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Alaska leads nation in credit card debt

State has median debt of $3,384, study shows

Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2008

NEW YORK - Alaska leads all states with the highest median credit card debt of $3,384, according to a study released Wednesday.

New Hampshire came in second with a median of $2,109 in debt followed by Connecticut with $2,094, according to the study by Americans for Fairness in Lending. The study was based on 2006 year-end information from TransUnion, one of the nation's credit bureaus.

Americans for Fairness in Lending, which advocates for stricter credit card regulations, said the amounts reported were likely lower than other estimates since they were for individuals, rather than households. The figures were also for the median borrower, which is the one in the middle of the list, rather than the average of all borrowers.

The states with the lowest median credit card debt- Mississippi, Iowa, West Virginia - had median amounts of $1,098, $1,135 and $1,237, respectively.

Rounding out the top 10 list of states with highest median debt were Maryland, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia, Delaware, Washington and Massachusetts, in that order.

The study was released as the Federal Reserve considers adopting regulations to stop card companies from a range of usurious practices.

"Unfair practices by credit card companies are fueling these high debt levels," Jim Campen, executive director of Americans for Fairness in Lending, said in a news release. "Consumers are victims of a range of abuses such as doubling and tripling interest rates, applying higher interest rates retroactively to outstanding balances, imposing exorbitant penalty fees, and requiring binding mandatory arbitration clauses."



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