Credit Card

Financial Dictionary -> Loans -> Credit Card

A credit card is a convenient line of credit that is issued to the consumer for ease in purchasing online and in brick-and-mortar establishments. A credit card can also be used to secure airline tickets and car rentals. Having a credit card can make purchases and reservations easier; however, a credit card should be used responsibly so that the consumer does not over extend his finances.

Credit cards are usually issued by banks or other financial institutions. Some credit cards may be available online. The consumer would be wise to find out the following before applying for a credit card:

- What fees are associated with the credit card?
- What are the features offered with the credit card?
- Is a credit monitoring plan available?
- What interest rate will be charged?
- What is the fee associated with cash advances?
- Does the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) change per feature?
- What is the grace period before finance charges are incurred?
- What is the over-the-credit-limit fee?
- What is the cash advance fee?
- How much is the credit limit and will it increase?

It's always wise to shop around for a credit card. Comparisons may save you on interest and fees. Be sure whatever card you choose will meet your needs. If you have no credit or less-than-perfect credit, a credit card may help you to establish or re-establish your credit. That is, as long as you pay on time and do not incur late charges or fail to make payments. Always be sure you can fit the payments into your budget.

Credit cards, like all credit, should be used wisely. It should also be paid back in a timely manner, plus to save money, you should always pay more than the minimum payment if possible. In this way you can pay your debt off quicker and save money you would spend on interest if you only paid the minimum amount due.

Major credit cards are Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Understanding credit cards and how they work will help you to use credit to your advantage. If you have a problem with your credit card, be sure to file a complaint. Credit card companies can investigate and resolve any disputes you may have. A good choice for people building credit is to apply for a secured credit card.