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Lindsay Diaz and her son stand in what's left of their home after tornadoes tore through North Texas on Dec. 26, 2015.KERA's One Crisis Away project focuses on North Texans living on the financial edge.The problem's known as asset poverty, and it doesn’t discriminate. A job loss, health emergency, even legal trouble can be enough to plunge a third of our friends and neighbors into financial distress. One Crisis Away puts a human face on asset poverty and the financial struggles of people in North TexasExplore the series so far and join the KERA News team as they add new chapters to One Crisis Away in the months to come.One Crisis Away is funded in part by the Communities Foundation of Texas, Allstate Foundation, the Texas Women's Foundation, The Fort Worth Foundation, The Thomson Family Foundation, and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.

Texas Is Home To Three Of Five Worst Big Cities For Credit Card Debt


Too much credit card debt is sometimes enough to push people over the financial edge.

According to a new survey, three of the five worst big cities for credit card debt are right here in Texas.

The average North Texan owes $4,902 on credit cards. Of the 25 largest cities in America, Dallas-Fort Worth is second from the bottom. It would take that person 14 months and just under $400 in interest to pay off that debt.

Matt Schulz with Credit says the rest of Texas isn’t exactly in high cotton.

“They say everything’s better in Texas, and apparently that includes credit card debt burden,” says Schulz.

San Antonio comes in dead last and Houston’s credit card debt is the fifth worst nationwide. At the top end of the list: San Francisco, Boston and Washington D.C.

Schulz says this survey compared average credit card debt in a city to that city’s median income. That’s where Texas is struggling.

“Folks in the biggest cities in Texas aren’t earning as quite as much as some of the other big cities around the country so it makes it a little more challenging to pay off that credit card debt,” he says.

When you look at average credit card debt, there’s only a $500 difference between the best city on the list and the worst; $4,400 in San Francisco, $4,900 in San Antonio.

“There isn’t that much difference in credit card debt from one big city to another,” says Schulz. “There’s a much bigger range of difference in what people earn than what they owe.”

Schulz says this survey doesn’t take into account cost of living. So Texans with lower mortgages and cheaper rent payments might actually do better paying down debt than someone who lives in Washington D.C.

Still, chipping away at credit card debt is daunting. One thing folks can try to make it easier?

“Is to call their bank and ask for a reduced interest rate,” Schulz says. “And I think people would be surprised at how often that works.”

Schulz says asking for a lower interest rate works more than half the time. Worth a shot if you’re watching your available credit disappear each month under a mountain of interest.

Compare cities in the survey here.