August 11, 2008


All credit card offers are required to include a chart outlining basic rates and fees, referred to as the Schumer Box. This [cost of a credit] summary is named after Senator Charles Schumer, the New York Congressman responsible for the legislation requiring that card terms be clearly outlined in all promotional materials. Credit card companies are required to list long-term rates in at least 18-point type and other key disclosures in 12-point type. Click box to enlarge.

What "The Box" includes:
-- Annual Fee [if applicable]
-- (APR) Annual Percentage Rate [for purchases]
-- Other APRs (balance transfer, cash advances, default ...)
-- Grace Period
-- Finance Calculation Method
-- Other Transaction Fees:
====> Balance Transfers
====> Late Payments
====> Exceeding Credit Limit Fee
====> Cash Advances

All credit card companies will utilize a similar format, making credit card comparison shopping much simpler. Although the Schumer’s Box contains "basic" card terms, there are other terms you should look for in the fine print (i.e., universal default clause, dispute resolution/arbitration, other fees, etc.) ...

Additional Resources.
- Credit Card Selection (11/07)
- Credit Card Trap Widens (10/06)
- Understanding Your Credit Card Statement (01/07)