Personal Finance

Best way to pay off credit card debt? Move to Indiana

Key Points
  • Altogether, Americans owe more than $1 trillion in credit card debt.
  • Residents in some states are faring better than others when it comes to paying down their balances, according to a new report.
  • Here is the nationwide rundown.
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Collectively, Americans owe more than $1 trillion in credit card debt.

Despite the strong preference for plastic, that burden is not felt across the board. Residents in some states are faring better than others when it comes to paying down their balances, according to a new report by WalletHub.

Using the median credit card balance and monthly credit card payment of residents in each state based on credit data from TransUnion and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the personal finance site determined the required number of months to pay off that balance and the finance charges that would result, assuming an average 16.91% annual percentage rate.

From there, WalletHub ranked the states from least sustainable credit card debt — or longest payoff timeline — to shortest.

In Indiana, for example, where the average balance is only $2,313, it would take a little less than 10 months to pay that back while racking up $167 in interest charges.

In Alaska, however, the average balance is $4,144 — nearly twice as much — and that would take 19 months, or more than a year and a half, to pay off, while ringing up $575 in finance charges.

Here is the nationwide rundown:

States with the Highest & Lowest Credit-Card Debts

Rank* State Median Credit-Card Debt Cost to Pay off Months & Days Until Payoff
1Alaska$4,144 $575 19 months and 11 days
2District of Columbia$3,242 $404 17 months and 12 days
3Vermont$2,227 $247 15 months and 14 days
4Washington$2,880 $313 15 months and 3 days
5Colorado$2,985 $324 15 months and 3 days
6Oregon$2,641 $282 14 months and 29 days
7Wyoming$2,712 $290 14 months and 29 days
8Virginia$3,081 $327 14 months and 26 days
9Montana$2,579 $269 14 months and 17 days
10New Mexico$2,613 $268 14 months and 7 days
11Kansas$2,574 $264 14 months and 7 days
12Texas$2,860 $292 14 months and 4 days
13Idaho$2,426 $247 14 months and 4 days
14North Dakota$2,385 $236 13 months and 24 days
15Georgia$2,786 $274 13 months and 22 days
16Utah$2,508 $246 13 months and 20 days
17Massachusetts$2,459 $241 13 months and 19 days
18California$2,672 $261 13 months and 18 days
19Arizona$2,686 $262 13 months and 17 days
20Minnesota$2,510 $245 13 months and 17 days
21Oklahoma$2,628 $255 13 months and 15 days
22North Carolina$2,593 $251 13 months and 14 days
23New Hampshire$2,511 $242 13 months and 11 days
24Nevada$2,645 $254 13 months and 9 days
25Maryland$2,819 $270 13 months and 8 days
26Tennessee$2,544 $243 13 months and 8 days
27Michigan$2,343 $224 13 months and 7 days
28South Carolina$2,579 $245 13 months and 4 days
29Maine$2,265 $214 13 months and 2 days
30Connecticut$2,755 $260 13 months
31Wisconsin$2,120 $197 12 months and 29 days
32Missouri$2,460 $228 12 months and 29 days
33Florida$2,603 $239 12 months and 22 days
34New York$2,600 $238 12 months and 22 days
35Louisiana$2,600 $237 12 months and 19 days
36New Jersey$2,701 $246 12 months and 19 days
37Illinois$2,665 $241 12 months and 17 days
38Rhode Island$2,392 $216 12 months and 15 days
39Iowa$2,091 $188 12 months and 14 days
40West Virginia$2,331 $210 12 months and 14 days
41Nebraska$2,302 $207 12 months and 13 days
42Ohio$2,325 $207 12 months and 9 days
43Arkansas$2,353 $202 11 months and 29 days
44Hawaii$2,868 $246 11 months and 28 days
45South Dakota$2,449 $209 11 months and 25 days
46Delaware$2,515 $213 11 months and 23 days
47Pennsylvania$2,344 $198 11 months and 21 days
48Alabama$2,451 $206 11 months and 19 days
49Kentucky$2,248 $187 11 months and 14 days
50Mississippi$2,258 $170 10 months and 9 days
51Indiana$2,313 $167 9 months and 29 days

"This level of credit card debt is not sustainable," said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at WalletHub.

Better credit card management boils down to making payments on time and not buying things you otherwise can't afford. Gonzalez also recommends making at least the minimum payment every month to avoid fees and putting extra resources toward paying down the highest-interest card first.

More from Personal Finance:
Here's one easy way to pay less to your credit card company
1 in 3 consumers fear they will max out a credit card
7 shopping hacks to keep your spending under control

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