The recent economic times have led many Californians to rely more heavily on credit cards. But this increasing reliance on credit cards can lead to an increase in credit card debt. One of the biggest downfalls of credit card debt is that carrying a balance on a credit card can affect your credit score in a negative way.

A recent study done by Trans-Union found that Sacramento residents are number 34 among the top 100 cities in average credit scores. The Sacramento average is 674. A credit score ranges from 501, very poor, to 990, which is almost perfect credit.

One benefit of monitoring your credit score is that a high credit score can lead to lower interest rates. This can save thousands of dollars on loans such as mortgages and car loans.

Credit scores are based on financial details such as payment history on credit cards, mortgages and other bills. It can be negatively affected by bankruptcy or other court judgments. Any bill turned over to a collection agency can also affect a credit score.

For many individuals, a reliance on their credit card can put them in serious debt. One common solution to this debt is filing for bankruptcy. This can reduce or eliminate almost all personal debt. But it can have a serious impact on your credit score so it is important to weigh your options carefully.

The good news is that bad things on credit reports will be erased over time. Their significance to your credit score likewise diminishes over time until it ultimately no longer affects it.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, "Personal finance: credit scores in Sacramento area comparatively strong," Claudia Buck, Mar. 3, 2013