About 95% of borrowers in the 100 largest U.S. metro areas are paying their bills on time. And here’s where they’re not.
This might make you want to move to a different city.
People who live west of the Rockies are most likely to repay their credit card bill on time, according to a new LendingTree study. The loan consulting firm and lender analyzed data from more than 9 million Americans’ credit card reports in the first quarter of 2018, and ranked the 100 largest U.S. metro areas by the percentage of residents with at least one account overdue on their credit report.
And Provo, Utah had the lowest percentage (5.97%) of residents with at least one late payment. In fact, 96% of Provo residents are current on their bills. It was also named the third safest place to raise a family in a recent SmartAsset report. The average family spends just 21.5% of their income on housing costs there — which is significantly less than other cities in the U.S.
San Francisco, Calif. residents are also in good standing. The City by the Bay comes in second on the LendingTree list with only 6.07% of locals reporting at least one late payment. In fact, Californians are more likely to be on top of their bills in general, as four out of the top 10 areas on the list include Sacramento (No. 3), San Jose (No. 7) and Los Angeles (No. 9). This may have to do with the fact that these three cities also topped the list of best cities to get a job this year, based on recent Indeed report.
On the other end, those living in the Northeast and in the South are most likely to be late on bill payments in this report. Winston-Salem, N.C. had the highest rate of people (9.53%, or almost one in 10) showing a late payment on their credit card report. And things are not much better for Scranton, Pa. at No. 99, where 9.52% of residents had at least one late payment. And Pennsylvania isn’t boding too well for young people, either, as it landed as one of the places losing millennials, who don’t rank it high on the places where they want to live.
New Haven, Conn. (No. 97) and Worcester, Mass. had comparable delinquent accounts, where 9.40% and 9.04% of residents, respectively, have been late on paying their bills at least once
Income also a lot to do with it, as the cities where people make higher salaries are the ones where more people pay their bills on time; because they have the cash flow to cover their expences. “In general, it’s true that the metros at the top of the list have higher incomes than those at the bottom,” Kali McFadden, senior research analyst at LendingTree, told Moneyish. And although there are a few exceptions to this observation — for example, the Bridgeport, Conn. metro, which has the highest average income on the list of cities, is pretty far down on the list at No. 68, Kali added.
Meanwhile, student debt could also play a factor in late payments for metros in the bottom half of the list, Kali explained. “The lists seem to loosely correlate with our findings earlier this year about which metros owe the most in student debt,” she said, pointing out that Washington, D.C., Little Rock, Jackson, and Columbia, S.C. all came in at the top of the list for student debt and ranked higher on places where people pay their bills on time than one might expect relative to local incomes.
But while about 95% of borrowers in the 100 areas ranked are current on their bills, on average, people have six past late payments on their credit report, affecting chances of getting a loan or finance later on, according to the study. In fact, late bill payments can stay on a credit report for up to seven years.
But not all payments count toward your credit score, Erin Lowry, financial blogger and author of “Broke Millennial,” previously told Moneyish, so its important to prioritize the ones (after your rent and utilities, of course) that matter more. “If you run into an issue with your budget and are unable to make all your payments, then you should reach out proactively to those who will report late payments and discuss the situation to see if there’s anything that can be done to give you a grace period to make the payment,” she said.
For more tips on how to stay on top of your credit and tackle debt, read this.
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