SOURCE: Credit Karma

December 09, 2009 06:00 ET

Consumer Credit Card Debt Increases in November in Most U.S. Regions

San Francisco and Kansas City Metropolitan Statistical Areas Are the Only Regions Where Credit Card Debt Decreased in November, According to Credit Karma

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - December 9, 2009) - Credit Karma (www.creditkarma.com), the consumer's advocate for demystifying credit, today released its U.S. Credit Score Climate Report with trend data for November 2009. Amongst consumers with a credit card, credit card debt increased 4% nationally from October and 14% since June. The San Francisco and Kansas City Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) were the only regions where consumers with a credit card paid down their debt. In San Francisco and Kansas City, credit card debt declined by 4% and 9% respectively.

In November, the average consumer with an open account had:

--  $7,879 in credit card debt
--  $186,759 in home mortgage loans
--  $53,516 in home equity
--  $14,818 in auto loans
--  $26,726 in student loans
    

"For the second straight month, consumers have increased their credit card spending after spending much of the year paying down debt," says Ken Lin, CEO of Credit Karma. "We anticipate this trend will continue through December due to holiday shopping and hopefully will notice consumers paying down credit card debt again in 2010."

In addition, credit scores are on the rise for many consumers with 40% of consumers increasing their credit scores in November. However, despite the high percentage of increasing credit scores, the average credit score is down five points since January 2009. The current average credit score is 671.

Here are some other key findings:

--  The South and Midwest regions had the highest percentage of increasing
    credit scores.  In November, 40% of consumers in the South and Midwest
    increased their credit scores, while 28% of consumers' credit scores
    decreased and 32% of consumers' credit scores stayed the same. Despite this
    high percentage of increasing credit scores, consumers in the South and
    Midwest still have the lowest credit scores nationwide at 661 and 668
    respectively.
    
--  Among states, Maryland had the highest percentage of increasing credit
    scores. 43% of consumers were able to increase their credit scores in
    November. In addition, 25% of credit scores decreased and 32% remained
    stable. The average credit score in Maryland is 671.
    
--  Among MSAs, Kansas City had the highest percentage of increasing
    credit scores with 43% of consumers increasing their credit score. In
    addition, 23% of credit scores decreased and 34% remained stable. The
    average credit score in Kansas City is 684, which is 13 points above the
    national average.
    


Methodology

Each month, the Credit Karma U.S. Consumer Credit Score Climate Report compares the current credit scores of its user base with previous scores pulled at least 30 days prior and no more than 90 days prior to the stated month. This month's report includes a comparison of more than 86,000 Credit Karma user scores.

About Credit Karma

Credit Karma, the consumer's advocate for demystifying credit, is the only Web site that provides consumers free access to their credit score, plus a range of tools and information resources to help them monitor and manage the credit aspect of their financial health. Credit Karma's goal is to help consumers easily digest the contents of their credit report and understand what makes up their credit score. Credit Karma works with a range of partners, including mortgage lenders, credit card providers, banks, and wireless providers. For more information, visit www.creditkarma.com.

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