card debt. San Antonio, Texas, topped the list with the highest average balance of $5,177, followed by Jacksonville, Fla., at $5,115 and Atlanta, Ga., at $4,960.
"It's important for consumers to get that debt under control before it has a lasting impact on their credit scores," Maxine Sweet, Experian vice president of public education, said in a statement.
The agency surveyed a 5 percent sample of the population in each metropolitan area with an active credit file. Experian, which didn't release specific sample size numbers, has 215 million credit files in its system.