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Many consumers unable to decipher credit card agreements

Many Tennessee residents use credit cards for purchases, whether for everyday needs like food or gas or for large items such as electronics. In fact, according to the Los Angeles Times, over 70 percent of consumers in the United States own at least one credit card and there are approximately 500 million total cards in circulation.

Each card comes with an agreement from the lender that outlines the terms and conditions, such as what happens if a payment is late, and other legal language. However, it turns out that very few people are reading these agreements. One survey found that 75 percent of credit card users admitted that they do not read financial agreements such as those that come with their credit cards. Perhaps more importantly, those that do read them likely have a hard time comprehending them.

A study uncovered that a person would have to read at an 11th-grade level to understand the language contained in most credit card agreements. The problem with that is roughly 50 percent of Americans only read at a 9th-grade level and some even lower than that.

The issue seems to be with not only the complex legal language found in the agreements, but also the length of the documents, reports NBC News. An average agreement takes approximately 20 minutes to read and contains 4,900 words. In order to combat this problem, the federal rules were changed to benefit customers by requiring lenders to supply a shortened user-friendly version of the key terms. While things have improved somewhat compared to a few years ago, the complicated language will continue to impact customers who are not able to fully comprehend exactly what they are signing up for.

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