SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire -03/14/12)- CreditKarma.com, the consumer's credit advocate, today released its U.S. Credit Score Climate Report with trend data for February 2012. Since January, credit card debt increased slightly to $6,105. Despite this increase, credit card debt is still down 15 percent year-over-year.
In February 2012, the average consumer with an account had:
- $170,312 in home mortgage debt
- $46,979 in home equity debt
- $15,378 in auto loans
- $28,404 in student loan debt
Since last month, the average credit score decreased two points to 659 nationally. New Jersey (681), Massachusetts (679) and California (677) posted the highest credit scores while Mississippi (624), Arkansas (634) and Louisiana (635) posted the lowest. Those same states also have the most and least amount of credit card debt with New Jersey ($7,145), Massachusetts ($6,441) and California ($6,065) posting the most debt and Mississippi ($4,693), Arkansas ($5,477) and Louisiana ($5,123) the least.
"You have to use credit to improve your credit score. That is why states with higher credit scores tend to have a higher cost of living. Consumers in those states need credit for things like mortgages and other living expenses," said Ken Lin, CEO of CreditKarma.com. "In the states like Mississippi with a low median mortgage value, credit becomes less important. Consumers need less money for a home so credit and debt usage tends to be lower."
Other key findings include:
- Out of all the U.S. regions, the Northeast carries the most student loan debt ($30,397) followed by the Midwest ($28,222), the South ($28,167) and the West ($27,350).
- Only three states paid down their auto loan debt since last month including Rhode Island by two percent to $13,031, Hawaii by one percent to $15,693 and Maine by .1 percent to $13,421. South Dakota and New Mexico increased their auto loan debt the most at seven percent to $15,605 and $18,111 respectively.
Each month, the CreditKarma.com 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 442,102 CreditKarma.com user scores.
CreditKarma.com provides more than 4 million consumers with free credit scores and access to free credit monitoring to help them realize the everyday cost savings of having good credit by offering personalized savings recommendations for credit cards, student, auto, mortgage and home equity loans. It also provides financial education and access to free tools that empower consumers to take charge of their financial health including the Credit Report Card, Credit Score Simulator and Credit Card Statistics. To learn more, visit www.creditkarma.com.