Credit Cards and Credit Scores

Lesson Topic:

Understanding Credit Cards and the Fine Print

Understanding Credit Scores

Lesson Description:

This lesson will provide high school students with information about how a credit card works, and understand what information determines a personal credit score.

Learning Goals/Outcomes:

Credit Cards

  • Explore brief history of credit cards.
  • Examine how a credit card works.
  • Discuss credit card pro's and con's.

Credit Score

  • Investigate what is a credit score.
  • Discuss how lenders use credit scores to determine loan options.
  • Discover how to manage your (FICO) credit score.

Nebraska Standards:





NE.SS 12.2.7a

Teacher Planning:

Equipment/Materials/Software Needed:

Instructor and Student:  Internet access, actual credit card applications or an example of credit card application. Device to view online websites and video. Writing utensil and work space.

Time Required for Lesson: 75 minutes


Table space if students work in groups during pre-activity.

Technology Use:

Software: NA


Device to access online credit card application, if needed.

Device to access video and websites if student will be viewing independently.

Instructional Plan:

Anticipatory Set/Pre-Activity:

Students will begin the process of applying for a credit card.

As students view an actual credit card application and read the fine print, they can record answers on Credit Card Applications PDF.

See options below on how to provide a credit card application example for students.

Download: Credit_Card_Applications_6LG3HMV.pdf

Option 1: Save actual credit card applications that are sent through the mail.

Students enjoy actually opening the envelope. I collect these throughout the year and ask colleagues to collect them as well.

Option 2: Use an example of a printed credit card application.


Option 3: Actually view online credit card application.


Benefits/Explanation/Real-World Connection:

1) Picture slide show illustrating a brief history of credit cards.


2) View video:  Credit Card Debt Explained

This video provides the representation of how credit cards work and provides specific examples. The positives and negatives of using credit cards is explained.

Credit Card Debt Explained | KQED News

3) What is a credit score?

Ask students to listen carefully to video clip to answer these questions:

Note: See resources section for PDF of video questions.

  • How many 'digits' make up a credit score?
  • What does FICO stand for?
  • What is the credit score range? (Low to High)

What is a FICO® Score? — FICO Credit Education Series

4) How lenders use (FICO) credit scores.

Ask students to listen carefully to video to answer these questions:

Note: See resources section for PDF of video questions.

  • A person with a high credit score will receive a higher or lower interest rate on a loan?
  • A person with a low credit score will receive a higher or lower interest rate on a loan?

How lenders use FICO® Scores - FICO Credit Education Series

5) Managing a (FICO) credit score

Ask students to listen carefully to video to answer these questions:

Note: See resources section for PDF of video questions.

  • Name three things that will help to maintain a good credit score.

Managing Your FICO® Scores - FICO Credit Education Series

Activities (i.e. instructions, warm-up, lesson, cool-down):

  • Pre-Activity:  Examine credit card application.
  • Online: View slideshow and videos.
  • Class Discussion:  Entertain student questions and provide examples.


Closing discussion while entertaining student questions.

Discuss credit card advertising and show examples of commercials or online ads.

 Emphasize that students need to make personal decision on whether to use credit cards or not in their personal lives. 

Assessment :

Completion of pre-activity handout.

Completion of video questions handout.

Supplemental Information:


Lesson could be completed independently or in groups in the classroom.

Safety Precautions:

Be sure to collect the paper credit card applications at the end of the pre-activity to avoid students attempting to open an account with your name. Name on mailed document could be blacked out as well.

Comments (adaptations for various grades/ages, teaching styles, etc.)

The pre-activity could be done in small groups to encourage participation and understanding with low level learners.


Pre-Activity Handout:  Credit Card Applications / Reading the Fine Print

Download: Credit_Card_Applications_kXVKkoU.pdf

Video Questions Handout:  What is a Credit Score?

Download: What_is_a_Credit_Score.pdf




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