South Dakota, North Carolina lead nation in new card accounts

Card balances grew 6.6 percent in Q2 2018, while new card accounts rose 15 percent

Sabrina Karl
Personal Finance Writer
Data whiz and visual storyteller


It’s a familiar storyline – Americans’ card balances are growing, though some states’ residents are more credit-hungry than others.  

Experian’s latest release of quarterly credit card data shows Americans carrying a higher collective balance than they did a year before. And some states are adding new accounts and card debt faster than others.

The credit reporting agency recently released its second-quarter credit card data for 2018, revealing that U.S. card balances are up 6.6 percent – from $735 billion in Q2 2017 to $782 billion this year.

The number of new credit card accounts being opened is moving up even faster, rising 15 percent over the second quarter in 2017.

Digging into state-by-state data, Experian found South Dakotans are opening new cards faster than residents of any other state relative to 2017’s rate. Compared to the national average of a 15 percent rise, South Dakota’s year-over-year growth in new accounts is 23.62 percent.

See related: Millennials most likely to carry card balances, survey says

Nine other states saw new card ownership rise roughly 18 to 20 percent compared to Q2 2017, including North Carolina at 20.03 percent, followed by Kentucky, Arizona, West Virginia, Idaho, South Carolina, Florida, Texas and, finally, New Mexico at 18.09 percent.

Looking from the other end of the telescope, Vermont showed the slowest growth in new card accounts, at just 3.35 percent over last year. It was followed in the bottom 10 for slowest new card growth by Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana, New York, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C. and Kansas.

Of the top 10 states for fastest new account growth, four also made an appearance in the top 10 for largest balance increases: Florida, South Carolina, Arizona and North Carolina. All saw debt rise between 7.75 and 8.95 percent year-over-year, compared to the national balance increase of 6.6 percent. 

Experian analyzes the volume of card accounts and balances from its aggregated credit card data every quarter. Its 2018 Q2 results were released Aug. 7. 

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Updated: 03-22-2019