credit card


Definition of credit card

: a card authorizing purchases on credit

Examples of credit card in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Authorized users do not need to use – or even possess – the credit card. Bev O'shea, USA TODAY, "Younger people usually have lower credit scores: Here's how to change that," 1 Feb. 2020 Castillo aided Audrey Gibson in making purchases at Saks using cash, gift cards and credit cards to prevent the company from reporting the transactions to the IRS, according to Castillo’s indictment. Eric Heisig, cleveland, "Beachwood Saks Fifth Avenue associate helped fentanyl trafficker buy high-end items without IRS scrutiny, feds say," 30 Jan. 2020 Previous Columns Airbnb was founded by entrepreneurs maxing out credit cards and renting air mattresses in their apartment as the financial crisis began to unfold. John D. Stoll, WSJ, "Airbnb’s New Compensation Plan Asks Shareholders to Share With Other Stakeholders," 18 Jan. 2020 Citi is the official presale credit card of the Zac Brown Band Summer 2020 Roar with the Lions Tour. Dave Brooks, Billboard, "Zac Brown Band Sets 2020 'Roar with the Lions' Tour," 9 Jan. 2020 Kickstart your mileage balance by applying for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa credit card. Paul Rubio, Condé Nast Traveler, "5 Luxury Hotels Worth Cashing In Your Marriott Bonvoy Points For," 23 Dec. 2019 After killing Hutchinson, Riess made her way to Texas while using Hutchinson’s credit cards and vehicle, police said. Tamara Lush, Twin Cities, "Fugitive MN grandma Lois Riess sentenced to life in prison for Florida murder," 17 Dec. 2019 People in town made a habit of using miles-earning credit cards everywhere — to get gas, groceries — just to help with travel. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Nearly 2 months after fatal crash, Unalaskans are struggling to get in the air," 8 Dec. 2019 The farm only accepts cash or checks, not credit cards. Akira Kyles,, "Christmas trees in Carroll County: Where to go to cut down your own," 6 Dec. 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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Time Traveler for credit card

Time Traveler

The first known use of credit card was in 1888

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Statistics for credit card

Last Updated

6 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Credit card.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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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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