A 2-Page Credit Card Agreement that No Bank Will Ever Use Voluntarily

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau just released a prototype 2-page credit card agreement (PDF) that anyone can understand. This is exactly why the credit card industry will never adopt it.

In consumer transactions, knowledge is power. If you could actually understand the terms and conditions of an account, see them beforehand, and compare them to other credit cards, you might be able to make intelligent decisions about which card to use. That doesn’t serve the banks at all. Instead, since the banks are required to disclose that information, they do it in 13-page agreements in unreadable 8-point font, using blocks of boldface and all-caps text for the most important parts to discourage you from reading them.

The point is to make it difficult, if not impossible, to compare cards and make intelligent decisions about credit. Unless the CFPB has the power to force banks to use this disclosure form, they never will.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eikootje/279260526/)