Credit Card Debt Survey Interview with KRIV Houston
Interviewer: We are watching your money this morning. And according to a new survey by CreditCards.com, Houston ranks extremely high when it comes to credit card debt across the country. Now, the Bayou City is number five on the list, but we are not alone. San Antonio actually tops the list, with Dallas coming in second. Joining us now via FaceTime from Austin is Matt Schulz, Senior Industry Analyst with CreditCards.com. Good morning, Matt. Thanks for joining us.
Matt Schulz: Good morning.
Interviewer: Now, why do Texas cities seem to rank so high when it comes to credit card debt?
Schulz: Well, the reality is is that Texas cities don’t necessarily have that much higher credit card balance than other cities, but big cities in Texas don’t necessarily bring home the earnings that the big cities in the northeast or on the west coast do. And that’s what really this survey is all about is how much people earn compared to how much they owe in credit card debt.
Interviewer: Okay, Houston ranks number five on your list, with the average time to pay off the credit card at 14 months, a little bit more than a year, with $363 in interest. What does all of that mean?
Schulz: Well, it means that debt can get out of control in a big hurry if you don’t make payments and you don’t pay that balance off at the end of every month. And that’s really the biggest take away from this survey, is that job number one of any credit card holder is to pay that balance off as soon as you possibly can. And if you can’t do it every month, you absolutely have to pay more than the minimum, ’cause otherwise debt can get out of control.
Interviewer: Okay. So what if you’re overwhelmed by credit card debt? What is your best advice?
Schulz: Well, a piece of advice that a lot of people don’t know is that you can give your credit card issuer a call and ask them to reduce your interest rate. And you can be successful a lot more often than you think. We did a survey and found that only about 20 percent of people have ever asked that of their credit card issuer, but about two thirds of the people who asked were successful. And that’s a big success rate, and can really be impactful to people who have a lot of credit card debt.
Interviewer: Great information. Matt Schulz, thank you for being with us this morning.
Schulz: Thanks for having me.