Houston's credit card debt is front and center with the release of a new report, and it reveals a pretty big burden for local spenders.
A study from CompareCards.com finds that the average credit card user in Houston has a credit card utilization rate of 32.7 percent and a balance of $5,587, ranking No. 5 out the 50 largest metros in the country.
Credit card utilization rates — a credit card's balance compared to its spending limit — is "the second-most important factor in credit scoring formulas behind your payment history — how often you pay your bills on time — so it’s a big deal," the site notes. Financial experts generally recommend keeping spending to no more than 30 percent of a card's limit, which is bad news for the average Houston credit card user.
For the study, CompareCards.com compared user data from My LendingTree from September 2017 with data from September 2018.
Only one other Texas city struggles more than Houston with mounting debt and high utilization rates. San Antonio has the highest credit card utilization rate of the cities on the list, at 35.1 percent and with the average credit card balance of $5,477.
Austin ranks No. 32; credit card holders there are using 29.7 percent of their limit and carry a balance of $5,878. Dallas-Fort Worth is next, 33rd, with average credit card holders using 29.6 percent of their limit and carrying a balance of $5,343.
Credit card holders in the San Francisco Bay Area have the lowest utilization rates in the U.S. San Francisco-Oakland ranks No. 49 at 26 percent, while San Jose ranks No. 50 with 23.8 percent.