Spending via credit and debit cards has become an integral part of the modern economy. While that’s a no-brainer today, it would have shocked a few old-timers to hear that plastic would virtually eliminate any need for hard cash.
Despite this growth in popularity, even the dynamic of plastic spending is changing as debit cards are taking the back seat to credit cards. In fact, one consumer payment study found that 40 percent of consumers preferred credit cards as a payment method as compared to 35 percent of consumers who preferred debit cards.
Comparing this to 2013 puts the trend in perspective. Back then, 48 percent of consumers preferred debit cards over the 33 percent who preferred credit cards.
Why are debit cards starting to take the back seat?
To some consumers, the spending flexibility of a credit card is especially appealing and useful. Credit card holders have up to a few hundred to thousands of dollars at their disposal, and there is always the prospect of increased spending power down the road with credit limit increases. On the contrary, debit cards will always be limited by how much money consumers happen to have in their accounts.
A credit card is a more consistent source of funding, and they allow consumers to avoid dipping into their bank accounts until it’s time to pay the credit card bill. Also, they often offer rewards for spending as well as more purchase security. Moreover, they provide a path forward for credit builders who want to qualify for a mortgage or business loan in the future.
With that being said, we thought it would be interesting to see which towns and cities in the United States had the highest overall credit limits, or in other words, we wanted to rank U.S. towns and cities by their spending power. Using Experian’s Premier Aggregated Credit Statistics, we did just that. The results are as follows:
The national average credit card limit per credit card across all U.S. consumers regardless of their credit score was found to be $1,110.
Highest Credit Card Limits in the United States
The statistics used in this report came from two different sources, the Experian Premier Aggregated Credit Statistics dataset (credit limit data, number of credit cards, and ZIP Code™1) and the Onboard Informatics city-level dataset (city name, state name, and ZIP Code™). During analysis, ZIP™ codes were used to join both datasets into one spreadsheet.
All data was originally broken out by ZIP Code™ with several cities and towns being represented by multiple ZIP™ codes. The data was aggregated in Excel to formulate a list of cities with matching state names, county names, and credit limits. Aggregated credit limits and the average number of credit cards per consumer for multi-zip code cities were weighted by population.
The average credit limit is technically defined as the average credit card limit on open revolving credit cards reported in the last six months; it is the overall credit limit incorporating at least one or more credit cards per consumer. The average number of credit cards is simply the average number of cards per consumer in a given area.
Low population cities and towns were eliminated by implementing a 5,000 population cutoff. Afterwards, all cities were ranked in ascending order for average credit limit, and the top 250 results were included in the study.
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1. Experian is a nonexclusive full-service provider licensee of the United States Postal Service®. The following trademarks are owned by the United States Postal Service®: ZIP and ZIP Code. The price for Experian’s services is not established, controlled, or approved by the United States Postal Service.