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Salem residents rank 421st in national credit card debt

Insurmountable credit card debt has caused untold amounts of stress and suffering for Massachusetts families. Even if a cardholder is able to pay the minimum monthly payment, finance charges will continue to accumulate, extending the amount of time it will take to pay off the balance.

A recent analysis of credit card debt in over 2,500 U.S. cities shows the extent of the problem. The CardHub website looked at the average credit card debt in each city and calculated an affordable average monthly payment based on the median income for that city. They assumed a 14 percent average rate of interest. The website then calculated the number of months it would take residents of each city to pay off their balances, and the finance charges they would incur in doing so.

Salem was tied with several other cities for 421st place out of the 2,547 cities surveyed. Salem residents have an average of $5,305 in credit card debt. According to CardHub's analysis, it will take the average resident 34 months to pay off this balance, at a cost of $1,159 in finance charges.

The Silicon Valley community of Cupertino, California placed first in the analysis. Residents there have $4,703 in average credit card debt but, given their relatively high median income, will need only 10 months to pay off their balances, for a cost of $309. The worst city for unsustainable credit card debt was College Station, Texas with an average debt of $5,601. After the local median income is taken into account, residents there will need over 32 years to pay off their balances, at a whopping finance charge cost of $25,221.

When credit card debt gets out of control, a personal bankruptcy filing can offer a way out. Depending on the debtor's income and other circumstances, either Chapter 7 liquidation or a Chapter 13 wage-earner's plan may be the best way to stop creditor harassment and get a fresh financial start.

Source:, "2016's Cities with the Highest & Lowest Credit Card Debts," Richie Bernardo, Jan. 6, 2016

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