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Credit Card Related Terms
Here are some of the common terms that may be used along within credit card applications or when speaking to someone about a credit card.
is a fee automatically charged once a year to your credit card account for the convenience of the credit card. Annual fees, when they're charged, range from $15 to $500.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
Corresponds sometimes to a nominal APR and sometimes to an effective APR (or EAPR), describes the interest rate for a whole year (annualized), rather than just a monthly fee/rate, as applied on a loan, mortgage loan, credit card, etc. It is a finance charge expressed as an annual rate.
is the fee plus the compound interest rate calculated across a year
is the simple interest rate for a year
The unused portion of an open line of credit, such as a credit card or a revolving loan (such as a home-equity line of credit). Available credit is the difference between the amount of the credit line or limit, and the amount that has already been borrowed. Available credit is considered readily available for withdrawal or for direct purchases.
Is the transfer of the balance (the money owed) in a credit card account to an account held at another credit card company. This process is actively encouraged by almost all credit card issuers as a means to attract new customers.
A number generated by the Equifax Credit Bureau to rank an individual's credit-worthiness. Beacon scores are credit scores, which are determined through a complex algorithm. These numbers tell the lender how likely it is that the borrower will repay the loan. When NextGen FICO scores started being used, the Beacon score was replaced with the Pinnacle score.
The interval of time during which bills are prepared for goods and services that a company has sold. A billing cycle is recurring and is most often set to repeat on a monthly basis. For example, a company may send bills out on the first day of the month for services provided the previous month.
Card Issuer (Issuing Bank)
is a bank that offers card association branded payment cards directly to consumers. The name is derived from the fact that it issues payment to the acquiring bank on behalf of its customer (the purchaser in the transaction).
is the return of funds to a consumer, mainly used in the United States, forcibly initiated by the issuing bank of the instrument used by a consumer to settle a debt. Specifically, it is the reversal of a prior outbound transfer of funds from a consumer's bank account, line of credit, or credit card.
is a card that provides a payment method enabling the cardholder to make purchases which are paid for by the card issuer, to whom the cardholder becomes indebted. The cardholder is obligated to repay the debt to the card issuer in full by the due date, usually on a monthly basis, or be subject to late fees and restrictions on further card use.
card identification number, Discover and Amex, a security feature for "card not present" payment card transactions instituted to reduce the incidence of credit card fraud
A company hired by lenders to recover funds that are past due or accounts that are in default. The lending company itself may also have a division or subsidiary that acts as its collection agency. A collection agency is often hired after a company has made multiple attempts to collect its receivables.
is a payment card issued to users as a system of payment. It allows the cardholder to pay for goods and services based on the holder's promise to pay for them. The issuer of the card creates a revolving account and grants a line of credit to the consumer (or the user) from which the user can borrow money for payment to a merchant or as a cash advance to the user.
also known as a credit report freeze, a credit report lock down, a credit lock down, a credit lock or a security freeze, allows an individual to control how a U.S. consumer reporting agency (also known as credit bureau: Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) is able to sell his or her data. The credit freeze locks the data at the consumer reporting agency until an individual gives permission for the release of the data.
The amount of credit that a financial institution extends to a client. Credit limit also refers to the maximum amount a credit card company will allow someone to borrow on a single card. Credit limits are usually determined based on information contained in the application of the person seeking credit, or that person's credit rating.
is the monitoring of one's credit history in order to detect any suspicious activity or changes. Companies offer such service on a subscription basis, typically granting regular access to one's credit history, alerts of critical changes to one's credit history, and additional services. Credit monitoring can help detect credit related fraud and identity theft.
is, in many countries, a record of an individual's or company's past borrowing and repaying, including information about late payments and bankruptcy. The term "credit reputation" can either be used synonymous to credit history or to credit score.
A statistically derived numeric expression of a person's creditworthiness that is used by lenders to access the likelihood that a person will repay his or her debts. A credit score is based on, among other things, a person's past credit history. It is a number between 300 and 850 - the higher the number, the more creditworthy the person is deemed to be.
card security code, Debit, a security feature for "card not present" payment card transactions instituted to reduce the incidence of credit card fraud
card validation code, MasterCard, a security feature for "card not present" payment card transactions instituted to reduce the incidence of credit card fraud
card verification value, Visa, a security feature for "card not present" payment card transactions instituted to reduce the incidence of credit card fraud
An electronic card issued by a bank which allows bank clients access to their account to withdraw cash or pay for goods and services. This removes the need for bank clients to go to the bank to remove cash from their account as they can now just go to an ATM or pay electronically at merchant locations. This type of card, as a form of payment, also removes the need for checks as the debit card immediately transfers money from the client's account to the business account.
The combining of several unsecured debts into a single, new loan that is more favorable. Debt consolidation involves taking out a new loan to pay off a number of other debts. The new loan may result in a lower interest rate, lower monthly payment or both. Consumers can use debt consolidation as a tool to make it easier to get out of student loan debt, credit card debt and other types of debt that aren’t tied to an asset.
is failure to meet the legal obligations (or conditions) of a loan, for example when a home buyer fails to make a mortgage payment, or when a corporation or government fails to pay a bond which has reached maturity. A national or sovereign default is the failure or refusal of a government to repay its national debt.
