Research and Statistics

10 most readable credit card agreements

Unlike the 10 most unreadable credit card agreements, these 10 are a breeze to read. Readability Study finds major card issuers' contracts unreadable by most Americans

Experts in readability say that contracts should require, at most, a ninth-grade reading level if they are to be widely understood. These credit card agreements easily met that test, as measured by readability programs in a analysis of more than 1,200 credit card contracts in a new Federal Reserve database. The agreements were analyzed using the “FOG Index” — a mathematical formula that determines how many years of education readers need in order to understand the content.

RankContract issuerReading level (years)Number of words
1.University of Illinois Employees Credit Union6280
2.ESL Federal Credit Union6.4490
3.Affinity Federal Credit Union6.5395
4.MidFlorida Credit Union6.5309
5.Associated Credit Union6.6421
6.OnPoint Community Credit Union6.6528
7.S.C. State Credit Union6.7424
8.State Department Federal Credit Union6.8615
9.University of Michigan Credit Union6.8447
10.Bank Fund Staff Federal Credit Union6.9441
Source: 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.

See related:MAIN STORY: Credit card agreements unreadable to 4 of 5 Americans, 10 most unreadable credit card agreements, 10 wordiest credit card agreements, Readability of credit card agreements from biggest 20 banksHow 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

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