# Money Math for Teens. Before You Choose a Credit Card

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1 Money Math for Teens Before You Choose a Credit Card

2 This Money Math for Teens lesson is part of a series created by Generation Money, a multimedia financial literacy initiative of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, Channel One News and America Saves. Special thanks to Rudy Gawron for preparing the lesson and to Jill Sulam of Transformations Editing LLC for editorial guidance. Money Math for Teens. Copyright 2014 by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation or FINRA Foundation. Reproduction for nonprofit, educational purposes is permitted and encouraged. All rights reserved.

3 Lesson Plan OBJECTIVE To inform students about the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between credit cards and how to choose the right card for their individual needs. Students will be able to: Identify different types of credit cards Evaluate the differences between credit offers Understand typical fees associated with credit accounts Calculate the minimum monthly payment required on a credit card Determine how to avoid finance charges. TEACHING MATERIALS Lesson plan with answer key for student assessment Before You Choose a Credit Card student handout Student assessment worksheet LESSON ACTIVITY 1. Informally assess students prior knowledge through a group discussion. Ask: How many different types of credit cards are there? What horror stories have you heard about credit cards? What kinds of behavior do you think could lead to financial trouble? Are you aware of rewards programs? What kinds of programs have you heard of? 2. Present the student handout through the Credit Card Fees section, continuing the discussion with the following questions: How can a credit card be a useful tool? How can someone s spending habits influence their choice of card? What are the different kinds of interest rates that can be attached to a credit card? What is a credit limit? What is a grace period? How many fees are students already aware of? What are some different types of credit cards? How can prospective cardholders decide which type of account is best for them? 1 Introduction

4 3. Finance charges (see student handout): How does the grace period affect the finance charge? What is the difference between the billing date and the payment due date? Typical minimum monthly payment due is 2% of balance. Walk through how to calculate 2% of a balance. Calculate a year s worth and a month s worth of interest. Balance x interest rate = annual interest (Balance x interest rate)/12 = one month of interest Finance charges on balance transfers: A balance transfer fee is an upfront, one-time percentagebased fee. The APR of the card offering a balance transfer may be lower than the original card s APR, but the new APR combined with the balance transfer fee may be higher than the original card s APR, so a transfer is not always a good deal. 4. Rewards and incentives programs (see student handout): Discuss different types of rewards and the factors that can make one more useful than another. How do cardholders spending habits influence the rewards programs they choose? 5. Evaluate students comprehension (see assessment worksheet). Assessment Answer Key 1. A 2. C 3. D 4. B 5. B 6. A 7. C 8. D 9. D 10. D 2 Introduction

7 Types of Credit Cards Standard Credit Card This is the most common type of credit card. It allows you to carry a balance from month to month up to a certain credit limit. It is a revolving balance card: credit is used up as you spend with the card and becomes available again as you pay down the balance. A finance charge is applied to the balance on a standard credit card if you carry the balance from month to month. You will be required to pay a minimum payment against the balance of the card. Payment must be made by a certain payment due date. Failure to pay at least the minimum payment by the payment due date will result in a late payment charge, which also is applied to the balance on the card. Charge Card A charge card does not have a credit limit. The entire balance accumulated on a charge card during the month must be paid in full by the payment due date. This means that charge cards do not allow you to carry a balance from month to month. These cards typically do not have an associated finance charge because the entire balance must be paid in full. Late payments or failure to pay the entire balance will incur a fee, a penalty or possibly cancellation of the card altogether. Limited Purpose Cards These cards can only be used at specific locations. These cards are used like credit cards, and like credit cards, they place a finance charge on month-tomonth balances, allow minimum payments and charge late fees. Cards that can only be used at certain stores or gas stations are examples of limited purpose cards. Secured Credit Cards These cards may be an option for people with no prior credit history or with poor credit history. Secured cards require that a deposit be made on the card. The credit limit on the card will then be the amount of the deposit. In this way, you are actually borrowing your own money. You may be allowed to carry a revolving balance from month to month, depending on how much of your limit you have used and your payment history. These cards can be useful to establish good credit or to reinstate good credit if it becomes blemished. Prepaid Credit Cards Much like secured cards, these cards establish a credit limit based on how much you load onto the card. If you prepay \$1,0 on the card, you can use it up to the \$1,0 limit. As the balance is used, you can reload the card with as much money as you like. 5

