It would take a typical Californian three-quarters of a year to pay off all their credit card debt, and consumers in just two states are in better financial shape, despite all the pandemic-induced economic turmoil.

A study by Creditcards.com assumed a typical household puts 15% of its paychecks toward eliminating card balances with a median 19.7% interest rate. Creditcard.com noted that its metric does not fully account for the impact of high unemployment. Note, California’s joblessness is third-highest nationally.

The study, using data from Experian, the federal government and its own rate information, found California tied with eight other states in second place for potential debt elimination in nine months. Only the District of Columbia and Massachusetts did better at eight months.

Who scored the worst? Louisiana and Mississippi at 15 months, then Alabama, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and West Virginia at 14. Nationally, card payoff was doable in 11 months.

My trusty spreadsheet tells us credit card debt fell this year — off 4.6% nationally and down 6.7% in California. Balances likely fell as “stay at home” orders reduced spending opportunities and stimulus checks boosted savings.

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How did California rank in the key parts of this bill-paying metric?

Total card balance: California was 20th largest at $7,905 median owed. Tops were Alaska at $9,858, then Virginia at $8,846 and Maryland at $8,789. Smallest balance? Wisconsin at $6,504, then Iowa at $6,650 and South Dakota at $7,073. Nationally, debt balance was $7,906.

Household income: California’s median was sixth-highest at $80,440. Highest? Washington, D.C. at $92,266, then Maryland at $86,738 and Massachusetts at $85,843. Lowest? Mississippi at $45,792, West Virginia at $48,850 and Arkansas at $48,952. Nationally? $65,003.

Total payoff: Californians would need $8,534 to pay off card debts, including interest, in the estimated timeframe. That was the 27th highest among the states. Biggest tab? Alaska at $10,904, Texas at $9,769 and Virginia at 9,673. Lowest? Wisconsin at $7,038, Iowa at $7,230 and Minnesota at $7,664. And nationally? $8,685.

Overall card-repayment rankings: California was sixth-best for 2020 — the same as the year before. Best? Massachusetts then Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin. Worst? Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

By the way, “blue” states (those that went for President-elect Joe Biden) averaged 3% more card debt than “red” states, those that supported President Trump in the 2020 election. But blue states had 23% higher incomes. So the debt-burden rankings averaged 18th best in blue states and 34 for red states.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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