10 most unreadable credit card contracts
CreditCards.com analysis of major card issuers contracts finds best, worst
When it comes to readability, these credit card agreements are the worst, as measured by readability programs in a CreditCards.com analysis.
The agreements were analyzed using a mathematical formula that determines how many years of education readers need in order to understand the content. The formula is one used for years in literacy and textbook circles called the FOG Index, with FOG standing for Frequency of Gobbledygook.
These contracts are thick with FOG. The 10 most unreadable contracts require a reading level starting at 16.8 years -- or most of the way into someone's first year of post-graduate education. Experts in readability say that contracts should require, at most, a ninth-grade reading level if they are to be widely understood.
Almost all were credit unions, but to be fair, credit unions also occupied every one of the slots on the list of 10 most readable contracts.
|10 MOST UNREADABLE CREDIT CARD AGREEMENTS
|Reading level (years)
|Number of words
||GTE Federal Credit Union
||Langley Federal Credit Union
||Eglin Federal Credit Union
||First Financial Federal Credit Union of Maryland
||Alabama Telco Credit Union
||Sharonview Federal Credit Union
||Teachers Federal Credit Union
||Educators Credit Union
|Source: CreditCards.com analysis of the credit card agreements contained in a database maintained by the Federal Reserve. Under the Credit CARD Act of 2009, all U.S. credit card issuers with more than 10,000 credit card accounts must submit their agreements to Fed every quarter.
See related: MAIN STORY: Credit card agreements unreadable to 4 of 5 Americans, 10 most readable credit card agreements, 10 wordiest credit card agreements, Readability of credit card agreements from biggest 20 banks, How credit card agreements' readability compares to familiar documents, Quotable: What lawmakers, consumer activists, bankers say, 3 language experts try to make sense of a card agreement, Federal database of credit card agreements not user friendly, Video: Consumers try in vain to understand credit card agreements
Published: July 22, 2010