The Most Maxed-Out Places in America: Credit Card Mania

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Credit cards can be powerful financial tools, but they can quickly become double-edged swords. And many consumers are familiar with that pain: In fact, 23.7% of credit cardholders in the 100 largest U.S. metros have at least one maxed-out card, according to the latest LendingTree study.

Here’s what else we found.

  • Across the 100 largest U.S. metros, 23.7% of credit cardholders have at least one maxed-out card. That’s a 4.4% increase from 22.7% in August 2022. Meanwhile, 9.1% of cardholders across those 100 metros had multiple maxed-out cards in the third quarter of 2023 — a 46.8% spike from 6.2% in August 2022.
  • The most maxed-out metro is Bridgeport, Conn. 30.8% of cardholders in the Connecticut metro have at least one maxed-out credit card — down from 33.1% in August 2022 but enough to rise to No. 1 in this year’s study. Three metros — New York, San Antonio and Memphis, Tenn. — tie for second at 30.5%.
  • Memphis has the highest percentage of residents with multiple maxed-out cards, at 14.0%.Two Texas metros — El Paso and San Antonio — follow, at 13.6% and 12.8%, respectively.
  • Minneapolis residents are the least likely to max out their cards.15.0% of Minneapolis residents have at least one maxed-out card and 5.1% have more than one — the lowest in both categories. Provo, Utah, is the next lowest in both categories (16.5% and 5.6%, respectively), while Madison, Wis., is just ahead, with 16.8% of residents having at least one maxed-out card.
  • Raleigh, N.C., saw the largest increase in the rate of cardholders with at least one maxed-out card. The rate of cardholders with maxed-out cards in Raleigh spiked 39.4%, from 19.4% in August 2022 to 27.0% in the third quarter of 2023. Another North Carolina metro — Durham — had the second-highest increase at 31.2%, followed by Augusta, Ga., at 30.9%.

Consumers are increasingly tapped out. In fact, 23.7% of credit cardholders across the 100 largest U.S. metros have at least one maxed-out card — meaning their balance is greater than or equal to their credit limit. When we last conducted this study in August 2022, that figure was 22.7%, meaning the percentage of consumers with at least one maxed-out card has risen by 4.4%.

According to LendingTree chief credit analyst Matt Schulz, that figure is rising because life is becoming more expensive.

Across cardholders in those same 100 metros, 9.1% had multiple maxed-out cards in the third quarter of 2023. That’s a 46.8% spike from 6.2% in August 2022.

“In tough times, millions of Americans look at credit cards as a de facto emergency fund,” Schulz says. “However, if their cards are maxed out, that’s not really an option. That could lead to struggling Americans having to look instead to pricier options, such as payday lending.”

Breaking down these figures by metro, Bridgeport, Conn., has the highest percentage of consumers with at least one maxed-out card. Here, 30.8% of cardholders have at least one maxed-out credit card. While that figure has fallen from 33.1% in August 2022 (when Bridgeport ranked No. 3), it’s enough to rise to the top this year.

Metros with the highest % of cardholders with at least 1 maxed-out credit card

Rank Metro % of cardholders with at least 1 maxed-out credit card
1 Bridgeport, CT 30.8%
2 New York, NY 30.5%
2 San Antonio, TX 30.5%
2 Memphis, TN 30.5%

Source: LendingTree analysis of about 203,000 anonymized credit reports of LendingTree users between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2023, in the 100 most populous U.S. metros.

Following that, New York, San Antonio and Memphis, Tenn., tie for second at 30.5%. Compared to the 2022 study, all three saw ranking improvements: New York from No. 8, San Antonio from No. 21 and Memphis from No. 6.

What about those with multiple maxed-out cards? Memphis ranks highest here, with 14.0% of residents having two or more maxed-out cards. It’s followed by El Paso, Texas (13.6%), and San Antonio (12.8%).

How does that compare to the last study? Baton Rouge ranked highest in 2022, with 13.6% of residents having multiple maxed-out cards. It was followed by New Orleans (12.3%) and Knoxville, Tenn. (10.5%). As far as this year’s top-ranking metros, Memphis was No. 7 in 2022 at 9.1%, El Paso tied at No. 5 at 10.1% and San Antonio tied at No. 24 at 6.9%.

