With the changes included in the Credit Card Act, credit card companies are now required to give users more info on their monthly statements. My colleague over at Five Cent Nickel has whipped up an informative graphic that provides an anatomy of a credit card statement:
These changes are designed to help credit card users become more aware of the costs associated with using credit.
While I think these changes are good, I’m skeptical they’ll do anything to help those who are struggling with debt problems. When I was addicted to credit, I was well aware of the costs associated with my habit. Math wasn’t the problem — psychology was the problem, and no number of changes to a credit card statement would have made a difference.
Also, I wonder how many folks actually receive paper statements nowadays? I’m sure most older people do, but how many people in their twenties actually opt to receive a credit card statement in the mail? I’ll bet that most folks are like me, and instead keep things completely electronic. It’s possible that many young adults with credit problems will never even see the new, “improved” statement.
All the same, I approve of any step that might make consumers more aware of the dangers of credit card abuse. The new statement format may only help a handful of people, but I still call that a win.
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