KSL INVESTIGATES

Why Utahns struggle more than most of the nation with their credit card bills

Jan 25, 2024, 9:41 PM | Updated: Jan 26, 2024, 11:18 am

Many people find themselves with credit card debt coming out of the holidays. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, financially, if that debt is paid back quickly. But even extending payments out for a couple of months or skipping payments altogether can quickly erase any deals you found on Black Friday.

Here in Utah, specifically, it’s a problem.

“Utah is late on its credit card bills,” said WalletHub editor Christie Matherne.

To be clear, she says delinquencies are increasing across nearly all the United States. But, data WalletHub shared with the KSL Investigators shows Utah had the fourth-highest increase in credit card delinquencies from the third quarter of 2022 to the third quarter of 2023.

“It’s certainly a concerning trend, for sure,” Matherne said.

What’s to blame? The high cost of living.

Despite Utah generally having a strong economy and folks here generally having good credit scores, wages have not kept up with inflation. And we all know housing has become much more expensive over recent years. Matherne says if the trend continues, it could get worse for folks in the Beehive state.

“People tend to declare bankruptcy after they have defaulted on their credit card debts or their other debts,” Matherne said.

If you feel like you’re going to miss a payment, don’t just skip it — be proactive. It’s an awkward conversation, but calling a credit card company and asking permission to skip a payment is better than defaulting. And you may be surprised how often they’ll say yes.

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Why Utahns struggle more than most of the nation with their credit card bills