Americans rack up holiday credit card balances

This holiday season many reports indicated consumers increased their credit card spending to make purchases for friends and family. However, a new study by Experian found the amount of debt accrued in December varied substantially by city.

Of the top five cities with the most credit card debt in December 2010, two were located in Texas. Residents of San Antonio held the highest amount of debt, holding an average balance of $5,177. This was 20.9 percent more than the national average.

In addition, Dallas-Fort Worth residents placed fifth in the credit scoring company’s study, according to the report. Residents of this city held more than $4,900 in debt, 15.2 percent above the national average.

“By carrying over credit card balances and utilizing a significant portion of their available balance, they can potentially negatively affect their credit scores, which can in turn, hurt them when it comes to applying for other types of credit down the line including mortgages and car loans,” said Maxine Sweet, vice president of public education at Experian.

While many consumers carried significant debt into the new year, recent studies show Americans have been better at paying back their borrowing, as both delinquencies and defaults have seen major declines.