credit card


Definition of credit card 

: a card authorizing purchases on credit

Examples of credit card in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Someone stole a wallet from a locked locker in a business in the 3800 block of Willow Road on July 1 and later used the credit cards found inside to purchase merchandise, police said. Alexandra Kukulka,, "Blotter: Wallets stolen from lockers in Glenview," 6 July 2018 At any rate, now's a good time to sign up for free checking accounts and shop for credit cards that offer lower interest rates, don't charge annual fees and have attractive reward programs. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "How to keep on top of your personal finances in a growing economy," 10 June 2018 The category that includes credit cards climbed $2.3 billion in April after falling by $1.1 billion in March. Martin Crutsinger, Fox News, "US consumer borrowing growth slows in April," 7 June 2018 At a recent happy hour, a friend boldly claimed that the Chase Sapphire Preferred card was the only travel credit card worth having. Janna Irons, Outside Online, "The 5 Best Travel Credit Cards," 30 May 2018 Revising the system so Freedom cards work with it is the first step to what SEPTA officials say will eventually be a system that will accept payments from credit cards, even smart phones, said Andrew Busch, a SEPTA spokesman. Jason Laughlin,, "SEPTA's Key card readers will soon accept new PATCO fare cards," 29 May 2018 Another came a month later, when Musleh tried to buy a ticket from Chicago to Istanbul, but had the credit card declined, the FBI said. Jared Gilmour, miamiherald, "Teen plotted to join ISIS and browsed Walmart for bomb supplies, Indiana prosecutors say | Miami Herald," 23 May 2018 Inside the truck, police found at least 10 credit cards and IDs with names that didn't match hers and packages not addressed to Lee, the Post reported. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Police: Traffic stop leads to stolen truck, stolen stuff, stolen license plate | The Kansas City Star," 11 May 2018 Paying less than the full balance on your credit card and incurring interest charges absolutely does not help your score. Michelle Singletary,, "No, you don’t need a perfect 850 FICO score," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'credit card.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of credit card

1888, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for credit card

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for credit card

The first known use of credit card was in 1888

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More Definitions for credit card

credit card


Financial Definition of credit card

What It Is

A credit card is a plastic card issued by a financial institution that allows its user to borrow pre-approved funds at the point of sale in order to complete a purchase.

How It Works

Credit cards have a maximum amount -- or credit limit -- the user can borrow during a given period. The credit limit is pre-determined by the card issuer based on the cardholder's credit rating and credit history.

When an individual uses a credit card to make a purchase, he or she is authorizing the credit card issuer to pay the merchant on their behalf. Merchants are required by law to verify that the individual using the card is its rightful owner by obtaining proper identification via a Personal Identification Number (PIN), and/or a driver's license or state-issued ID card.

Merchants generally prefer payment by credit card because they are immediately paid by the card issuer – despite the fee the merchant must pay to the card processing company for each transaction.

[InvestingAnswers Feature: Credit or Debit? Your Choice Could Cost You 3%]

Credit card issuers require the cardholder to pay his or her balance in full, usually on a monthly basis. If the user does not pay the balance in full, the issuer adds interest to the balance, and this interest compounds for as long as the balance is outstanding.

As with credit limits, the cardholder's credit rating and credit history can influence the interest rate on the card. In some cases, the issuer can raise the interest rate. There is no federal limit on the interest rates credit card issuers can charge, although many states impose different caps. Many card issuers offer "teaser rates" that start out very low and increase over time.

[InvestingAnswers Feature: How to Choose the Best Credit Card Offers]

Issuers use several methods to calculate interest, and it is important for the cardholder to read and understand the issuer's disclosure statement in order to avoid unpleasant surprises. Many credit cards also charge an annual fee, late payment fees, fees for going over the credit limit, cash-advance fees and foreign-currency conversion fees.

Why It Matters

Credit card interest rates are higher than personal loans or lines of credit. Many credit cardholders underestimate the time and money it takes to pay off outstanding balances -- especially when interest rates are high and minimum payments are low.

[InvestingAnswers Feature: Avoiding the Six Most Common "Black Holes" in your Family Budget]

It is important that cardholders not only use credit cards in moderation, but also take preventative action against identity thieves in order to protect their privacy and identity.

Credit cards allow cardholders to avoid carrying cash, earn frequent-flier miles, or accumulate other "rewards" that can be used almost anywhere around the world. With many credit card types, the cardholder can also get cash advances through ATMs.

Source: Investing Answers

credit card


English Language Learners Definition of credit card

: a small plastic card that is used to buy things that you agree to pay for later

credit card


Kids Definition of credit card

: a card with which a person can buy things and pay for them later

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something that serves to warn or remind

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