This Article Is Rated PG, Most Of These T&Cs Are Not

When making a purchase online, consumers often agree to boilerplate terms and conditions without reading them.

But what if they actually wanted to?

According to a new study done by Uplift Legal Funding and digital marketing agency WebFX, it’s likely that many people wouldn’t understand what they were reading. 

The average American reading age level is 7th-to grade, or 12 years old, according to The Literacy Project.

Uplift Legal Funding -- which provides pre-settlement funding for personal injury claimants -- asked Investopedia, CNBC, moneyunder30, and The Fintech Times to compile a list of the 10 most popular online buy now, pay later (BNPL) companies, along with companies that offer BNPL as an additional service.

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On Oct. 21, each service’s terms and conditions were copied into WebFX’s Readability Test and ranked.

BNPL sites Square and Mastercard were found to be least comprehensible by Americans, requiring a reading age of 20, or eight years above than the national standard. 

Perpay was third most confusing, with a comprehension level of 19 or older, and Visa was fourth, at an age 18 level. QuickFee, Scratchpay and Bread tied for fifth, at 17 years. Zebit, Klarna and Affirm ranked eighth, with an age 16 reading level. 

Two BNPL services –– Sezzle and Four –– were omitted from the rankings, as their terms and conditions were too complex for the WebFX tool to score.

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