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Credit Card FAQ


Read what you need to know about credit cards. Browse our most frequently asked questions.

1) What is a secured credit card?

A secured credit card is a credit card that requires a security deposit. These types of credit cards are generally for people with no or damaged credit. Your credit line will represent a percentage of your security deposit or savings account balance. If you establish good credit with the card, the credit card issuer may extend your credit line or offer you an unsecured card.

2) What is an unsecured credit card?

An unsecured credit card does not require a security deposit. Such credit cards are intended for individuals with good or excellent credit.

3) What is a grace period?

A grace period is the amount of time the card holder has to pay the balance, before interest is charged to the balance. Grace periods vary, but usually range from 10 - 25 days depending on the credit card issuer.

4) What is a balance transfer?

If you already have a credit card, you can transfer your existing balance on the previous card to a new card. Some credit cards offer low balance transfers.

5) My credit is damaged. Can I still get a credit card?

Yes. Even if you have bad or damaged credit, you can still obtain a credit card. You will most likely have to apply for a secured credit card, which requires a security deposit.

6) What is an Annual Fee

A flat, yearly charge similar to a membership fee

7) What is an Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The APR is a measure of the cost of credit that expresses the finance charge, which includes interest and may also include other charges, as a yearly rate.

8) Finance Charge

The dollar amount you pay to use credit. Besides interest costs, it may include other charges associated with transactions such as cash advance fees.

9) How do airline mileage plans work?

Most airline mileage plans co-branded, issued by a financial institution and an affiliate airline. Typically, air miles are earned with every use of the card. Most cards offer one mile per dollar spent. These earned miles are transferred to the cardholder's account with that airline, where they may be redeemed. Some banks also offer airline mileage plans without affiliations, and the customer may choose the airline.

10) What additional fees should I be aware of when applying?

It is important to understand that card issuers are required by law to disclose any fees to customers. You must read all the fine print to discover these disclosures. Some cards have an "over-limit" fee, which is usually $20 to $25 when you have charged something beyond your credit limit. Another fee to be aware of is a late payment fee, which again ranges from $20 to $25, for payments made after the due date. There is also often a transaction fee for cash advances. This fee may be a set rate, such as $2, or a percentage (commonly 2%-5% of the amount advanced), or a combination of the two. These fees are in addition to the regular interest rate.

11) What is the benefit of having a gold or platinum card?

The gold and platinum cards are set apart from other cards because of their higher credit limits and extra perks. They vary according to each card issuer, as well as the credit status of the customer. Various features that these cards offer include car rental collision insurance, travel accident insurance protection, and extended warranty insurance. Often, a higher household income is required.

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