Scarsdale and Bronxville, along with Westport, Connecticut, rank fairly high on a list of communities in which residents are having a comparatively easy time paying off their credit card debt, according to the personal finance website WalletHub.
It reported the results of a survey designed, in part, to figure out where in the U.S. credit card debt was most and least sustainable. The median credit card balances of residents in 2,564 municipalities were gathered from TransUnion and analyzed. Credit cards from the major issuers were considered, not store credit cards. The average interest rates on the credit cards considered in the survey was 16.97%.
The municipalities were sorted into 99 percentiles, with the 99th including communities where people were taking the longest time to pay off their credit card debts and the 1st percentile including communities where consumers were paying off their credit card debt in the least time and at the lowest cost in interest and fees.
Scarsdale and Bronxville both ranked in the 1st percentile. In Scarsdale, people paid off median credit card debt of $5,303 in 17 months and 2 days at a cost of $652. In Bronxville, the median debt was $4,610 and it was paid off in 30 months and 7 days at a cost of $670.
Westport ranked in the 8th percentile, with residents taking 30 months and 22 days to pay off median credit card debt of $6,286 at a cost of $1,394.
Close behind Westport was Trumbull, Conn., where the median credit card debt of $3,462 was paid off in 30 months and 27 days at a cost of $772.
Yonkers ranked in the 17th percentile. It took 33 months and 27 days for consumers to pay off a median credit card debt of $2,449 with $601 in interest payments.
In Bridgeport, WalletHub found a median credit card debt of $1,946 was paid off in 35 months and 14 days at a cost of $501, ranking the city in the 22nd percentile.
Stamford was in the 24th percentile, with a median credit card debt of $3,138 taking 35 months and 30 days to be retired at a cost of $819.
White Plains residents found themselves in the 28th percentile, with a median credit card debt of $3.068 taking 37 months and 3 days to pay off at a cost of $829.
Norwalk was in the 38th percentile. It took 39 months and 20 days to pay off debt of $3,168 at a cost of $917.
Poughkeepsie more than two-thirds of the way down the list in the 69th percentile. It took residents there 48 months and 22 days to deal with median credit card debt of $2,543, also at a cost of $917.
Ossining was in the 89th percentile. It took credit card holders there 58 months and 16 days to pay off debt of $3,171 at a cost of $1,395.
Greenwich also found itself in the 89th percentile, which may be a bit of surprise considering its upscale reputation. The median credit card debt of $5,702 cost cardholders $2,515 to pay off in 58 months and 21 days.
Yorktown Heights finished far down in the 93rd percentile. It took 63 months and 13 days to pay off a median credit card debt of $3,470 at a cost of $1,667.
New Milford, Connecticut, was ranked in the 98th percentile because it took 74 months and 23 days to deal with median credit card debt of $3,414 at a cost of $1,968.
The longest payoff time was 138 months and 17 days for cardholders in Jacksonville, North Carolina, who had median credit card debt of $3,435 and shelled out $4,048 in payoff costs.
WalletHub quoted David M. Hart of Oklahoma Wesleyan University as saying that impulse spending is a major factor leading people to run up credit card debt they have trouble paying off.
“If the consumer does not wisely stick to a dollar amount that they pre-determine that they want to spend in advance with their credit card, then the debt can swell so high that paying it off monthly becomes impossible,” he said.
Hart also speculated that credit card debt could become more expensive in 2020 if the Federal Reserve sees inflation returning and raises interest rates to slow the flow of money.
“The lenders of the cards will become stricter. Late fees will probably rise,” Hart said, adding what some might see as a dire prediction: “I believe that one of the largest bubbles that is coming next is consumer debt. It is rising to levels that are never before seen and may become unmanageable.”