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Credit Card Debt In Pennsylvania

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If you’re looking for the state that exemplifies what the rest of America looks like when it comes to credit card debt, Pennsylvania is probably the right place to start.

LendingTree reviewed anonymized credit report data from more than a million of our users to get a sense of the state of credit card debt in America. We looked at data on card debt, late payments, maxed-out cards, how many credit cards the average person has and more.

In each of those categories, we found the same thing: Cardholders in Pennsylvania were a near match — and in some cases an exact match — with the averages we saw for the country as a whole. For example, the average Pennsylvania cardholder holds $6,527 in credit card debt and the national average is $6,569.

Scroll down to read more about credit card debt in Pennsylvania. Beyond the nationwide numbers, we compare the largest metropolitan areas in the state to see which residents are faring the best.

Finally, we also answer some frequently asked questions about credit card rules and laws in the Keystone State.

How much credit card debt does the average Pennsylvanian have?

$6,527.

That’s just slightly less than the national average of $6,569 and puts Pennsylvania cardholders right in the middle of the pack nationally.

Several of Pennsylvania’s closest neighbors are among those with the highest credit card averages in the nation, including New Jersey, where the average cardholder owes $7,872 – the highest balance in the U.S.

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

6.5%.

That’s just a tick above the national average of 6.4%, good for 22nd place in the nation.

Mississippi cardholders have the highest percentage of those who are at least 30 days late with a credit card payment (10.5%), while Vermont has the lowest percentage at 4.3%.

How many credit cards does the average Pennsylvanian have?

5.8 cards per cardholder.

That puts Pennsylvania in 10th place nationally, tied with Maryland and New Hampshire.

It may be a little surprising that Keystone State cardholders have that many cards, considering their average debt levels and below-average propensity for late payments.

That number includes both general purpose credit cards and store credit cards.

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

37.7%.

That ranks 28th in the nation, exactly matching the national average.

However, even if it isn’t among the highest in the nation, Pennsylvania’s utilization rate – which measures the amount of debt compared to their available credit — is still higher than it should be. The ultimate goal is to get that rate down to 0% by not carrying a balance, but if you do carry a balance, the lower it is, the better.

This matters a great deal because utilization is the second-most important factor in FICO credit scoring formulas, behind only payment history. A really high utilization rate can do real damage to your credit score.

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

5.7%.

Again, Pennsylvanians are close to the national average (5.9%). They’re tied for 25th in the nation with their neighbors in Ohio.

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

The state’s largest metropolitan area also has the most credit card debt. Cardholders in Philadelphia owe $6,967 on their credit cards on average, while Erie cardholders owe just $5,841.

Erie’s total is more than $500 lower than any of the state’s other large metropolitan areas.

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

Erie and Scranton (7.7%) have the highest percentage of cardholders who are currently at least 30 days late, while Allentown (5.8%) has the lowest among the state’s largest metropolitan areas.

Which Pennsylvania cities have the most and fewest credit cards?

Scranton cardholders have the most credit cards (6.3 cards per cardholder), while those in Lancaster (5.2) have the fewest.

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

Scranton and Erie (both at 39.6%) have the highest credit card utilization rates among the state’s biggest metropolitan areas.

Lancaster has the lowest at 35.9%.

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

Erie and Scranton have the highest percentage of cardholders with a maxed-out card at 6.4%. Allentown has the smallest percentage at 4.8%.

Complete data table

Credit card laws in Pennsylvania

Credit card laws vary state by state throughout the country, which can make them very confusing. Below are answers to some of the most often asked questions about credit card laws in Pennsylvania.

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

Four years.

When it comes to the statute of limitations on debt, the clock typically starts to run about 30 days after the last payment date, though that can vary. It is also important to remember that if you submit a payment after the four years have passed, the clock can reset and that debt can become collectible again.

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

No, in most cases, creditors cannot garnish your wages for credit card debt in Pennsylvania. Even threatening to do so might be against the law.

However, your bank account can be garnished in some cases if the creditor gets a court judgment against you.

Are credit card surcharges legal in Pennsylvania?

Yes.

State law does not prohibit credit card surcharges in Pennsylvania.

Sources

  • More than 1 million anonymized LendingTree users’ credit reports from January 2021 through February 2021
  • United States Census Bureau population data
  • BankruptcyLawyerPA.com
  • GregArtim.com
  • NCSL.org