The happenings "inside" the Wisconsin State Treasury and across the street at the State Capitol

Money Matters: Credit Card Terminology


credit cards

The Office of the State Treasurer keeps an eye on Wisconsin’s money and we’d like to help you keep an eye on yours.  For many, part of daily living involves credit cards, credit history, credit, credit, credit.  During the month of February, we will take a look at this way of life to help you decide if it’s right for you. 

Credit cards offer many advantages. There is the convenience of being able to buy needed items now and the security of not having to carry cash. You also receive fraud protection and in some cases rewards for making purchases.  First off, let’s take a look at the terms creditors use with the help of our friends at www.practicalmoneyskills.com.

Credit Card Terminology

Understanding the language of credit cards will help you make informed decisions when choosing one. Below is a list of some of the most commonly used credit card terms.

Annual Fee
The once-a-year cost of owning a credit card. Some credit card providers offer cards with no annual fees. The annual fee is part of the total cost of credit.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
The yearly interest rate charged on outstanding credit card balances.

Balance
An amount of money. In personal banking, balance refers to the amount of money in a savings or checking account. In credit, balance refers to an amount of money owed.

Credit Bureau
A reporting agency that collects information on consumer credit usage. There are currently three main credit bureaus in the United States: Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union.

Credit Line
The maximum dollar amount that can be charged on a specific credit card account.

Credit Rating
A financial institution’s evaluation of an individual’s ability to manage debt. It is necessary to have a good credit rating if you intend to borrow money or have credit cards.

Grace Period
The time a borrower is allowed after a payment is due to make that payment without adding to the interest owed.

Introductory Rate
Credit card issuers may offer low introductory annual percentage rates as special promotions. Be sure to fully understand how long the introductory rate will last and what the standard rate will be.

Minimum Payment
The lowest amount of money that you are required to pay on your credit card statement each month in order to keep the account in good standing.

Overdraft Protection
A banking service that allows you to link your checking account to your credit card, thereby protecting you from overdraft penalties or bounced checks in the case of insufficient funds.

The Office of the State Treasurer keeps an eye on Wisconsin’s money and we’d like to help you keep an eye on yours.  For many, part of daily living involves credit cards, credit history, credit, credit, credit.  During the month of February, we will take a look at this way of life to help you decide if it’s right for you.  First off, let’s take a look at the terms creditors use.

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