Many students are unfamiliar with how credit cards work and how debt is accrued and options for paying it off. These resources and tools on this page can help illustrate the true cost of borrowing and the different types of repayment options, among other topics. Students can use online calculators to explore repayment plans and options and the effects of late payments, paying the minimum and paying more than the minimum.

Highlighted Math Tool: The Cost of Being Late

One of the items in this lesson is a spreadsheet in which students can enter the cost of the items they might purchase on a credit card, their monthly payment amount and the interest rate of the card. Tools like this allow students to explore a handful scenarios quickly and begin to get a feel for the way credit card payments work and how changing different parts of the equation alter the payoff time line. One really great thing about this tool is that it’s not just for an initial purchase, students can add purchases and change the amount of their monthly payments. These features make this a particularly realistic tool and students can use a tool like this to create and test hypotheses about payment schemes and to learn more about credit card offers and options.

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