13 NOW YOU TRY SOLUTIONS Page 8 You have a credit card from OMG Bank with an APR of 19.5% and a 2% minimum monthly payment requirement. You accumulate a balance of \$3,150 and then stop using the card. 1. What is the annual interest on this balance? 19.5% of \$3,150 = x 3150 = \$ What would be the first month s minimum monthly payment? (Assume the grace period is over and interest is due on the entire \$3,150.) x 3150 = /12 = \$51.19 monthly interest = \$ total balance 2% of \$3, = 0.02 x = \$64.02 Page 9 You have a credit card from OMG Bank with an APR of 19.5% and a 2% minimum monthly payment requirement. The balance transfer fee is 3% of each balance transferred. You begin with a zero balance on the card. You transfer a balance of \$1,150 onto the card on the first day of your billing cycle. You make purchases totaling \$1,0 during the month and then transfer another \$2,0 balance onto the card just before your billing date. 1. What is the balance you will owe on the card when you receive your statement? 3% balance transfer fee on \$1, x 1150 = \$ Spending 10. 3% balance transfer fee on \$2, x 20 = \$ Statement balance \$4, What is the amount of the balance transfer fees you accumulated? 3% of \$1,150 = 0.03 x 1150 = \$ % of \$2,0 = 0.03 x 20 = \$ = \$ What would be the first month s minimum monthly payment? 2% of \$4, = 0.02 x = \$

14 Name Date Student Assessment: Before You Choose a Credit Card Read the following 10 questions carefully. Select the best answer for each question. 1. Which of the following is true of charge cards? A. They do not have a credit limit B. They are revolving balance cards C. They have a high finance charge when a balance is carried from month to month D. They can only be used at specific locations 2. Which is the most common type of credit card? A. Secured B. Prepaid C. Standard D. Charge 3. Paying only the minimum monthly payment, not the entire balance, by the payment due date for a credit card will: A. Trigger the finance charge, meaning that your remaining balance will begin accumulating interest B. Eliminate the grace period for the next month C. Satisfy your payment obligation to the credit card company D. All of the above 4. The credit limit on a secured credit card is determined by: A. A request from you as the cardholder B. The amount of your prepaid deposit C. Your credit score D. The issuer of the credit card 5. Which credit card fee will hurt your credit score? A. Annual fee B. Late payment fee C. A high APR (finance charge) D. Returned check fee 12 Student Assessment

15 Name Date 6. You have a credit card with an 11.9% APR finance charge. You accumulate \$9 in charges on this card, \$6 of which were made before the billing date. How can you avoid paying a finance charge on this account? A. Pay \$6 by the payment due date B. Pay the minimum monthly payment before the payment due date C. Stop charging on the card until you are able to pay the balance off in full D. You cannot avoid a finance charge unless you pay the entire \$9 balance by the due date 7. If your balance is \$3,5 on a credit card with a 10% APR finance charge and a 2% minimum payment, what would the typical minimum monthly payment be? A. \$350 B. \$29.17 C. \$70 D. \$ You transfer \$4,0 onto a credit card with a 12.9% APR finance charge and a 3% balance transfer fee. What is the total balance due shown on your first month s statement after the transfer? A. \$120 B. \$516 C. \$4,636 D. \$4, What kind of rewards program would be considered the most flexible and useful? A. Airline rewards, since airline ticket prices fluctuate B. A points program for your favorite clothing store C. ExxonMobil gas rewards, since gas prices are rising so far so fast D. Cash back: you can use cash anywhere for anything 10. What should you pay particular attention to when choosing a new credit card? A. Your spending habits and how you intend to use the card B. The finance charge APR and other interest rates for other services C. Fees, which are disclosed on the application and/or buried in the fine print D. All of the above 13 Student Assessment

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