Full rankings

Metros with the highest/lowest % of cardholders with at least 1 maxed-out credit card

Rank Metro % of cardholders with at least 1 maxed-out credit card
1 Bridgeport, CT 30.8%
2 New York, NY 30.5%
2 San Antonio, TX 30.5%
2 Memphis, TN 30.5%
5 Miami, FL 30.4%
6 El Paso, TX 30.3%
7 Augusta, GA 29.2%
8 McAllen, TX 29.0%
9 Fresno, CA 28.8%
10 Atlanta, GA 28.6%
10 Virginia Beach, VA 28.6%
10 Jackson, MS 28.6%
13 Charleston, SC 28.5%
14 Greensboro, NC 28.2%
15 Dallas, TX 28.1%
16 Austin, TX 27.6%
17 New Orleans, LA 27.5%
18 Columbia, SC 27.4%
19 Raleigh, NC 27.0%
19 Bakersfield, CA 27.0%
21 Winston-Salem, NC 26.9%
22 Durham, NC 26.8%
23 Las Vegas, NV 26.7%
23 Baton Rouge, LA 26.7%
25 Poughkeepsie, NY 26.5%
26 Houston, TX 26.2%
27 Los Angeles, CA 26.1%
27 Washington, DC 26.1%
27 Jacksonville, FL 26.1%
30 Baltimore, MD 26.0%
30 Birmingham, AL 26.0%
30 Tulsa, OK 26.0%
33 Orlando, FL 25.9%
33 Lakeland, FL 25.9%
35 New Haven, CT 25.6%
36 Little Rock, AR 25.5%
37 Greenville, SC 25.4%
38 San Diego, CA 24.8%
39 Philadelphia, PA 24.7%
40 Cape Coral, FL 24.6%
41 Colorado Springs, CO 24.5%
41 Wichita, KS 24.5%
43 Tampa, FL 24.3%
44 Boston, MA 24.0%
44 Richmond, VA 24.0%
44 Deltona, FL 24.0%
47 Albuquerque, NM 23.9%
48 Tucson, AZ 23.8%
48 Honolulu, HI 23.8%
50 Knoxville, TN 23.6%
51 Providence, RI 23.5%
52 Riverside, CA 23.4%
52 Allentown, PA 23.4%
54 Oklahoma City, OK 23.2%
54 Louisville, KY 23.2%
56 Chicago, IL 23.1%
56 Nashville, TN 23.1%
56 San Jose, CA 23.1%
59 San Francisco, CA 22.7%
59 Worcester, MA 22.7%
61 Phoenix, AZ 22.5%
61 Cincinnati, OH 22.5%
61 Salt Lake City, UT 22.5%
64 Detroit, MI 22.4%
65 Denver, CO 22.2%
66 Portland, OR 22.0%
67 Dayton, OH 21.8%
67 Springfield, MA 21.8%
69 Cleveland, OH 21.7%
70 Charlotte, NC 21.5%
71 St. Louis, MO 21.3%
71 Sacramento, CA 21.3%
71 Harrisburg, PA 21.3%
74 North Port, FL 21.1%
75 Indianapolis, IN 20.9%
75 Stockton, CA 20.9%
77 Toledo, OH 20.8%
78 Scranton, PA 20.7%
79 Columbus, OH 20.6%
80 Seattle, WA 20.5%
80 Hartford, CT 20.5%
80 Palm Bay, FL 20.5%
83 Ogden, UT 20.4%
84 Oxnard, CA 20.3%
85 Syracuse, NY 20.2%
86 Albany, NY 20.0%
87 Kansas City, MO 19.9%
88 Akron, OH 19.8%
89 Spokane, WA 19.5%
90 Omaha, NE 19.1%
91 Boise, ID 18.9%
92 Grand Rapids, MI 18.7%
93 Rochester, NY 18.5%
94 Pittsburgh, PA 17.7%
94 Buffalo, NY 17.7%
96 Milwaukee, WI 17.2%
97 Des Moines, IA 16.9%
98 Madison, WI 16.8%
99 Provo, UT 16.5%
100 Minneapolis, MN 15.0%

Source: LendingTree analysis of about 203,000 anonymized credit reports of LendingTree users between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2023, in the 100 most populous U.S. metros.

