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The Basic Types of Credit Cards

Most credit card accounts are issued by banks or credit unions and are known as bank cards. Another category is often referred to as travel and entertainment cards. Finally, a third category is known as store or merchant cards.

Bank cards are provided by some of the larger banks. Some of these include Visa, Discover Card, and MasterCard. Many bank cards offer cash back rewards. Although the percentages that a cardholder can earn vary, cash back credit cards all work according to a predetermined plan. Additionally, the cardholder might have a cut off limit as to how much he can earn in any given year. A quick turnaround or payout is typical with this type of reward card, but the cardholder usually needs to request the payout.

Travel and entertainment cards are those that are used to earn rewards for travel, dining, and hotel stays. These include American Express and Diners Club as well as others. Travel and entertainment cards are excellent choices for individuals who need to travel extensively for business purposes. This type of credit card might offer a cash back reward or vouchers for future purchases.

Store or merchant cards are specific to a particular business. Typically, they can only be used to make purchases at that specific store or business. However, some of the larger retailers have started to convert their store cards into bank cards that can be used at a number of businesses. The cardholder earns rewards for the specific store through which the card was obtained such as Macy?s. These rewards might include special store sale events or discount coupons toward store merchandise.

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Make low-interest-rate cards work for you. If you're a "revolver", a card user who doesn't pay off your card in full each month and has debt revolving from one month to the next, increasing competition is working in your favour. A host of new low-rate cards are on the market which have interest rates up to 9 percentage points lower than the high interest rate cards charging 16 to 18 per cent. There are also many balance transfer offers around that give you even lower rates of 5 per cent for the first six months or so on balances you transfer from another card. You could save $200 in interest in the first year alone on a $2000 revolving card balance by taking advantage lower interest rates.

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