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Credit Card Debt in Florida

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Credit cardholders in Florida have some of the highest average balances in the nation, according to a new report from LendingTree.

The average Florida cardholder owes $7,049 on their credit card, the seventh-highest total in the country.

The trouble doesn’t stop there, though. The Sunshine State rates above the national average in every card-debt-related category we looked at for this report – from cards owned to utilization rates to late payments.

We take a close look at the state of credit card debt in Florida, both how it compares to other states and how the state’s 10 largest metropolitan areas (also referred to as cities in this report) compare to each other.

It’s not just about numbers, though. We also answer some commonly asked questions around credit card debt rules and regulations in Florida.

Click below to learn more.

How much credit card debt does the average Floridian have?

$7,049.

That’s a big number for Florida. It’s one of only seven states to top the $7,000 debt mark, and it is the only southern state to do so.

The highest and lowest states for credit card debt are New Jersey and Kentucky, with $7,872 and $5,441, respectively.

What percentage of Floridians are currently at least 30 days late with a credit card payment?

6.7%

That’s slightly above the national average of 6.4%, but it still is just the 21st-highest percentage in the U.S. Given that Floridians’ overall card debt is so high, the fact that they rank only in the middle of the pack nationally when it comes to late payments is a good sign. It shows that Florida credit cardholders are managing to make payments even as their debt grows.

How many credit cards does the average Floridian have?

6.1, which ties Florida with Rhode Island and New York for the third highest total in the nation.

Two other northeastern states – New Jersey at 6.7 cards per cardholder and Connecticut at 6.3 per cardholder – top the list. Alaska (4.5 cards per cardholder) has the lowest average.

These totals include both retail cards and general-purpose credit cards.

What’s the average credit card utilization rate in Florida?

39.0%.
That’s just above the national average of 37.7% and ranks Florida as the 18th highest in the nation, where it is tied with North Dakota, South Dakota and Virginia.

It also puts these cardholders in dangerous waters when it comes to their credit score. A utilization rate – your balance compared with your available credit – is the second-most important factor in the FICO credit scoring formula, and a rate of 39% would likely bring down your credit score.

When it comes to utilization, the lower the rate, the better.

What percentage of Floridians currently have a maxed-out credit card?

6.1%.
Once again, Floridians come in above the national average (5.9%) but only slightly. The number ranks 20th highest in the nation, tied with Michigan.

Near Florida, Mississippi has the nation’s highest percentage of maxed-out cards at 10.1%, while Oregon has the lowest at 3.7%.

Which Florida cities have the most and least credit card debt?

Miami residents have the highest credit card debt among the state’s 10 biggest metropolitan areas, while Deltona has the lowest.

The gap between the top and bottom cities was significant. Miami cardholders owed more than $1,200 than those in Deltona.

Which Florida cities have the highest and lowest percentage of cardholders who are at least 30 days late with a card payment?

Lakeland has the highest percentage of late payers among the state’s 10 most populated metro areas and North Port (a metropolitan area which also includes Bradenton and Sarasota) has the lowest.

Again, the difference between the top and bottom was big. A Lakeland cardholder was 44% more likely to be late than one from North Port.

Which Florida cities have the most and fewest credit cards?

Miami cardholders have the most cards (6.4 cards per cardholder), which perhaps shouldn’t be surprising, given that they also have the highest average debt. At the bottom of the list was Pensacola at 5.3 cards.

Which cities have the highest and lowest credit card utilization rates in Florida?

Jacksonville and Lakeland have the highest utilization rate, a far-too-high 43.2%, while North Port has the lowest at 32.4%.

Even though there’s a big difference between the top and the bottom of the list, all of these areas’ residents need to work on reducing their utilization rate. Experts have long recommended a 30% utilization rate as a good goal for those struggling with debt, but the truth is the more you can do to reduce that rate, the better off you’ll be. Sure, you may not be able to get it all the way down to 0% – but that should always be your aim.

Which Florida cities have the highest and lowest percentage of cardholders with a maxed-out credit card?

More bad news for Jacksonville residents and more good news for cardholders from North Port. These two cities had the highest and lowest percentages of cardholders with maxed-out credit cards, respectively.

In Jacksonville, 7.8% of cardholders have a maxed-out card. That’s a full percentage point higher than any other of the state’s 10 biggest metro areas and far higher than the percentage seen in North Port (4.5%).

Complete data table

Credit card laws in Florida

Credit card laws can vary widely from state to state. Here are some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Florida laws related to credit cards.

What is the statute of limitations on collecting credit card debt in Florida?

Four years.

Different types of debts have different statutes of limitations in Florida. For so-called open-ended accounts – such as credit cards – the window is four years. For other written contracts, the window is five years.

Can your wages be garnished for credit card debt in Florida?

Yes, in most cases.

Collectors have to get a court judgment against you first, but generally speaking, creditors can garnish your wages.

In Florida, a creditor can garnish “25% of your disposable income or the amount by which your disposable income exceeds 30 times federal minimum wage, whichever is less,” according to NOLO.com.

Are credit card surcharges legal in Florida?

A credit card surcharge is a fee a merchant makes you pay when you make a purchase using a credit card. There is a law on the books in Florida that bans these surcharges. However, federal courts ruled that the law was unconstitutional, which opened the doors for merchants to once again charge these fees.

Sources

  • More than 1 million anonymized LendingTree users’ credit reports from January 2021 through February 2021
  • United States Census Bureau population data
  • VanHornLawGroup.com
  • NOLO.com
  • MyFloridaLegal.com