Metros with the highest/lowest % of cardholders with multiple maxed-out credit cards

Rank Metro % of cardholders with multiple maxed-out credit cards
1 Memphis, TN 14.0%
2 El Paso, TX 13.6%
3 San Antonio, TX 12.8%
4 Charleston, SC 12.3%
5 McAllen, TX 12.0%
5 Augusta, GA 12.0%
7 Atlanta, GA 11.9%
8 Virginia Beach, VA 11.8%
9 Jackson, MS 11.7%
10 Dallas, TX 11.6%
10 Birmingham, AL 11.6%
10 Greensboro, NC 11.6%
13 Austin, TX 11.4%
13 Raleigh, NC 11.4%
13 Bridgeport, CT 11.4%
16 Columbia, SC 11.3%
17 New Orleans, LA 11.2%
17 Winston-Salem, NC 11.2%
19 Baton Rouge, LA 10.9%
20 Harrisburg, PA 10.8%
21 Tucson, AZ 10.6%
21 Fresno, CA 10.6%
23 Las Vegas, NV 10.5%
24 Lakeland, FL 10.4%
25 Miami, FL 10.2%
26 Orlando, FL 10.1%
27 Baltimore, MD 10.0%
27 Durham, NC 10.0%
29 New York, NY 9.9%
29 Tulsa, OK 9.9%
31 Houston, TX 9.8%
32 Cincinnati, OH 9.7%
32 Knoxville, TN 9.7%
34 Jacksonville, FL 9.6%
34 Richmond, VA 9.6%
36 Denver, CO 9.5%
36 Wichita, KS 9.5%
38 New Haven, CT 9.4%
39 Oklahoma City, OK 9.3%
39 Little Rock, AR 9.3%
39 Poughkeepsie, NY 9.3%
42 Riverside, CA 9.1%
43 Los Angeles, CA 9.0%
43 Tampa, FL 9.0%
43 Dayton, OH 9.0%
46 Chicago, IL 8.9%
46 Philadelphia, PA 8.9%
46 Washington, DC 8.9%
49 St. Louis, MO 8.8%
49 Cleveland, OH 8.8%
49 Greenville, SC 8.8%
49 Allentown, PA 8.8%
49 Cape Coral, FL 8.8%
49 Deltona, FL 8.8%
55 Ogden, UT 8.7%
56 Phoenix, AZ 8.5%
56 Worcester, MA 8.5%
56 Toledo, OH 8.5%
59 Louisville, KY 8.4%
59 Grand Rapids, MI 8.4%
59 Albuquerque, NM 8.4%
59 Akron, OH 8.4%
63 Nashville, TN 8.3%
64 Indianapolis, IN 8.2%
64 Milwaukee, WI 8.2%
64 Scranton, PA 8.2%
67 Columbus, OH 8.1%
67 Springfield, MA 8.1%
67 Syracuse, NY 8.1%
67 Palm Bay, FL 8.1%
71 Detroit, MI 8.0%
71 Sacramento, CA 8.0%
73 Bakersfield, CA 7.9%
73 Albany, NY 7.9%
73 Colorado Springs, CO 7.9%
76 San Diego, CA 7.8%
77 Boston, MA 7.7%
77 Oxnard, CA 7.7%
79 Seattle, WA 7.6%
79 Kansas City, MO 7.6%
81 Providence, RI 7.5%
81 Rochester, NY 7.5%
81 Omaha, NE 7.5%
81 Des Moines, IA 7.5%
85 Salt Lake City, UT 7.4%
86 Portland, OR 7.3%
86 Hartford, CT 7.3%
86 Honolulu, HI 7.3%
89 Charlotte, NC 7.2%
89 San Jose, CA 7.2%
91 San Francisco, CA 7.0%
91 North Port, FL 7.0%
93 Buffalo, NY 6.9%
93 Stockton, CA 6.9%
93 Madison, WI 6.9%
93 Spokane, WA 6.9%
97 Pittsburgh, PA 6.7%
98 Boise, ID 5.6%
98 Provo, UT 5.6%
100 Minneapolis, MN 5.1%

Source: LendingTree analysis of about 203,000 anonymized credit reports of LendingTree users between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2023, in the 100 most populous U.S. metros.

