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Credit Card GlossaryCredit Card Glossary

Below is a list of credit card terms individuals with bad credit, and who are applying for a credit card based on their credit history should know.

Annual Fee
A yearly fee charged by a credit card company each year for use of a credit card.
TIP: It is extremely rare to find an unsecured credit card for individuals with bad credit that does not carry an annual fee. However, you may want to shop around to see which ones offer the least amount per year.

APR (Annual Percentage Rate)
The interest rate charged on a credit card over a year period of time. This rate is applied each and every month that an outstanding balance is present.
TIP: If possible, pay your balance off in full every month. This will prevent you from paying little to no interest on what you have charged to the card.

Cash-Advance Fee (AKA Transaction Fee):
A fee charged when you use a credit card for a cash advance, such as withdrawing cash from an ATM. This may be a flat fee or a percentage of the amount of the cash advance.
TIP: Use the cash advance option only if there is no other option. Cash-advance fees can be costly.

Credit Card Agreement (AKA Terms and Conditions):
A document that outlines the terms and conditions for using your credit card. It is your contract with your credit card company.
TIP: Make sure you read and understand the terms and conditions of any credit card before you apply for it. This will save you a lot of headaches later down the road.

Credit limit:
The maximum amount that may be borrowed on a credit card.
TIP: Typically the credit limits are very low with credit cards designed for individuals with bad credit. Unless you fall in the higher range of FICO's scale (619ish), be prepared to only recieve a small credit limit. Generally between $300 to $500.

Credit-Limit-Increase Fee:
A fee charged if you ask for and receive an increase in your credit limit.
TIP: If you ever desire to get a credit limit increase on your credit card and you qualify for one, be prepared to pay a fee. This fee can be as much as 25% of the amount of the credit limit increase. In other words, a $100 credit limit increase will cost you $25 in credit-limit increase fees.

Credit Score:
A number that summarizes your credit record and history. The score is based on several factors, including whether you pay your bills on time, your current level of debt, the types of credit and loans you have, and the length of your credit history. Lenders and insurers use your credit score and information from credit reports to set loan and insurance rates.
TIP: Know what you credit score is before you apply for a credit card.

Interest-Free Period (AKA Grace Period):
The number of days you have to pay your bill in full before an interest charge is assessed on purchases. It is the period of time between the date of a purchase and when the payment is due. This period typically does not apply to cash advances.
TIP: Know how many days the credit card company allows you to pay off the charges before assessing interest to the balance.

Late-Payment Fee (AKA Penalty Fee):
A fee charged if your payment is received after the due date.
TIP: Don't be late paying your credit card bill. Late payment fees can be as high $35 and will negatively affect your credit score.

Monthly Servicing Fee (AKA Maintenance Fees):
A monthly fee charged by some credit card issuers for the monthly processing and billing of your credit card statement.
TIP: Some credit card companies waive the monthly servicing fee the first year. Check to see which ones include a first year waiver of monthy fees in their terms and conditions.

Processing Fee (AKA Set-Up Fee):
A fee that may be charged when you open a new credit card account.
TIP: Unfortunately, most credit card companies issuing credit cards to individuals with bad credit charge a processing fee. It's a one time fee to open your account and can be as high as $95. Call the credit card company and see if they will waive or lower the fee. Never hurts to try.

* These terms above are some of the most important terms to be fimilar with when applying for an unsecured bad credit credit card. Knowing the terminology will help you save time and money.

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*See the online credit card applications for details about terms and conditions of credit card offers. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the " Apply Now " button you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the credit card issuer's web site.

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To learn more about factors to consider when applying for or using a credit card, visit the website of the Federal Reserve Board at http://www.federalreserve.gov/creditcard.
To get a free copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus, go to www.annualcreditreport.com

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