10 wordiest credit card agreements
Of all the contracts from major issuers, these droned on the longest
If brevity is the soul of wit, these are 10 witless credit card contracts.
A CreditCards.com analysis of the credit card agreements in a new Federal Reserve database measured the documents for readability -- and length. These were the 10 longest. The average card agreement was 3,771 words.
The champion for verbosity is Fifth Third Bancorp, which had three agreements in the top 10. The biggest weighs in at nearly 21,000 words and requires a reading level of someone who's been to college a few years.Close behind in second place is the agreement from Commerce Bank, which also topped 20,000 words, but was at a ninth-grade reading level, which experts say is desirable if you want most people to understand what they're reading.
Even a readable document becomes less friendly at such bulk. The average person can read about 250 words a minute, which means a 20,000-word document would require an hour and 20 minutes to digest.
|10 WORDIEST CREDIT CARD AGREEMENTS
||Number of words
||Reading level (years)
|1.||Fifth Third Bancorp||20,799||14.5|
|2.||Commerce Bank, NA||20,463||9.5|
|4.||Bellco Credit Union||16,724||15.4|
|5.||Amegy Bank of Texas||16,164||15.8|
|6.||1st Financial Bank USA||15,108||15.8|
|7.||IBM Southeast Employees' Federal Credit Union||14,667||15.7|
|8.||Fifth Third Bancorp||14,419||15
|9.||Fifth Third Bancorp||12,9741||14.7|
|10.||GE Money Bank||11,411
|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 the Fed every three months. Banks can appear more than once because they can issue more than one type of credit card.|
See related: MAIN STORY: Credit card agreements unreadable to 4 of 5 Americans, 10 most unreadable credit card agreements, 10 most readable 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
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