On the other end of the list, Minneapolis residents are the least likely to max out their cards. Among Minneapolis cardholders, 15.0% have at least one maxed-out card. Meanwhile, 5.1% have more than one maxed-out card — the lowest in both categories.

In both categories, the Minnesota metro is followed by Provo, Utah, with 16.5% of residents having at least one maxed-out card and 5.6% having multiple (tying with Boise, Idaho, here). Madison, Wis., rounds out the bottom three among metros with at least one maxed-out card at 16.8%.

Metros with the lowest % of cardholders with at least 1 maxed-out credit card

Rank Metro % of cardholders with at least 1 maxed-out credit card
1 Minneapolis, MN 15.0%
2 Provo, UT 16.5%
3 Madison, WI 16.8%

Source: LendingTree analysis of about 203,000 anonymized credit reports of LendingTree users between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2023, in the 100 most populous U.S. metros.

Notably, residents in all three metros were among those least likely to open a new credit card in the first half of 2023. According to another LendingTree study on opening a new card, Minneapolis residents were the second-least likely to do so, while Provo residents were the sixth-least likely and Madison residents were the fifth-least likely.

Schulz says consumers in these metros are more likely to have better financial opportunities.

“If you show you can successfully manage credit, it opens a lot of doors,” he says. “For example, you’re more likely to be approved for your next loan and get good terms, and you also have a cushion of available credit to use in case of emergency or even if you have a project that you’re excited about, such as a home remodel or a small business startup.”

Which metros have seen the most significant changes since 2022? Raleigh, N.C., ranked first with the biggest increase. Between August 2022 and the third quarter of 2023, the percentage of consumers with maxed-out cards rose 39.4% from 19.4% to 27.0%.

Durham, N.C. (31.2%) had the second-highest increase, rising from 20.4% to 26.8%. Augusta, Ga. (30.9%), rounded out the top three, rising from 22.3% to 29.2%.

Metros with the biggest increases in the % of cardholders with at least 1 maxed-out credit card

Rank Metro % of cardholders with at least 1 maxed-out credit card, August 2022 % of cardholders with at least 1 maxed-out credit card, Q3 2023 % change
1 Raleigh, NC 19.4% 27.0% 39.4%
2 Durham, NC 20.4% 26.8% 31.2%
3 Augusta, GA 22.3% 29.2% 30.9%

Source: LendingTree analysis of about 203,000 anonymized credit reports of LendingTree users between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2023, and about 300,000 anonymized credit reports in August 2022, both in the 100 most populous U.S. metros. Note: While we rounded for display, calculations were made with unrounded figures.

On the other hand, Nashville, Tenn., saw the largest decline: While 30.7% of credit cardholders had at least one maxed-out card in August 2022, that figure fell 24.8% to 23.1% in the third quarter of 2023. It’s followed by Knoxville, Tenn. (23.7%), where that rate fell from 30.9% in 2022 to 23.6% in 2023. Finally, New Orleans (23.3%) ranked third, with the rate of cardholders with maxed-out credit cards falling from 35.9% to 27.5%.

