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Annual Percentage Rate (APR):-
The amount of interest assessed on an outstanding credit card balance. For billing purposes, the APR is usually divided into periodic (monthly or daily) rates. A variable APR, often referred to as "prime + x%," is tied to an economic market index such as the Prime Rate; thus it fluctuates with the economy. A fixed APR does not fluctuate with the market; rather, it is set by the credit card company. The company can change it at any time with as little as 15 days notice to cardholders.

Penalty APR :-
A much higher, punitive interest rate that credit card companies may apply to cardholders who have exceeded their credit limits, made one or more late payments, or are otherwise in "bad standing." Penalty APRs are, on average, about 52% higher than regular APRs.

Credit Limit (or Line) :-
The maximum, cumulative amount of money a consumer may borrow from a credit card company. Credit limits are set based on a consumer's credit history; however, this does not necessarily mean that the limit is one that the consumer can afford.

"Pre-Approved" :-
This term is misleading and does not mean that a consumer is guaranteed to receive the card for which s/he has applied, or any card at all. It merely means that the consumer was chosen to receive the offer because s/he met some initial criteria of creditworthiness.

Grace Period :-
The time during which a transaction does not accrue interest. Grace periods range from 0-30 days, with an average of 23 days, and they often apply only to purchases, not cash advances or other transactions. On most cards, grace periods only apply if the previous month’s balance is paid in full and on time.

Transaction Fee :-
Cardholders are nearly always assessed additional fees for transactions other than purchases (such as cash advances). The fee is usually a percentage of the transaction, but a minimum fee may apply. Transaction fees may or may not be capped.

Quasi-Cash Transaction :-
A transaction similar to cash, such as the purchase of lottery tickets or betting chips. These are usually subject to transaction fees.

Cash Advance :-
An immediate cash loan from a consumer's credit card account. Cash advances may carry a higher APR than purchases, and often are assessed transaction fees. Grace periods may not apply to cash advances.

Balance Transfer :-
At a cardholder's request, credit card company A will pay the balance the cardholder has with company B, and the balance will then be put onto the cardholder's account with company A. Consumers usually transfer balances when applying for a new card, to take advantage of low introductory APRs. Balance transfers usually incur transaction fees.

Schumer Box/Disclosure Chart :- The disclosure chart contains the most important information of the offer (although not all important information is included in it). By law, the disclosure chart must contain:

  1. the actual APR (that is, what the APR will be once the introductory period ends)
  2. the formula for the APR, if the rate is variable
  3. the length of the grace period
  4. the amount of the annual fee, if any
  5. the minimum finance charge
  6. any transaction fees (for example, fees for cash advances)
  7. the method of computing the purchase balance for each billing period
  8. late payment fees, and default or delinquency fees
  9. over-the-limit fees
Methods of Computing Balances: Methods used vary widely and have a significant effect on the cost of credit. There are three main methods:
  1. Average Daily Balance :-
    This is the most common computation method. Road Signs: Terms You Should Know The outstanding balances for each day in the billing cycle are added, and this total is divided by the number of days in the billing cycle. New purchases may or may not be added, depending on the terms of the card. If the terms state that new purchases are included, purchases made during the billing cycle will raise a cardholder's balance and may increase the finance charge. Once the average daily balance is calculated, interest is assessed each day at the daily rate, which is the annual percentage rate divided by 365.
  2. Adjusted Balance :-
    Payments or credits that are received during the current billing period are subtracted from the balance at the beginning of the billing cycle. New purchases are not included in the calculations. For example, if a cardholder's beginning balance was $2000, and s/he made a payment of $500 during the billing period, s/he would only be charged interest on the remaining $1500. This is generally the most consumer-friendly computation method.
  3. Two-Cycle Balance :-
    To obtain this balance, credit card companies add together the average daily balances for the current and the previous billing cycles. The average daily balances for the current billing period may or may not include new purchases. The two-cycle balance method is the least consumer- friendly method of balance computation.
  4. Secured Credit Card :-
    This type of credit card is linked to a bank account, allowing a credit card company to deduct payment if the cardholder fails to pay. To obtain a secured card, a consumer must deposit an amount of money equal to the credit limit of the card into a bank account. This account is separate from any other accounts the consumer may have.
  5. Debit Card :-
    Debit cards are not credit cards; rather, they deduct money directly from the cardholder's bank account whenever a transaction is made with the card. Consumer protections guaranteed by law to credit card users often do not apply when a debit card is used.

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