Consumer Action and American Express extend credit card education project

Consumer education trainings to be held in three more cities in 2007

Contact: Linda Sherry, 202-544-3088 or Ruth Susswein, 301-718-2511

Consumer Action and American Express today announced plans to expand their jointly developed credit card education program with free training events scheduled for three additional cities in 2007. The program, called Credit Cards: What You Need to Know, is centered on a training module with a curriculum and educational brochures, translated into five languages, that are distributed to the more than 9,000 community-based organizations within Consumer Action’s network to educate consumers about how to best choose and use credit cards. American Express and Consumer Action launched the program in 2005 with a training event in Oakland, California. Since then, educators have been trained in Washington D.C, Dallas and New York, enabling them to educate consumers about credit cards in their local communities. Last year, American Express and Consumer Action awarded $82,250 to 30 agencies that had been trained at the project's training meetings to support their own education activities and the use of the materials. American Express and Consumer Action will hold three training events this year in: Plantation, FL; Phoenix, AZ and Birmingham, AL. Through the program’s curriculum and educational materials, educators and community leaders can teach consumers how to compare credit card offers, read and understand credit card terms and conditions, maintain credit card accounts in good standing and avoid unnecessary fees and penalty interest rates. The materials, available on Consumer Action’s and American Express’ web sites, include a leader’s guide, Q&A and a classroom exercise manual, as well as a consumer brochure, handouts and worksheets to facilitate productive and effective learning experiences. Last year, a new brochure, called Families and Credit Cards, was added to the program to enable parents to educate their children about credit cards. Both consumer brochures are available in Chinese, English, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese. “We are very pleased to expand the reach and impact of this important consumer education initiative in partnership with American Express,” said Ken McEldowney, Executive Director of Consumer Action. “By continuing to educate consumers about credit cards, we are enabling them to make smart financial decisions for themselves now and in the future.” “We believe in offering customers choice and clarity,” said Larry Sharnak, senior vice president and general manager, consumer lending, American Express. “Our work with Consumer Action is one way we help educate consumers on making smart, informed choices about credit cards.” In addition to the “What you need to know” materials, both Consumer Action and American Express offer an array of educational resources for consumers on their web sites. Consumer Action’s site ( features free credit card surveys with information about interest rates, fees, and other terms for credits cards. The American Express site ( has tips on using credit cards, money management, fraud protection, travel safety, shopping online and more. Note to Editors: Consumers may request a hard copy of the “Credit Cards: What You Need to Know” and “Families and Credit Cards,” brochures by sending a self-addressed legal-sized envelope with 58¢ in postage to Consumer Action-CC Brochure, 221 Main St. Suite 480, San Francisco, CA 94105. Please specify the Chinese, English, Korean, Spanish or Vietnamese version. About American Express American Express is committed to consumer financial education programs and has been developing and sponsoring education initiatives for decades. Recent programs include: Credit Matters - a guide for adults and first-time credit users that explains how to qualify for a credit card, secure the best deal, and establish a good credit history; Identity Theft - an on-line tool that helps consumers protect themselves from identity theft; Shop Safely Online - guide for on-line shopping that provides useful information about security, privacy, and how credit laws protect consumers shopping online. About Consumer Action Consumer Action ( is a non-profit 501(c)(3) advocacy and education organization, with offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, DC that has served consumers since 1971. CA distributes two million free educational brochures annually on consumer financial services and other issues, through its national network of 9,000 community-based organizations. Consumer Action has been conducting surveys of credit card rates and terms since the 1980s, to track trends in the industry and assist consumers in comparing cards and understanding their rights when using credit.

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