Credit Card Applications: Too Complex for Some or do People Just Sign and Go?

by Brian Riley 0

I’m the kind of person that reads anything that I sign my name to, whether it is the long End User Licensing Agreements (EULA) that come with Microsoft’s Windows 10, the disclaimer on an auto repair bill, or any credit card agreement that I sign. It’s just how I roll. If you are going to sign a contract, you should at least enter into it knowing what your responsibilities are.

A recent analysis by CreditCards.Com reviewed in NBC News cites some scary numbers. According to the article, credit card contracts “are typically written at the 11th grade reading level. But half of Americans read at the 9th grade level or below”.

The article continues. “By comparison, ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is written at the 8th -grade level.’”

The CFPB has their own model for the credit card agreement, which is simple and condensed to about 2 pages.

Not sure which is scarier. Is it that issuers need to bring credit card applications down to the 8th-grade reading level as the HSBC Platinum Rewards card did, or that people will sign contracts that they don’t understand.

…maybe I’m just a payments geek, but I suggest you never sign something you don’t read and understand first!

Overview by Brian Riley, Director, Credit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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