I never thought I’d put an exclamation mark on a sentence about credit card statements, much less be sincerely excited about it, but here we are. You have to pick your battles in life, and clearly-displayed information is one of mine. Educating people about credit card danger is another. Today, I feel like I’ve won a battle, or at least helped.
In addition to the rest of the recent changes to U.S. credit cards, any statement made after Feb. 22 will be including some information about your interest rate, penalties, minimum payments and the like. By law, this information has to be clear and obvious.
On my most recent statement, it looks like the picture below, front and center on the first page. The part that makes me unexpectedly giddy is outlined in red.
If I make only the minimum payment, it will take 11 years to bring the balance to zero. This is obvious to people who had the right education, or who made an extra effort to calculate it for themselves, but now it will be obvious to millions more.
Will it help everybody? No, not everyone looks at their statements, and some of those who do see it won’t let it sink in, or be able to change their behavior right away. But I know that if I had this information on my statements starting around age twenty, I would not have gotten into as big a mess as I did.
Frankly, I was hoping for graphs, or more bold text, but this will do for a start.