credit card


Definition of credit card

: a card authorizing purchases on credit

Examples of credit card in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Officials don’t routinely look at surveillance video or track down people through credit card receipts. NBC News, "How measles detectives work to contain an outbreak," 7 June 2019 Tickets available online at (credit card fee applies) or by calling 330-722-2541. Sam Boyer,, "AAUW awards scholarships to two local women: Whit & Whimsey," 7 June 2019 Kukulka also won an IPA award for her credit card story along with a first-place award for a localized national story that examined how regular school shooting threats can cause anxiety among students. Phil Rockrohr,, "Pioneer Press awarded 10 Illinois Press Association awards, 2 Lisagors," 6 June 2019 Someone used the victim’s personal information to open credit card accounts. Rachel Spacek, The Mercury News, "Campbell crime report for the week of June 14," 6 June 2019 Arrington allegedly forged his supervisor’s signature and approval of the credit card billing statements. Lillian Reed,, "Chad Focus: Who is the Baltimore rapper named in a federal wire fraud indictment?," 5 June 2019 The team interviewed dozens of people and waded through years of credit card reports detailing Bransfield's purchases, as well as personal banking records maintained on his computer. Anchorage Daily News, "W. Virgnia bishop spent millions on himself and sent cash to priests he was accused of mistreating, Vatican report says," 5 June 2019 Other applications that rely on Google's cloud based platform like Shopify, an ecommerce tool used by millions of small businesses, were also affected to the point that many credit card transactions were unable to be processed for hours. Gene Marks,, "Small businesses depend on companies like Google. So, how to protect against outages?," 5 June 2019 Police filed a credit card abuse report May 21 in the 2300 block of Halbert Drive. Jennifer James, Houston Chronicle, "Pearland police: Students snagged with drugs, paraphernalia," 5 June 2019

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

12 Jun 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on credit card

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with credit card

Spanish Central: Translation of credit card

Nglish: Translation of credit card for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of credit card for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about credit card

Comments on credit card

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to take the place or position of

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