QoD: 90% of credit card company terms and conditions require reading at what grade level?

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Mar 06, 2019
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Credit Cards, Question of the Day, Personal Finance, Research

Answer: College 

Questions:

  • Do you think it's important to read the terms and conditions for financial products? Why or why not?
  • Did you ever wish that you had read the terms and conditions for anything that you have ever bought? Explain. 
  • What do you think are some terms that you would want to know about before signing up for a credit card? 

Here's the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

Behind the numbers (from Visible Thread): 

In Q4 of 2018, VisibleThread conducted research into credit card terms to see if leading card providers communicate clearly with their audience. The results clearly showed this not to be the case:

  • 90% of Terms & Conditions require a college education to be understood.
  • Outsourcing credit card services alienates up to 60.8% of customers.
  • Only one (out of 50) sets of terms is easier to read than Moby Dick.
  • Only 2 sets of terms have an acceptable complex word density.
  • All sets of terms analyzed communicate in an academic tone with overuse of passive voice.
  • No credit card sets of terms score at the recommended level of long sentences.

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So, we know this is challenging reading...but we still need to do it! We have Fine Prints focused on reading, yes, you guessed it, the fine print. Here's our Fine Print: Credit Card Agreement.

 

 

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.