What is a Schumer Box and how do I read it?

A quick glance at a credit card’s need-to-know rates and fees.

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A Schumer Box is a small table that contains some of the most important rates and fees associated with a given credit card. Though it’s meant to offer you a quick look at important card terms, not all relevant credit card information is necessarily included.

Important things to look for on a Schumer Box

A standard Schumer Box typically includes information on two main areas of your credit card: the interest and interest charges, and various card fees.

Interest rate information

The interest rate portion of the Schumer Box will at least contain the following information:

  • APR for purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.
    These can be listed out as a range if the APR depends on your credit score.
  • Penalty APR.
    Expect to see an explanation of the penalty terms if your card features a penalty APR for late payments or other financial mishaps.
  • Interest grace periods.
    This lets you know how long you have to make a payment before your balance starts incurring interest.
  • Interest charge terms.
    Any unique terms related to interest charges, such as the minimum charge, are included here.

Card fees

The card fee section of the Schumer Box lists the most common fees you’ll want to know, including:

  • The annual fee.
    This includes the revert annual fee if the card has an intro APR
  • Penalty fees.
    Including fees for late payments and returned payments.
  • Transaction fees.
    You’ll find fees for balance transfers or cash advances here.

Schumer Box red flags

The Schumer Box gives you a great opportunity to quickly sniff out whether a particular credit card is something you should stay away from. Here are some things to look for:

  • High APR. While you should be paying off your balance in full each month, a particularly high purchase APR can serve as a warning flag that the card might not be the best choice available.
  • Excessive fees. Most credit cards feature a few fees, such as late payment fees. If you notice some unusual fees listed in the Schumer Box, such as monthly maintenance fees, you’ll want to take a closer look at the rest of the card’s rates and fees as well.
  • Small or non-existent grace period. It’s easy to assume that most credit cards offer a grace period, but you might find some with a particularly short period – or none at all.

An example of a Schumer box

An example of a Schumer box

Why is it called a Schumer Box?

The Schumer Box was named after congressman Chuck Schumer. Schumer was instrumental in introducing the 1988 legislation that required credit card issuers to clearly and plainly list card fees within the promotional material of every credit card.

Compare credit cards

Even though a Schumer Box offers a high-level view of a credit card’s terms, they’re typically not enough to help you make a final decision on a credit card. You’ll want to compare credit card options by credit card type and other features before taking a look at the finer details.

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Citi® Double Cash Card
1% cash back when you make purchases and 1% cash back when you pay off your card
15.49% to 25.49% variable
$0
Earn 1% cash back when you pay off your card, on top of the 1% cash back you earn when you make purchases for double cash back.
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
Earn 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 24.99% variable)
$0
The only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.49% to 25.49% variable)
$0
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See issuer's website
See terms
Can't decide on a card? Get personalized credit card offers with CardMatch™.
Citi Simplicity® Card
N/A
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 16.24% to 26.24% variable)
$0
Enjoy one of the longest intro APRs on balance transfers, no late fees, no penalty rate and no annual fee.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

The Schumer Box is a great place to start assessing a card once you’ve narrowed down card competition to a few choices. If the data in a Schumer Box seems concerning or promising, take a closer look at the full terms and conditions.
Start comparing credit cards now to find one that best suits your financial needs.

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