Reading Terms in Credit Cards

By: Devin Gilliland

Credit Card - The plastic card provided by the institution which is used to authorize payments and contains details that can authorize payments in cases where the card is not present at the merchant's location for a transaction.

Credit Card Number - A unique number contained on a credit card that defines the owner.

Credit Limit - The total amount of money that a credit card holder can accrue

Credit History - This provides a summary of how much money you owe financial institutions and companies who sell data in relation to bad and doubtful debts that they have accrued. In short, this is a summary of your financial history, which companies will use to decide the potential risks/complications and benefits of contracting with you.

Debit - When a charge occurs to a card holders bank card account. This occurs following a point-of-sale transaction a card not present transaction or a withdrawal from an ATM or automatic teller machine.

Expired Card - This refers to the time period having elapsed for which a credit card is valid.

Finance Charge - This is the collective term for any fees that are charged to a customer for borrowing money by the credit card issuer. These could include, but are not necessarily limited to cash advances, balance transfers, exceeding credit limits and late fees.

Fixed APR - See Fixed Rate for summary

Fixed Rate - This is a rate that will remain constant for a longer duration than an introductory annual percentage rate. It is likely that this will remain constant for around one year.

Floor Limit - This refers to the maximum size of transaction that is allowed, prior to authorization being required to allow a transaction to go ahead. This is a measure to reduce loses as a result of fraudulent transactions.

Fraudulent Transactions - This is a collective term for a transaction that was not authorized by the card holder. This can include, but is not necessarily limited to, fraudulent transactional processing, an account takeover, counterfeit, stolen cards and other conditions and definitions offered by the member/ financial institution.

Fraudulent User - A fraudulent user is a person who uses a credit card/credit card details to process a transaction without the prior consent of the credit card holder. This is generally done to benefit the fraudulent user through gaining goods/services without incurring any direct expenditure.

Grace Period - This is the time following a debit to your credit card account in which you have until interest accrues. This can vary between credit card companies however a time of 10-28 days is considered normal.

Introductory APR - This is the rate initially charged to a credit card user when they sign up for a account. This does not have to be, but is generally considered to be lower than the fixed rate, through its primary function as a marketing tool.

Introductory Rate - See Introductory APR for summary

Issuer - This refers to a credit card company or financial institution who issues credit cards when it is used in a context relating to credit cards.

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