Financial Literacy for Everyone

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Credit Card Terminology

Understanding the language of credit cards will help you make informed decisions when choosing one. Below is a list of some of the most commonly used credit card terms.

Annual Fee

The once-a-year cost of owning a credit card. Some credit card providers offer cards with no annual fees. The annual fee is part of the total cost of credit.

Interest Rate

The yearly interest rate charged on outstanding credit card balances.

Balance

An amount of money. In personal banking, balance refers to the amount of money in a savings account. In credit, balance refers to an amount of money owed.

Credit Reporting Agencies

A reporting agency that collects information on consumer credit usage. There are currently two main credit reporting agencies in New Zealand: Veda Advantage, Dun & Bradstreet and Centrix.

Credit Limit

The maximum dollar amount that can be charged on a credit card account.

Credit Report

An evaluation of an individual's ability to manage debt. It is necessary to have a good credit report if you intend to borrow money or have credit cards.

Introductory Rate

Credit card issuers may offer low introductory annual percentage rates as special promotions. Be sure to fully understand how long the introductory rate will last and what the standard rate will be.

Minimum Payment

The lowest amount of money that you are required to pay on your credit card statement each month to keep the account in good standing.