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Credit card debt still exceeds nine figures in many states

Jan 31, 2011 Brian Bradley

Indicators show that the national economy is improving, but one pivotal metric of consumer worth remains at frightening levels - credit card debt. According to new data from Equifax, Americans are still saddled with so much credit card debt that it not only affects their credit reports, but their personal financial value as well. The credit reporting agency found that some consumers have approximately 17 percent of their total net worth tied to their credit cards - a significant statistic as individuals try to meet other day-to-day requirements such as mortgage and car payments. The Federal Reserve shows that total consumer debt decreased by 8.2 percent from a high of $11.5 trillion in October 2008, but credit card debt alone still stands at more than $800 billion. "The good news is we're seeing Americans paying off their debts and becoming more fiscally fit," says Dianne Bernez, Equifax's senior vice president for corporate communications. "However, the numbers show that while people's intentions are good, Americans still have a lot of debt to tackle and often don't know where to start." Currently, California and Florida residents possess the most credit card debt, reaching totals of more than $90 billion and $47 billion, respectively.