The Good Credit Game FAQ
What is The Good Credit Game?
The Good Credit Game is a complete teaching package and credit curriculum. It covers credit reports, credit scores and credit cards. It's made for financial educators who teach classes about credit. It includes complete lesson plans and is broken up into two main parts: five hands-on modules to teach credit concepts and a board game to reinforce these concepts and provide facts and relevant credit information.
What's in The Good Credit Game? Is it just a credit board game?
The Good Credit Game is far more than a single credit board game. It is, instead, a complete credit teaching kit with six modules. It allows a financial educator to teach classes on credit reports, credit scores and credit cards. It includes an instructor's guide with lesson plans and background information on credit topics. It also includes double-sided game boards; one side is used for a series of activities and the other side is used as the credit board game (The Road to Good Credit). It also comes with simplified sample credit reports, credit calculators, a set of Build-a-Person cards, a set of hundreds of question and discussion cards, game pieces, dice and noisemakers.
Why is it difficult to teach credit classes?
Credit is a very difficult topic to teach for a number of reasons, including:
Perhaps the biggest challenge is simply the complicated, confusing nature of the material itself. Consider, for example, that credit scores are derived from a secret formula that's fantastically complex. That prevents easy answers to simple questions like, "How many points will I lose if I miss a credit card payment?" There are also tons of caveats and exceptions when dealing with credit reports and scores—and the industry often changes. It is, therefore, hard for anyone to be an expert on credit and to feel comfortable teaching about credit.
In addition, working with credit inherently means dealing with math and numbers which tends to be confusing and not engaging in a class setting—especially if students don't have an interest in or good command of math.
On a related note, teaching credit can end up being a very dry topic because it's so fact- and number-based.
The topic is also one that often seems to lack relevance to participants who are not about to make a big credit purchase like buying a house or car.
Finally, there's the added element of the politics of credit: what position should an educator take in terms of advocating for using credit or not using credit?
What should students know or understand after using The Good Credit Game?
The Good Credit Game is meant to teach the concepts behind credit, including credit reports, credit scores and credit cards. More specifically, by the end of the training with The Good Credit Game, the goals for participants are to:
Gain an overview of how credit (a) works, (b) affects their daily lives and (c) determines how much money they will pay for loans and other services.
Understand how their actions and decisions can hurt or help their credit.
Be prepared to request their own credit reports and correct them if necessary.
Dispel myths about credit, credit reports, credit scores and credit cards.
Differentiate between the criteria used by individuals and financial lenders when making loans.
Identify what is—and is not—included in a credit report and why credit reports from different credit bureaus may differ from one another.
Describe the weighted components of a credit score.
Differentiate between installment and revolving loans and between credit and debit cards.
Gain a basic understanding of how information in credit reports is translated into a FICO credit score.
Understand how different credit scores (and, thus, different interest rates) affect what one can buy and how much one will pay for it (e.g., house, car, etc.).
Explain how credit reports and credit scores are used in non-credit/loan situations.
Gain facts and strategies to improve credit scores and avoid losing points.
How does The Good Credit Game align with national standards for financial literacy?
The Good Credit Game aligns with a number of the most popular national standards for financial literacy. The resource section in the credit teacher's guide also lists how the curriculum and activities align with various national standards.
What's the philosophy behind The Good Credit Game? Does it advocate debt-free living?
Because people have very different philosophies about the value, morality and utility of credit, it leads to very different approaches to teaching about credit. We think it's important enough to share the philosophy that shaped this credit curriculum that we put a philosophy statement right at the beginning of the material. In short, we feel that credit is an asset and can be a valuable part of being financially secure and building wealth. We believe that credit should be used responsibly. We do not believe that everyone should cut up their credit cards. We also don't believe that one's goal in life should be to get a perfect 850 credit score; rather, we hope that The Good Credit Game helps people be aware of how credit works and how a score affects one's life.
How is The Good Credit Game different from other credit classes and credit curricula?
It uses a "teach out of the box" approach to allow financial educators who aren't credit experts to easily teach great classes on credit—and feel confident doing so.
The credit curriculum and materials are designed to make credit classes fun, engaging and participatory. To do this, it relies on collaborative, small-group activities and credit games that use hands-on materials. Classes that use The Good Credit Game materials are ones filled with laughter, smiles and conversation; they are, in short, credit classes that teachers want to teach and classes where students enjoy being present and learning. The materials do not rely on PowerPoint presentations, use no worksheets, rely on very little lecture and have a lively pace. With The Good Credit Game, students will not be sitting in the back row, bored and unengaged.
It is low-literacy compliant. Student materials are written at a 5th-grade reading level or below.
How is The Good Credit Game related to Money Habitudes?
In short, The Good Credit Game grew out of a decade of learning and feedback from our Money Habitudes materials. What we heard for years from financial educators is that they greatly enjoyed using Money Habitudes cards in their classes because they made the material fun, engaging, hands-on and easy-to-understand while being flexible for different classes and audiences. Also, financial educators appreciated how Money Habitudes generates great conversations about money. Financial educators continuously told us that they wished they got the same feel and feedback from their other financial classes on topics like budgeting, getting banked, and credit. So we set out to apply the big concepts of Money Habitudes to a curriculum and hands-on materials for teaching credit classes. Money Habitudes is designed to help people understand their financial habits, attitudes, values and behaviors. On the other hand, The Good Credit Game helps educators teach about credit reports, credit scores and credit cards. Also, The Good Credit Game is designed to be used in a much more prescribed fashion—following lesson plans and a set curriculum.