Full rankings

Metros with the biggest increases/decreases in the % of cardholders with at least 1 maxed-out credit card

Rank Metro % of cardholders with at least 1 maxed-out credit card, August 2022 % of cardholders with at least 1 maxed-out credit card, Q3 2023 % change
1 Raleigh, NC 19.4% 27.0% 39.4%
2 Durham, NC 20.4% 26.8% 31.2%
3 Augusta, GA 22.3% 29.2% 30.9%
4 Atlanta, GA 22.1% 28.6% 29.4%
5 Salt Lake City, UT 17.4% 22.5% 29.0%
6 Albuquerque, NM 19.1% 23.9% 25.2%
7 San Jose, CA 18.6% 23.1% 24.5%
8 Ogden, UT 16.5% 20.4% 23.9%
9 Dallas, TX 22.7% 28.1% 23.6%
10 Austin, TX 22.4% 27.6% 23.3%
11 Baltimore, MD 21.2% 26.0% 22.6%
12 Winston-Salem, NC 22.0% 26.9% 22.4%
13 McAllen, TX 23.8% 29.0% 22.0%
14 San Antonio, TX 25.0% 30.5% 21.9%
15 Portland, OR 18.1% 22.0% 21.8%
16 Columbia, SC 22.6% 27.4% 21.3%
17 Poughkeepsie, NY 22.5% 26.5% 17.7%
18 Greenville, SC 21.7% 25.4% 17.1%
19 Tucson, AZ 20.5% 23.8% 16.0%
20 Springfield, MA 18.9% 21.8% 15.5%
21 Colorado Springs, CO 21.3% 24.5% 14.9%
22 Greensboro, NC 24.6% 28.2% 14.7%
23 Providence, RI 20.5% 23.5% 14.5%
24 Wichita, KS 21.5% 24.5% 13.8%
25 Deltona, FL 21.4% 24.0% 12.4%
26 Charleston, SC 25.5% 28.5% 11.8%
27 Orlando, FL 23.2% 25.9% 11.6%
27 Syracuse, NY 18.1% 20.2% 11.6%
29 Jacksonville, FL 23.4% 26.1% 11.5%
30 Boise, ID 17.0% 18.9% 11.2%
31 Miami, FL 27.4% 30.4% 10.8%
31 Kansas City, MO 18.0% 19.9% 10.8%
33 Denver, CO 20.1% 22.2% 10.6%
34 Cincinnati, OH 20.4% 22.5% 10.4%
35 Virginia Beach, VA 26.1% 28.6% 9.8%
36 El Paso, TX 27.7% 30.3% 9.5%
37 Worcester, MA 20.8% 22.7% 9.4%
37 Albany, NY 18.3% 20.0% 9.4%
39 Washington, DC 23.9% 26.1% 9.3%
40 San Diego, CA 22.7% 24.8% 9.1%
40 St. Louis, MO 19.5% 21.3% 9.1%
40 Seattle, WA 18.8% 20.5% 9.1%
43 Jackson, MS 26.3% 28.6% 9.0%
44 Las Vegas, NV 24.6% 26.7% 8.6%
45 Lakeland, FL 23.9% 25.9% 8.4%
45 Spokane, WA 18.0% 19.5% 8.4%
47 Rochester, NY 17.1% 18.5% 8.3%
48 Cape Coral, FL 22.8% 24.6% 8.1%
49 Chicago, IL 21.4% 23.1% 8.0%
50 Fresno, CA 26.7% 28.8% 7.7%
51 Bakersfield, CA 25.1% 27.0% 7.6%
52 New York, NY 28.4% 30.5% 7.5%
53 Palm Bay, FL 19.1% 20.5% 7.3%
54 San Francisco, CA 21.2% 22.7% 7.1%
55 Boston, MA 22.4% 24.0% 7.0%
56 Tulsa, OK 24.9% 26.0% 4.5%
57 Sacramento, CA 20.5% 21.3% 4.2%
58 Columbus, OH 19.8% 20.6% 4.1%
59 Tampa, FL 23.4% 24.3% 3.9%
59 Detroit, MI 21.6% 22.4% 3.9%
61 Houston, TX 25.4% 26.2% 3.2%
62 Los Angeles, CA 25.3% 26.1% 3.1%
63 Richmond, VA 23.4% 24.0% 2.5%
64 Oxnard, CA 19.9% 20.3% 2.2%
65 Dayton, OH 21.5% 21.8% 1.3%
66 Allentown, PA 23.2% 23.4% 0.9%
67 Philadelphia, PA 24.5% 24.7% 0.8%
68 Riverside, CA 23.4% 23.4% 0.1%
69 Grand Rapids, MI 18.7% 18.7% -0.1%
70 Oklahoma City, OK 23.3% 23.2% -0.3%
70 Toledo, OH 20.9% 20.8% -0.3%
72 Memphis, TN 30.6% 30.5% -0.4%
73 New Haven, CT 25.7% 25.6% -0.5%
74 Phoenix, AZ 22.7% 22.5% -0.7%
75 Madison, WI 16.9% 16.8% -0.8%
76 Honolulu, HI 24.2% 23.8% -1.8%
77 Charlotte, NC 22.1% 21.5% -2.7%
78 Birmingham, AL 26.8% 26.0% -3.0%
78 Harrisburg, PA 22.0% 21.3% -3.0%
80 Cleveland, OH 22.5% 21.7% -3.6%
81 Provo, UT 17.2% 16.5% -4.1%
82 North Port, FL 22.1% 21.1% -4.7%
83 Buffalo, NY 18.7% 17.7% -5.2%
84 Louisville, KY 24.7% 23.2% -6.0%
85 Bridgeport, CT 33.1% 30.8% -7.0%
85 Indianapolis, IN 22.5% 20.9% -7.0%
87 Hartford, CT 22.3% 20.5% -8.2%
88 Akron, OH 22.1% 19.8% -10.5%
89 Stockton, CA 23.8% 20.9% -12.1%
90 Minneapolis, MN 17.4% 15.0% -13.9%
91 Little Rock, AR 30.1% 25.5% -15.2%
92 Omaha, NE 22.5% 19.1% -15.3%
93 Pittsburgh, PA 21.8% 17.7% -18.8%
94 Scranton, PA 25.6% 20.7% -19.1%
95 Baton Rouge, LA 34.0% 26.7% -21.4%
96 Milwaukee, WI 21.9% 17.2% -21.5%
97 Des Moines, IA 21.6% 16.9% -21.7%
98 New Orleans, LA 35.9% 27.5% -23.3%
99 Knoxville, TN 30.9% 23.6% -23.7%
100 Nashville, TN 30.7% 23.1% -24.8%

