Compound Interest Trap of Credit Cards and Loans Lesson

A lesson for students on the pitfalls of compound interest and how it can quietly ensnare you in a cycle of mounting debts if not navigated wisely.

Students learn about the dual nature of compound interest in this lesson. While it offers a path to exponential growth for investors through reinvested earnings, the same principle becomes detrimental when applied to debts like credit card balances. Understanding terms such as Annual Percentage Yield (APY) and understanding the compounding frequency is vital. With daily or monthly compounding loans, debts can escalate quickly, especially with only minimal repayments. Given that credit card issuers compound at higher daily rates, the financial burdens intensify. To navigate these challenges, the lesson emphasizes repaying high-interest debts promptly and carefully considering interest rates and compounding frequencies when evaluating loans. The overarching message underscores the significance of astute financial decisions concerning compound interest.


Use this video lesson on the topic of compound interest basics. Learn related concepts of:

    • Investment Benefits
    • Debt Management
    • Credit Cards
    • Loan Awareness
    • APY Understanding
    • Financial Decisions
    • Saving & Investing
    • Credit & Debt
    • Financial Responsibility
    • Risk Management
    • Interest Comprehension
    • Debt Avoidance
    • Informed Borrowing
    • Investment Strategy


9-12th grades. High School. College. Adult Education.


45-60 minutes. Adjust the lesson plan and allocate time to certain topics based on the needs and interests of the students.


Hand out the worksheet below (see the GET LESSON button near the bottom of the page).

Show students the video and have them complete the worksheet.  Review the questions on the worksheet.  A more comprehensive and detailed lesson plan can be accessed below for further instruction and study.

Compound Interest Trap of Credit Cards and Loans

After watching the video, have students tell what the most important things they learned from the video.


Lesson Plan: Compound Interest Trap of Credit Cards and Loans


  • Students will understand how compound interest works and recognize the impact of compound interest on debt and investments.


  • Video titled “Compound Interest Trap of Credit Cards and Loans”
  • Whiteboard or projector
  • Compound interest calculator (online resources available)
  • Handouts with discussion questions
  • Computers or tablets for the AI chatbot activity

Introduction (5 minutes):

  1. Begin with a personal story or scenario regarding credit card debt or loan and how compound interest impacted the total amount owed.
  2. Introduce the video.

Video Watching (15 minutes):

  1. Play the video “Compound Interest Trap of Credit Cards and Loans”.
  2. Ask students to take notes or highlight key concepts as they watch.

Discussion (10 minutes):

  • “What are the positive and negative aspects of compound interest?”
  • “Why do credit card companies charge interest on a daily basis?”
  • “How does the frequency of interest compounding (daily vs. monthly) affect the total amount owed?”
  • “Why is it important to understand the terms like APY when dealing with financial instruments?”
  • “How can individuals combat the negative effects of compound interest on debts?”

Activity: Compound Interest in Action (15 minutes):

  1. Divide students into small groups and provide each group with a hypothetical debt scenario.
  2. Ask each group to calculate the total amount owed over a specific period considering compound interest.
  3. Discuss the results and the importance of making more than minimum payments on debts.

MI Chat Chatbot Activity (15 minutes):

  1. Have students log into a computer or tablet.
  2. Direct students to the “MI Chat chatbot”.
  3. Allow students to interact with the chatbot which will quiz them on the concepts from the video.
  4. The chatbot can ask questions like:
    • “What does compound interest mean?”
    • “How does compound interest benefit investors?”
    • “Why is compound interest dangerous when it comes to debt?”
    • “How do credit card companies typically compound interest?”
  5. After the chatbot interaction, discuss the responses as a class and clarify any misconceptions.

Conclusion (5 minutes):

  • Summarize the importance of understanding compound interest in both investment and debt scenarios.
  • Emphasize the importance of being proactive in paying down high-interest debt.
  • Encourage students to always read the fine print when considering loans or credit cards to understand interest rates and compounding frequency.


  • Distribute a quiz based on the video and the discussions.

Homework/Extension Activities:

  • Real-world application: Ask students to find credit card offers or loan agreements and analyze the interest rates and compounding frequency. Have them calculate potential future debt based on various spending and payment scenarios.
  • Reflection: Ask students to write a reflection on their personal attitudes towards debt and how their understanding has changed after this lesson.

Lesson Resources

MI Chat Chatbot Tool

  • Compound Interest Trap of Credit Cards and Loans questions with MI Chat chatbot – Use the MI Chat chatbot to test your students’ understanding of the lesson. The MI Chat chatbot is an interactive platform designed to deepen understanding, aligning with specific queries and thoughts. Offering personalized insights, it directs users toward a clearer grasp of topics, ensuring they match their learning pace, knowledge level, and cognitive goals.

Get Lesson


For additional related lessons, explore our main category pages:

Categories Banking, Borrowing Money, Credit, Credit Cards, Debt, Saving & Investing, Tags , , , , ,

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