Do I use The Good Credit Game with Money Habitudes cards?
You do not need to have or use Money Habitudes cards with The Good Credit Game. They can both be standalone classes. However, many organizations teach a series of financial education classes that include a number of topics or modules. Those modules typically include financial habits and attitudes as well as credit reports, scores and cards. Therefore, it's not uncommon for both Money Habitudes and The Good Credit Game to be used with the same students, but in different classes, teaching different material.
Can I use The Good Credit Game with other another financial education curriculum?
The Good Credit Game can easily be used to teach standalone classes on credit or it can be used with other financial curricula that cover topics like budgeting, getting banked, home buying, etc. One might use it to augment a comprehensive financial curriculum like Money Smart, NEFE or FEFE.
Do I need to be certified to use or teach The Good Credit Game?
You do not need to be certified to use The Good Credit Game. Although it was designed to be used by financial educators, it does not require that the teacher is an expert on credit. The credit lesson plans take "teach out of the box" approach so non-experts can feel comfortable teaching the material.
Do you offer training on how to teach the topic of credit and how to use The Good Credit Game?
We sometimes do special training events and present at conferences and you may contact us for customized training as well.
How long should I allow to use The Good Credit Game?
Best results come when using all of the modules, which takes about two hours. Each of the first five modules in Part I take about 10 minutes. The second part, the board game, takes 30-60 minutes. Allowing more time allows for more conversation and discussion of credit. Smaller classes with smaller groups (3-4 people) will go faster than larger classes with larger groups (4-5 people). You can, however, pick and choose modules. For example, you may wish to only use the board game in some situations.
Do I have to use all of the modules of The Good Credit Game? Can I skip units or do the credit lessons out of order?
All of the modules of The Good Credit Game are designed to build upon each other, so the most effective classes will use all of the modules in order. However, you do not need to use all of the modules or do them in order. Also, each of the six credit activities can be a standalone lesson.
How basic or advanced is the material in The Good Credit Game?
All of the activities in The Good Credit Game should appeal to and be engaging to almost anyone who isn't already a credit expert. They build on each other so that the first lesson starts with a very basic introduction to what credit is and the concept of being creditworthy; later lessons start to incorporate more advanced ideas. We generally feel that starting with the components of a credit score, for example, may be too advanced for people who do not yet understand what credit is, why it matters, and what a credit report and credit score are. In the board game, there are 39 topics and 200 question cards; each card is designed as a "basic" or general information card, depending on how advanced that material is. Also, all of the participants' materials are written at a low-literacy level and the guide includes a glossary of common terms used in a credit class that might be new or hard for some students to read.
Can I adapt The Good Credit Game for different audiences?
Yes, the activities are very adaptable. In the first five activities, the amount of time you allow will determine if you want to simply introduce the concepts or provide more depth by allowing more discussion time. In the sixth activity, the board game, question cards are identified as "basic" or general information. They are also numbered to correspond to the 39 topics. It makes it easy to keep it basic and include or remove topics based on the needs of the group. For example, you might feel that it's important to include questions from Topic #12 about "Couples" and Topic #26 about "Payday Loans" but not from Topic #23 about "Mortgages." In addition, cards can be identified by a star to indicate a mini-lesson for the entire class. This lets the instructor cover key points with the whole group in a more comprehensive way.
What sizes does The Good Credit Game come in?
The credit kit comes in a class set for up to 24 people.
Can I buy pieces of the game separately?
No, the packages were designed to be sold and used as a complete set. The Cost of Credit calculators are available separately, in a bulk set of 400.
Who should use The Good Credit Game? What is the recommended age?
The Good Credit Game is meant to be used in classes with adults and young adults (college, military, workforce development, etc.). It's generally meant for people who can use credit, so people older than 18. Although it can be used with high-school-age students, it was not developed for this age group.
Do I need to be a credit expert to use The Good Credit Game?
No, although a familiarity with credit and experience teaching financial classes will certainly be helpful. The instructor's guide has easy-to-follow lesson plans and offers a great deal of FAQs and "cheat sheet" answers for an instructor. The underlying idea behind The Good Credit Game is that it's a "teach out of the box" credit curriculum that can be easily used by non-experts. It is recommended that instructors read through the guide before using The Good Credit Game, especially if they are not well versed in credit information.
How many people should I put in each group using The Good Credit Game in my class?
We recommend small groups of 3-5. Each of the packages contains enough materials for groups of 5. So, the set for 30 includes enough materials for six groups of five people. We do not recommend groups with more than five people for two main reasons
It slows down the class.
Smaller groups allow each person to actively participate and minimizes the chances of anyone dominating or feeling left out.
Is The Good Credit Game available in other languages?
At this point, The Good Credit Game is only available in English. If your organization would use a significant number of the kits in another language, please contact us to talk about translation.
I don't live in the United States. Can I use The Good Credit Game?
A lot of the basic concepts of credit that are taught in The Good Credit Game are universal and thus applicable in countries outside the United States. However, the materials were designed for an American audience. Obviously, the language and terms are American; the legal and regulatory information will also be specific to the US.