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Credit Card Glossary - Glossary of Credit Card Terms



Is an abbreviation for annual percentage rate, the term used to describes the % of interest you will pay on any borrowed money

Affinity Card

A card offered by two organizations, one a lending institution, the other a non-financial group. Schools, non-profit groups, pro wrestlers, popular singers and airlines are among those featured on affinity cards. Use of the card usually entitles holders to special discounts or deals from the non-financial group. See also co-branded cards.


The indication that a sales transaction was successful by your credit card company

ATM or Debit Card

The payment card used in an ATM for deposits, cash withdrawals, account transfers and other related transactions. A PIN must be entered to withdraw cash and access account functions.


The process of verifying that a credit card has sufficient funds or credit available to cover the amount of a sales transaction, an authorization is obtained for every sale.

Authorization Code

A code that a credit card issuing bank returns in an electronic message to the merchant's POS equipment that indicates approval of the transaction. The code serves as proof of authorization.

Balance Transfer

The process of moving an unpaid credit card debt from one card or issuer to another, card issuers sometimes offer teaser rates to encourage balance transfers coming in and balance transfer fees to discourage them from going out.

Business Card

Similar to a Corporate Card, but issued to a business with fewer employees. Each employee is responsible for his or her purchases with this payment credit card.


The person to whom a payment card is issued, or an additional person authorized by the original cardholder to use the card.

Cardholder Account Number

A sequence of numbers assigned specifically to a cardholder account that also identifies the issuer and type of payment card. The cardholder account number is the embossed number imprinted on the payment card.

Card Security Code

This is typically a 3 or 4 digit number on the back of the card, which is separate from the credit card number. CSC CVV/2 is referred to by different names depending on the card association.

Closed Account Fee

A fee charged for shutting down an account. Sometimes charged if the account is closed before a certain time period has passed.

Corporate Card

Credit or charge cards issued to businesses to cover expenses such as travel and entertainment and procurement.


A response from a card issuer denying the use of the card for an attempted transaction

Expiration Date

The embossed date on a bankcard, after which the card becomes void and will no longer be accepted as a method of payment.

Foreign Currency Surcharge

A charge imposed by some credit card issuers that imposes a fee on purchases made in a foreign currency.

Fraud Investigation

The process of identifying suspicious activity on a card or other payment method

MOP or Method of Payment

The way a merchant chooses to accept payment for products or services. Payment. Examples include: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, JCB, Electronic Check and private label cards.

PIN or Personal Identification Number

A numeric code used as verification to complete a transaction via a payment card. The number is entered into a keypad and is encrypted to travel along with the authorization.

Point Of Sale or POS

The location where a payment card transaction occurs, usually by way of a device such as a credit card terminal or till point.

Processing Fees

The fees associated with the processing of credit card transactions.


A refund occurs when the merchant rebates all, or a portion, of an original sales transaction amount to the cardholder. Refunds are made to the same payment card that was used for the original transaction.

Sales Transaction Fee

The amount the financial institution charges a merchant for each sales transaction.

Secured Card

Normally used by people who have no credit history or people attempting to improve their current credit rating. A credit card that a card-holder secures with a savings deposit to ensure payment of the outstanding balance if the card holder defaults on payments.

Standard Card

A basic payment card offered by issuers; customers with higher incomes and good credit reports can qualify for the higher-limit gold and platinum payment cards.


Any action between a cardholder and a merchant or member that results in activity on the account, such as a purchase, cash advance or credit

Transaction Date

The actual date on which a payment or other transaction occurs

Transaction Fee

The amount that a merchant pays per sales or other payment transaction for processing


Please Note: is not authorised to give advice under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

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