DEFINITION of 'Descriptive Billing'

A type of credit card billing that includes the date, merchant's name, contact, telephone number etc. of each transaction. Descriptive billing replaced country club billing, which existed in the 1970s, where the actual credit card slips were physically included in the bill. Country club billing is obviously more expensive for the credit card companies, and descriptive billing has become the norm.

BREAKING DOWN 'Descriptive Billing'

Descriptive-billing practices are governed by Regulation Z, which states that if the credit card slips are not included in the bill, the credit card company must supply "the amount and date of the transaction and a brief identification of the property or services." Reg Z also states that the creditor "may omit the address or provide any suitable designation that helps the consumer to identify the transaction when the transaction (1) took place at a location that is not fixed; (2) took place in the consumer's home; or (3) was a mail or telephone order."

Some consumer advocates dislike the use of descriptive billing, because the customer cannot view the slip where he or she actually authorized the transaction. But with credit card purchases now commonly made online and by phone, providing physical evidence of customer authorization would often prove difficult at best.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Country Club Billing

    A now-defunct billing system used by credit card companies up ...
  2. Billing Statement

    A periodic report that credit card companies issue to credit ...
  3. Authorized Transaction

    A credit card purchase for which the merchant has received approval ...
  4. Standard Floor Limit

    The amount of money that can be charged in a transaction before ...
  5. Recurring Billing

    When a merchant automatically charges a cardholder for specified ...
  6. Batch Credit Card Processing

    The process of a merchant processing all of its authorized credit ...
Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    The History Of Consumer Credit Rights

    The Fair Credit Billing Act of 1974 gave consumers the power to dispute credit card charges.
  2. Personal Finance

    Automating Your Bill Payments

    Automation can be a painless (and free) way to remove the stress of bill scheduling from your life - if you do it right.
  3. Small Business

    How to Use Small Business Credit Cards

    A small business credit card can be a convenient way to increase your company's purchasing power, but must be carefully managed.
  4. Personal Finance

    Procrastinator's Guide To Bill Payment

    Avoid punishing late fees and keep your credit score intact with these 10 tips.
  5. Investing

    Investing In Credit Card Companies

    This investment requires keeping an eye on consumer indexes and the overall health of the economy.
  6. Personal Finance

    Can Corporate Credit Cards Affect Your Credit?

    Corporate cards have a hidden downside. If the company fails to pay its bills, you could be liable for the amount and end up with a damaged credit rating.
  7. Personal Finance

    Credit Card or Cash?

    Credit cards are convenient to use, but not always the best choice. Here are 5 times you shouldn't pay with a credit card – and 5 times you should.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Who uses bills of exchange?

    Find out who uses bills of exchange, why they are important in international trade and what happens when a bill is traded ... Read Answer >>
  2. What are the differences between debit cards and credit cards?

    Learn how the major difference between a debit card and a credit card is where the money comes from when a customer makes ... Read Answer >>
  3. Where are secured credit cards accepted?

    Repair a damaged credit history or establish one by opening a secured credit card account with a collateral deposit into ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center