According to Nerd Wallet, the average household credit card debt is more than $15,000. When you consider the interest charges, annual fees, potential late charges and other fees, the cost to consumers weighs heavy on their budgets. The key to reducing credit card debt lies in education and reaching consumers before they build such a large balance on their credit cards. Several types of activities lend themselves to teach consumers about using credit cards and managing the credit card debt they carry.
Board games provide an excellent way to teach consumers about using credit cards. By choosing familiar board games and modifying the rules, consumers see the impact of using credit cards with each turn they take. Monopoly works especially well as a teaching tool. Players can substitute the use of a credit card to pay rent expenses, taxes or other charges. Then, when they reach Go, interest charges are added to the balance and the banker gives the player an invoice. The player then has the option of paying the minimum of 2 percent or paying a higher amount. Players must balance the cash they hold with the interest charges they accrue on the credit card.
Online interactive simulations allow individuals to make credit choices in a virtual world. Participants choose from several available credit cards with different terms. They then get to shop, choosing a variety of items to purchase with their card. The simulation demonstrates how each purchase increases the balance of the card. When it’s time to pay, the simulation gives the shopper the option of what amount to pay. She sees how paying more reduces the balance, the interest charges and the time necessary to pay off the card.
Scavenger hunts always bring out the competitor in people. Credit cards provide consumers with a disclosure document, which lists all the terms of the card. Few consumers read these disclosures, and fewer still understand them. A scavenger hunt provides a list of questions that the consumer must answer. The answers come from the disclosure. By seeking out the answers from the disclosure, the reader learns more about the actual terms of the credit card.
A role playing activity helps individuals understand the goals of the credit card company and how they may or may not correlate to the goals of the consumer. Two people are required for this activity. One person plays the role of the consumer. The other, who plays the role of the credit card company, should be briefed on the priorities of the organization. These include maximizing profit, adding more charges to generate revenue and encouraging consumers to use the card, which allows the company to earn more money. The person in the role of the consumer may be given a variety of scenarios. These include losing a job, being in the hospital and missing the due date or needing a higher credit limit. As the role-player discusses the situation, he learns the goals of the credit card company and how they impact his debt.