Houston the Top City for Rising Credit Card Debt
It seems that Houstonians are getting pretty darn comfortable swiping that plastic at the register again. So comfortable, in fact, that Houston has become the top city in the United States for rising credit card debt. We've finally made it onto the top of a list for something other than pollution, traffic, or humidity, folks.
According to the National Consumer Trends Credit Report -- which was compiled by the credit giant Equifax -- Houston is right in first place as the top metropolitan city for rising credit card debt.
The report compared credit card data from the second quarter of last year to this year's second quarter, and found that the nation overall increased their credit card debt by about 2.9 percent during that time.
It's not surprising that Houston saw a rise in credit card debt, considering that the results of Equinox's report showed that consumers in each of the nation's 25 largest metropolitan areas increased their credit card debt in the second quarter of 2014. What is surprising, however, is how much it went up compared to the national average.
Houstonians, for whatever reason, decided to be a bit less thrifty than everyone else in the entire nation, and clocked in a credit card debt increase of 5.45 percent -- nearly twice the national average. Apparently we're not so concerned with those benjamins in the Bayou City.
Both Houston and Dallas have consistently seen an uphill climb in credit card debt because both cities were able to escape the recession relatively unscathed, according to the report. Houston's job market remained steady, and at points grew, while the rest of the nation saw a much steeper decline.
But that steady job market isn't the only reason Houstonians are taking on more debt. According to Equifax, part of the credit card surge is due to increased lending to subprime borrowers. In other words, credit card companies are now handing out that plastic money to the folks who were previously written off as a bad gamble. Sounds safe.
One out of every three new credit cards is issued to a consumer with a subprime credit score, according to Equifax. That's a pretty significant jump compared to the time immediately following the recession, in which only about one out of every four cards went to a subprime borrower.
Here are the top ten cities to see a rise in credit card debt, according to the report:
1. Houston -- 5.45 percent.
2. Orlando -- 4.89 percent.
3. Miami-Fort Lauderdale -- 4.76 percent.
4. Dallas-Fort Worth -- 4.70 percent.
5. Las Vegas -- 4.48 percent.
6. Atlanta -- 4.21 percent.
7. Washington-Baltimore -- 3.93 percent.
8. Tampa-St. Petersburg -- 3.75 percent.
9. San Diego -- 2.99 percent.
10. Philadelphia -- 2.94 percent.
Keep on saving those pennies, guys. You might need them when that Visa bill comes in.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.