Source: LendingTree analysis of about 203,000 anonymized credit reports of LendingTree users between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2023, and about 300,000 anonymized credit reports in August 2022, both in the 100 most populous U.S. metros. Note: While we rounded for display, calculations were made with unrounded figures.

Maxing out a credit card often means a major hit to your credit score. However, that damage isn’t irreparable. To help boost your credit after maxing out a card, Schulz offers the following advice:

  • Lower your interest rate. “Interest is a killer for those with credit card debt, but there are things you can do to get it under control,” he says. “A 0% balance transfer credit card may be the best weapon for battling credit card debt. A low-interest personal loan can be great, too, though you won’t get the 0% deal you can get with balance transfer cards. Also, consider asking your card issuer for a lower interest rate. It sounds unlikely, but your chances of success are way better than you think.”
  • Revisit your budget. “You can’t make a meaningful plan to attack credit card debt if you don’t know how much money is coming in and going out of your household each month,” he says. “Once you know that, you can start to shuffle money around based on your priorities, allowing yourself to put more cash toward paying down your debt.”
  • Automate as much as possible. If you’re already maxing out your credit cards, the last thing you need to do is miss a payment. Protect your credit score by signing up to automatically pay your bills each month.
  • Save while paying down debt. “This is how you break that cycle of debt,” Schulz says. “Yes, it may take you longer and cost you more to pay down your debt this way, but it’s OK. That savings will mean that once your credit card balance is down to $0, the next unexpected expense won’t have to go back onto your credit card. That’s a really big deal.”

LendingTree researchers analyzed about 203,000 anonymized credit reports of LendingTree users between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2023, in the 100 most populous U.S. metros to determine the rate of credit cardholders with current balances equal to or exceeding their credit limits on one or more cards.

We also compared these findings to prior research that analyzed about 300,000 anonymized credit reports of LendingTree users in August 2022.

Researchers used the U.S. Census Bureau 2022 American Community Survey with five-year estimates to identify the 100 largest metros.

Source

This article originally appeared on LendingTree and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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This article originally appeared on LendingTree and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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