Holiday shoppers should check their credit reports

A number of consumers relied on their credit cards to make their holiday purchases, and now, two months later, some are still struggling to repay their debt. As a result, some may benefit from credit repair.

Experian, one of the nation's three major credit bureaus, recently identified cities that racked up the highest average balances this past December.

San Antonio and Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas, reported the first and fifth highest average credit card balances, respectively. At $5,177, San Antonio consumers had an average balance that was 20.9 percent higher than the national figure, while Dallas-Forth Worth residents were 15.2 percent above the national average.

"By carrying over credit card balances and utilizing a significant portion of their available balance, they can potentially negatively affect their credit scores, which can in turn, hurt them when it comes to applying for other types of credit down the line including mortgages and car loans," said Maxine Sweet, vice president of public education at Experian.

While some consumers may see their scores drop because of their inability to pay their bills on time, those who have been able to manage their accounts responsibly may still see negative changes to their credit standing. This is because creditors and credit bureaus may mistakenly record information on your credit report, such as unfairly marking an account delinquent.

If you find a questionable item on your credit report that you think stems from a mistake or an error, you may be able to investigate and dispute the claim. Often, working with a credit repair company will help resolve a problematic item to ensure your credit report doesn't suffer.