1. Credit Cards: Introduction
  2. Credit Cards: What Are Credit Cards?
  3. Credit Cards: How to Apply for a Credit Card
  4. Credit Cards: Credit Card Agreements and Consumer Rights
  5. Credit Cards: Types to Choose From
  6. Credit Cards: Making Payments
  7. Credit Cards: Cons of Using a Credit Card
  8. Credit Cards: Pros of Using a Credit Card
  9. Credit Cards: Identity Theft and Fraud Protections
  10. Credit Cards: 10 Key Takeaways About Credit Cards

If you remember nothing else from this tutorial, we hope you’ll take away these 10 key points:

1. Credit cards allow you to carry a balance. In exchange for this privilege, you’ll have to pay interest on the balance you carry, just as you would on a loan. If your card has a grace period and you aren’t carrying a balance from the previous billing cycle, however, you don’t have to pay any interest on your balance if you pay in full and on time. 

2. Before you apply for any credit card, make sure to read the credit card agreement to check the card’s annual fee, interest rate and other terms and conditions so you know what you’re signing up for.

3. The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD Act) protects consumers against arbitrary interest rate increases, excessive fees and tricky payment deadlines.

4. There’s a credit card for every type of consumer, whether you need to rebuild or establish credit, want to earn rewards or need a low interest rate.

5. The interest rate your credit card charges is called the annual percentage rate, or APR. Your credit card may have a fixed APR or a variable APR. If you carry a balance, you’ll pay interest, which compounds daily.

6. Making the minimum monthly payment on time is good for your credit score, but only paying the minimum will keep you in debt for a long time.

7. The psychological effects of using a credit card can encourage you to spend more than if you paid with cash.

8. Credit cards protect consumers against check fraud and against the loss and theft of cash. If you lose your credit card or your card is stolen, just notify your credit card issuer and it can close your account and open a new one for you. Many credit card issuers assume all liability for credit card fraud to limit consumers’ risk.

9. Debit cards offer fewer protections against fraud and theft than credit cards do.

10. Credit cards are a convenient way to pay for goods and services, but if not used wisely, they can trap consumers in debt, especially if delinquent payments cause a consumer to incur the penalty APR.


Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    How Many Credit Cards Should You Have?

    National stats indicate most consumers have three or more cards - are you one of them?
  2. Personal Finance

    Should You Use Credit Cards To Fund Your Business?

    We give you 4 reasons to consider using a credit card instead of a business loan to fund your business, and how to be smart about it.
  3. Personal Finance

    3 New Types Of Credit Cards To Look For

    These three types of credit cards are becoming popular with customers looking to pay less fees and build up their credit scores.
  4. Personal Finance

    7 Factors For Comparing Credit Cards

    It's good to find a credit card that fits your lifestyle, but read the fine print to make sure you're not overpaying for the benefits.
  5. Personal Finance

    10 Reasons to Use Your Credit Card

    There's a surprising credit card strategy you should employ as a consumer: Use your credit card for everything (well, almost).
  6. Small Business

    How to Use Small Business Credit Cards

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

    Best Credit Cards For People With Poor Credit Scores

    There are still ways you can build credit with a credit card, even if you have bad credit.
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Short Selling, or Selling Something You Don't Own

    Money can be made without actually owning any shares, but short selling isn't for new investors.
  2. Determining a Firm's Percentage of Credit Sales

    Find out where to look for information about determining a company's percentage of credit sales.
  3. How Did Kidder Peabody's Joseph Jett Lose $350M?

    The 1980s were a rough decade for Kidder, Peabody & Co. thanks to bond trader Joseph Jett.
  4. What Is a Blank-Check Company?

    A blank-check company has a business plan based on a merger or acquisition with another company.
Trading Center