Alaska Turning to Credit Cards More Than the Rest of the U.S.
Reasons for overspending are varied
ANCHORAGE - According to TransUnion, which keeps track of consumer records nationwide, Alaskan borrowers have the highest credit card debt in the nation at just over $7,000 per borrower.
Borrowers in Colorado are coming in second with an average debt of $5,700 on their credit cards.
The high cost of living, including fuel prices and medical expenses, could be reasons people are turning to credit.
Some Alaskans, including Art and June Reynolds of Anchor Point, aren’t surprised that we are overspending.
“Being Alaskans we're kind of frivolous at times; we see things we want and we buy them, that's not our policy personally -- we spend what we can pay off at the end of the month,” said Art Reynolds.
June Reynolds has a theory on why some Alaskans get in over their head.
“They overspend on their dividend check, they always have, we were here since the first dividend check came out and the bonanza is great but they don't realize they get into a spending habit and they continue on,” she said.
Anchorage resident Matt Novakovich has another theory.
“It's cold in the wintertime, we get bored and when people are bored they spend more money,” he said.
“The desire to go on a vacation is pretty eminent here, for me to get my family out of the state it's three or four thousand dollars just to get the plane tickets… most of us don't have that kind of money so it's and easy thing to jump on and say 'Hey, just use my credit card,'” said Novakovich.
If you think you're overspending, keep in mind what it's doing to your credit rating.
Judith Crotty, Vice President of Community Development with Wells Fargo in Anchorage, says paying debts on time is a way to improve your score.
“Have one or two credit cards, pay your bills on time, know you limit and do not exceed 30 to 50 percent of your credit card limit,” said Crotty.
Banking experts also advise checking your credit report regularly to catch any errors and potentially spot identity theft.
Well Fargo is offering free credit scores for Alaska customers through November 15.