Getting your credit card account statement, reading it through in order to locate essential items, understanding them, knowing why it is important to pay the entire amount, or, at the very least, the minimum amount due, on time, being aware of the consequences if you don’t do one or the other, all this must seem pretty straightforward. For people with low literacy skills, however, that is to say, 42% of the Canadian population, it is not straightforward at all, because these people have difficulty deciphering and understanding the information on their credit card statements. They also usually have very little knowledge of financial matters. It’s certainly important to set up mechanisms that can help these people improve their competencies and combat illiteracy. The aim of this report, however, is more modest. By listening to people with literacy problems and to people who are familiar with those problems, such as readability experts, we have attempted to understand and describe the difficulties encountered by people with low literacy in financial matters. We also wanted to be able to differentiate items on account statements that are easy to understand from those that are not. The aim of this exercise was to develop expertise on the subject and to come up with recommendations about the way that credit card statements could be improved.
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OCA Funded ResearchThis research received funding support through the Office of Consumer Affairs' Contributions Program.
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Source: Consumer Policy Research Database