Banks Struggle with Credit Card Clarity

How important is it to read the fine print on your next credit card application? It all depends on the credit card you want. A recent study by ranked the top 10 credit card providers based on how upfront they were with their policy information and found that, while some are improving, other issuers are still burying essential information in the fine print.

Capital One (Stock Quote: COF)  and Bank of America (Stock Quote: BAC) ranked the highest in terms of clarity, with scores of 96.4% and 95%. The worst performing issuer was U.S. Bank, which scored only 59.3%.

CardHub evaluated online applications for, when available, two rewards credit cards and two non-rewards credit cards from each provider. The cards received points on a scale of 1 through 10 based on clarity in four categories:

  • How you earn and use reward points.
  • How much you pay in annual fees.
  • The costs to carry a balance for new purchases.
  • The costs of making a balance transfer.

Points were based on how visible this information was within the page, whether applicants had to click to a new page to find pricing information and whether or not they had to read the fine print to find these key components.

The 10 issuers ranked as follows:

  • Capital One: 96.4%
  • Bank of America: 95%
  • Wells Fargo: 87.9%
  • HSBC/Orchard Bank: 86%
  • Discover: 82.5%
  • Citi: 82.1%
  • Chase: 81.4%
  • American Express: 78.3%
  • USAA: 77.5%
  • U.S. Bank: 59.3%

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