Jacksonville residents rank high in delayed debt repayment

JACKSONVILLE, NC (WITN) - According to a study released Monday, credit cardholders in Jacksonville, North Carolina take the longest to pay off credit card debt than cardholders in 2,500 all other surveyed cities.

Wallethub released the study Monday that places Jacksonville at the top of a list of cities with the least sustainable credit card debt. On average, people in Jacksonville take the longest amount of time to pay off what they owe on their credit cards, which results in paying more interest.

Local finance experts at Marine Federal Credit Union said they do get a lot of relatively young members in Jacksonville.

The city's average age is just under 23 years old, making it the youngest city in the country.

City officials attribute the relatively young population to the military presence.

The Wallethub study finds Jacksonville has the longest debt payoff timeline of 2,500 U.S. cities with an average of more than 11 and-a-half years.

The debt accrued amount is not a national high with Jacksonville residents with about $3,400 in credit card debt.

However, experts say, young people often choose to make minimum payments, causing their debt to carry on and interest to rack up.

Kim Conard with Marine Federal Credit Union said, "A lot of times when people come to us they are in credit card debt, and we try to consolidate for them to give them a lower payment with a lower interest rate. That way they're paying one person or 2 people, rather than 5 or 6 people. It just will save them (money) over time in interest.

Along with avoiding having too many credit cards, experts say the best way to pay off credit card debt in full each time there's a new bill.

This study did not include the population at Camp Lejeune. However, base officials have said about 70% of service members live off base and many of them are part of the city's population.