If your credit card payment does not arrive -- and get posted -- by the due date, you will be charged a late fee. It's important for credit cardholders to watch their payment due dates, since they sometimes change.
stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, a global standard for inter-operation of integrated circuit cards (IC cards or "chip cards") and IC card capable point of sale (POS) terminals and automated teller machines (ATMs), for authenticating credit and debit card transactions.
The last day that an options or futures contract is valid. When an investor buys an option, the contract gives them the right but not the obligation to buy or sell an asset at a predetermined price, called a strike price, within a given time period, which is on or before the expiration date. If the investor chooses not to exercise that right, the option expires and becomes worthless and the investor loses the money paid to buy the option.
A type of credit score that makes up a substantial portion of the credit report that lenders use to assess an applicant's credit risk and whether to extend a loan. FICO is an acronym for the Fair Isaac Corporation, the creators of the FICO score.
is any fee representing the cost of credit, or the cost of borrowing. It is interest accrued on, and fees charged for, some forms of credit.
is a corporate shield, often used by businesses and enterprises to alert their existing or non-existing stakeholders, including partners, affiliates, customers, etc. against any fake company or brand that may be using or might use their brand identity or proprietary information like name, logos, trademarks, service marks, etc. to have undue monitory advantage or just to defame them.
is a time past the deadline for an obligation during which a late penalty that would have been imposed is waived. Grace periods, which can range from a number of minutes to a number of days or longer, depending on the context, can apply in various situations, including arrival at a job, paying a bill, for meeting a government or legal requirement, or in many other situations.
Issuer identification number (IIN)
the first six digits of a card number including the MII
also known as the "modulus 10" or "mod 10" algorithm, is a simple checksum formula used to validate a variety of identification numbers, such as credit card numbers, IMEI numbers, National Provider Identifier numbers in US and Canadian Social Insurance Numbers. It was created by IBM scientist Hans Peter Luhn and described in U.S. Patent No. 2,950,048, filed on January 6, 1954, and granted on August 23, 1960. The algorithm is in the public domain and is in wide use today. It is specified in ISO/IEC 7812-1. It is not intended to be a cryptographically secure hash function; it was designed to protect against accidental errors, not malicious attacks. Most credit cards and many government identification numbers use the algorithm as a simple method of distinguishing valid numbers from mistyped or otherwise incorrect numbers.
Major Industry Identifier (MII)
this is the first digit of the PAN; Industries listed are Airlines, Travel, Banking, Petro, Helthcare, and Merchandising
The card member agreement provides the terms and conditions of a credit card account. This agreement is required by federal law as a consumer disclosure. It also represents a binding agreement between card issuers and their customers. It must include the annual percentage rate, the monthly minimum payment formula, annual fees and dispute resolution processes.
is a businessperson who trades in commodities produced by others, in order to earn a profit
The smallest amount of a credit card bill that a consumer can pay, to remain in good standing with the credit card company. Making the monthly minimum payment on time is the least a consumer needs to do, to avoid late fees and to have a good repayment history on his credit report. The amount of the minimum monthly payment is calculated as a small percentage of the consumer's total credit balance.
exceeding the amount of credit that a financial institution extends to a client.
A loan payment that has not been made as of its due date. A borrower who is past due may be subject to late fees, unless the borrower is still within a grace period. Failure to repay a loan on time could have negative implications for the borrower's credit status or cause the loan terms to be permanently adjusted.
Payment card numbers
are found on payment cards, such as credit cards and debit cards, as well as stored-value cards, gift cards and other similar cards. Some card issuers refer to the card number as the primary account number or PAN. They have a certain level of internal structure and share a common numbering scheme
Personal Identification Number (PIN)
A numerical code used in many electronic financial transactions. Personal identification numbers (PINs) are usually used in conjunction with usernames or other passwords. They are also usually required when using bank debit or credit cards, and most banks or financial institutions issue PINs separately from the cards through the mail.
Primary account number (PAN)
The primary identifier for ownership of an account, whether a vendor account, a checking or brokerage account, or a loan account. An account number is used whether or not the identifier uses letters or numbers.
The interest rate that commercial banks charge their most credit-worthy customers. Generally a bank's best customers consist of large corporations. The prime interest rate, or prime lending rate, is largely determined by the federal funds rate, which is the overnight rate which banks lend to one another. The prime rate is also important for retail customers, as the prime rate directly affects the lending rates which are available for mortgage, small business and personal loans.
A type of credit card that is backed by a savings account used as collateral on the credit available with the card. Money is deposited and held in the account backing the card. The limit will be based on both your previous credit history and the amount deposited in the account. The limit as a percent of the deposit tends to range between 50% and 100%.
Variable Interest Rate
An interest rate on a loan or security that fluctuates over time, because it is based on an underlying benchmark interest rate or index that changes periodically. The obvious advantage of a variable interest rate is that if the underlying interest rate or index declines, the borrower's interest payments also fall. Conversely, if the underlying index rises, interest payments increase.