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A credit card is a thin rectangular piece of plastic or metal issued by a bank or financial services company, that allows cardholders to borrow funds with which to pay for goods and services with merchants that accept cards for payment. Credit cards impose the condition that cardholders pay back the borrowed money, plus any applicable interest, as well as any additional agreed-upon charges, either in full by the billing date or over time. An example of a credit card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. (You can read our Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card review to get a good sense of all the various attributes of a credit card).

In addition to the standard credit line, the credit card issuer may also grant a separate cash line of credit (LOC) to cardholders, enabling them to borrow money in the form of cash advances that can be accessed through bank tellers, ATMs or credit card convenience checks. Such cash advances typically have different terms, such as no grace period and higher interest rates, compared to those transactions that access the main credit line. Issuers customarily pre-set borrowing limits, based on an individual’s credit rating. A vast majority of businesses let the customer make purchases with credit cards, which remain one of today’s most popular payment methodologies for buying consumer goods and services.

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