Named after then-Congressman Charles Schumer of New York, the Schumer box is a table that includes the rates, fees, terms, and conditions of a given credit card agreement. It’s intended to provide consumers with an easy-to-read tool where they can get important information on their card. Learn about what’s contained in a Schumer box today so that you’ll be prepared the next time you encounter one.

Reading the Schumer Box

Introduced in 1998 as a result of Congress’s passing of the Truth in Lending Act, the Schumer box is the standardized format in which credit card companies must present certain information. Since it’s intended to simplify the way that consumers get this information, even the font sizes used are regulated. Long-term interest rates must be presented in 18-point font, while the rest of the terms must be in at least 12-point font.

The terms that one can expect to see in a Schumer box include:

  • Purchase annual percentage rate (APR): the credit card interest rate you’ll pay on purchases, including any introductory offers.
  • Additional APRs: other interest rates that will be paid on cash advances, balance transfers, or penalty.
  • Variable rate information: information on how your interest rate can change, if applicable.
  • Grace period: the period of time between the end of a billing period and your payment due date, during which you will not pay interest on new purchases.
  • Minimum charges: the minimum amount you will be charged if you carry a balance.
  • Finance calculation method: a primer on how interest will be calculated if your full balance is not paid each month.
  • Information on credit card fees: how much you will be charged on foreign transaction fees, balance transfers, cash advances, and more.

While this table puts a lot of relevant information in one convenient place, credit card applicants should still think outside the Schumer box when researching a new credit card. Read the complete terms and conditions for your card before accepting your agreement to ensure that you fully understand it.

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