Bank website readability lags behind Moby Dick, Harry Potter

In the meantime, it’s up to consumers to work their own magic. (Sorry, spell casters, but “aparecium” probably won’t cut it.)

Expect to do some digging and ask some pointed questions to make sure you understand the product or service you’re signing up for, said Linda Sherry, director of national priorities for advocacy group Consumer-Action.

“You can’t really get some of the information that you would prefer to have,” said Sherry, who recently had to go on a hunt for what should have been an easy find: terms detailing the yield on her online savings account.

“We should know the cost of things, and what could possibly happen if we make a misstep,” she said.

While the onus is on financial institutions to improve their language, it’s also important for consumers to reach out to their bank if something is less than clear.

“We need to communicate when we don’t find the information easily,” she said.

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