Readability of the credit card agreements from 20 largest issuers
CreditCards.com analyzed the more than 1,200 card agreements in the database for readability, using software that ranks documents in terms of the grade level required to understand them. The higher the grade, the fewer people can understand it. The average American reads at a ninth-grade level.
Here's a look at how the credit card agreements of the 20 largest issuers (based on oustanding balances) fared in the readability analysis.
|READABILITY OF BIG BANKS' CREDIT CARD AGREEMENTS|
|Bank||Average reading grade level of credit card agreement (in years)
||Average number of words in credit card agreements
|First National Bank of Omaha||15.8||6,301
| Wells Fargo Financial National Bank
| Discover Bank
|GE Money Bank||14.7||6,999|
|Target National Bank
|Chase Bank USA, NA
|HSBC Bank Nevada, NA
|USAA Savings Bank||10.5||3,750|
|Wells Fargo Bank, NA
|Bank of America, NA||9
|Citibank (South Dakota), NA||8.2||1,844|
|American Express Travel Related Services||8.2||833|
|American Express Bank, FSB||8.1||1,375|
|Barclays Bank Delaware||8.1||734|
American Express Centurion Bank
|PNC Bank, NA||7.9||950|
|Capital One Bank, NA
|Source: CreditCards.com analysis of the readability of the credit card agreements posted at the Federal Reserve's database. See methodology. Notes: Some banks have more than one credit-card issuing division. The word count is based on the number of words as calculated by readability programs. These programs strip out incomplete sentences and words in headlines or bulleted lists so the actual word count of the credit card agreement may be higher than indicated.|
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, 10 wordiest credit card agreements, 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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