credit card


Definition of credit card

: a card authorizing purchases on credit

Examples of credit card in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

According to court documents, Stewart and her team decided on the idea of requiring a credit card present for each purchase—the buyer would have to enter the first six digits of their card before the sale was complete. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Documents Show Facebook Knowingly Took Money from Unwitting Children," 25 Jan. 2019 Loan losses as of last spring were around 9% of outstanding balances on Walmart credit cards, The Wall Street Journal previously reported. Annamaria Andriotis, WSJ, "Synchrony Says Walmart to Drop Lawsuit Against Credit-Card Issuer," 23 Jan. 2019 With a plastic spatula or credit card, gently scrape up the brittle wax. Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Way to Remove Candle Wax from Clothes, Carpet, and More," 24 Dec. 2018 Simply donate to Child's Play using PayPal or donate to the EFF using PayPal, credit card, or Bitcoin. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Enter for a chance to win consoles, smartwatches, and more in the 2018 Ars Charity Drive," 19 Dec. 2018 Rossman recommended that anyone whose information may have been compromised freeze their credit cards to prevent the hackers from opening fraudulent accounts in their name. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "More than 500 million Marriott guests’ information was hacked. Here’s what you need to know.," 30 Nov. 2018 Get your credit cards ready: the biggest sale season of the year is officially upon us. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Best Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales to Shop This Year," 26 Nov. 2018 Its mission is to protect consumers who are dealing with banks and taking on debt, including mortgages, student loans, and credit cards. Emily Stewart, Vox, "The Senate just confirmed a director for CFPB who has no background in consumer issues," 6 Dec. 2018 Campbell, speaking for Fontem, says online sales from already require an adult ID and credit card. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "FDA asks e-cigarette giants to help regulate themselves," 31 Oct. 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

6 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for credit card

The first known use of credit card was in 1888

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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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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

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