Credit Cards are a risky business these days, especially for students and those holding multiple cards. Interest rates on credit card balances have always been high relative to other rates, for several reasons. Despite this, there is still a demand for the "plastic money" that many people see as convenient and ideal with the increasingly technological world economy. This lesson explores many issues surrounding credit cards- from what to look for when selecting a card to what the government is doing to aid consumers.
Students will compare credit cards by looking at the amount of interest they will incur when paying off the balance on their purchases. Students will discuss times when they will need to use a credit card, rewards programs, and disadvantages of the use of plastic.
Students participate in a series of activities that provide them with a simulated credit score and an auto loan interest rate based on their credit score. Then they learn to use compound interest and amortization schedules to calculate the real cost of buying a car, and they compare the total cost of buying a car for individuals with high and low credit scores. At the conclusion, students have a second opportunity to obtain a higher credit score and evaluate how this will affect what kind of car they can buy. Students should have some mathematical background in exponents and the idea of percents before beginning this lesson.
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