Upper middle and high school activity
National Council on Economic Education Standards 11 and 12
Jump$tart Coalition National Standards in Personal Finance: Money Management; Spending and Credit
Credit card confidential: Taking an interest in credit cards
Challenge your students to compare and contrast the offers from various credit card companies to better understand the costs for purchases with plastic. The Federal Reserve Board’s brochure, Choosing a Credit Card, is a recommended resource for this activity. This activity works well for a group or as an individual exercise.
- Collect a number of unsolicited credit card offers. These can be found in newspapers, in magazines, in the mail, at the checkout counter of retail stores, etc. If possible, include some offers made directly to you or another creditworthy adult, and include at least one retail card like Sears or The Gap.
- Ask the class what they think the interest rate is on a credit card. Encourage guessing, and record a number of answers on the board or other display area.
- Divide the class into groups and distribute to each group copies of at least three different card offerings. Give each student or group a copy of Choosing a Credit Card.
- Have each group use the Choosing a Credit Card brochure (especially the section “How do I find information about credit cards?”) to complete the “Credit Card Comparisons” handout with information from the credit card companies’ offers.
- Once the exercise is complete, ask each group to appoint a spokesperson to report something that their group thinks is noteworthy about credit card interest rates and fees.