Guide to Credit Card Terms

Annual Fee

Various credit card issuers charge an annual fee, which can help offset costs that issuers incur in maintaining accounts and providing services.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

Stands for 'annual percentage rate'. A figure, expressed as a percentage, which incorporates the interest charged upon the credit card as well as any additional fees.

Automated Teller Machine (ATM)

Another term for a cash machine.


The total amount that you owe your credit card provider and includes charges such as interest and fees.

Balance Transfer Rate

The interest rate that will be charged on any balance transferred from a previous credit card onto a new one.

Cash Advance

Withdrawing money from a cash machine using your credit card. There is usually a charge imposed for this service. A cash advance is different from a withdrawal you make with your ATM card.

Charge Card

This is a type of credit card often favoured by businesses on which the balance must be paid off in full each month.

Credit Limit

This is the maximum amount you can borrow using your card.

Credit History

A record of how you have paid accounts in the past; used as a guide to determine whether you're likely to pay accounts on time in the future.

Credit Reference Agency

Organisations that specialise in providing credit reports that assess an individual or business's credit risk.

Credit Report

An assessment of an individual or a company's credit risk. These reports are composed using a variety of informational sources and are used by lenders in order to assess applicants.

Finance Charges

The price paid to a lender for the use of borrowed money.

Fixed Rate

A set annual percentage rate that does not change in response to interest rate changes and conditions.

Grace Period

The time when you're not charged interest for purchases you've made.


The charge that the lender imposes on the borrower for the granting of credit.

Interest Free Period

The period during which no interest will accrue on credit card transactions.


The period during which the Introductory Rate applies to balances outstanding on your account.

Introductory Rate

A special annual percentage rate that applies for only a limited time.

Minimum Payment

This is the minimum amount that you will need to pay back each month on your credit card balance.

Online Banking

Online systems enable you to access a host of banking services from a personal computer by connecting with the bank's computers over the Internet.


Stands for 'personal identification number' and is issued to a credit card holder in order to enable them to use cash machines to withdraw money.

Rewards Program

A point accumulating program based on purchases or transactions made on your card.