My son, at 16 years old, called this show the scariest movie he had ever watched. The show? “The Secret History of the Credit Card” by Frontline on PBS. Probably not what you were expecting…
I watched this years ago when it first came out. It totally threw me for a loop. How could companies do this? When I was asked to teach personal finance classes for the charter school I homeschool through, I included this on the list of things my students needed to watch for the class. I don’t think anyone should get a credit card without watching this.
It is a little dated. New legislation was enacted a couple of years ago that addresses some of the problems but definitely not all. Unfortunately most people have no clue what these companies can legally do. Very few of them take the time to read the fine print and even if they did, they don’t have the law degree they need for it to make sense.
If you are going to have your kids watch it, be sure to have them do this worksheet that illustrates how compound interest works against you. It also shows how you need to pay more than just the minimum payment.