The single most important factor in your credit scores is what your payment history looks like. Your payment history accounts for approximately 35% of your credit scores, so, any late payment is going to have an immediate impact.
In 2017, Americans averaged less than one late payment (0.38 to be exact) per billing cycle on their credit card, auto, mortgage, student loan, and retail card payments reviewing the data from the annual State of Credit report.
That may seem pretty low (and it is), however, it's not quite as low as it was the year before. Late payments per billing cycle were up 3% in 2017 vs. the prior year. Some states, however, average far more late payments than others.
Americans averaged less than one late payment per billing cycle in 2017.
Texas State Leads the Nation in Unpaid Bills
Texas ranked #1 for the highest late-payment average in 2017. Louisiana ranks second, followed by South Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee. One trend that stands out is the fact that every one of the top states for late payment is in the south and all 10 had credit scores below the national average of 675.
The West South Central region (Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas) had the highest late-payment average while the South Atlantic region (South Carolina, West Virginia, Georgia and Florida) combined for the most states in the top ten.
States in the South accounted for 16 of the top 30 states ranked for highest late payment average in 2017.
|Top 10 States With the Most Late Payments in 2017|
More on the Lonestar State
While Texas is still averaging less than one late payment per billing cycle, the state ranked #1 for the highest late-payment average rate in 2017—increasing 12% from 2016.
16 cities in Texas ranked among the top 30 cities with the highest average late payments in the US.
Looking at the state's data by generation shows Millennials and Gen Xers tied with the highest average late payments, with almost 1 late payment per billing cycle. Millennials also saw the largest increase average late payments in 2017 with a 35% gain. Boomers, Gen Z, and the Silent generation all had a late payment average that was less than one late payment per billing cycle.
|Average Late Payments by Generation in Texas|
|Generation||2017 Late Payments||YoY Change|
The best advice for late payments is simplest—pay your bills on time—and understand how late payments play a role in your credit scores.
Check out more here: The States With the Fewest Late Payments
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication.
This article was originally published on February 6, 2018, and has been updated.