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Credit Card Glossary

Don't know the difference between a prepaid card and loyaly card, or facing acroynm fatigue and confusion. Fear not, our easy to understand Glossary to Credit Cards will explain all.

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18 December 2008

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Credit Card Glossary

Spending on plastic cards in the UK amounted to £354.2 billion in 2007, with £133.2 billion spent on credit and charge cards.

Affinity Card

This is a credit card from which the card issuer makes a donation to an organisation or football club.

ATM (automated teller machine)

This is better known as cash machine or ‘hole in the wall’ and is a self-service machine from which the user can withdraw cash and access other banking services.

Branch ATM

This refers to ATMs located at the bank or building society – either in the premises or outside as a ‘hole in the wall.’

Business Credit Card

A credit card that is suitable for small businesses to use for business expenses.

Card Issuer

A bank or financial provider that issues credit cards to its customers.

Card not present (CNP)

A transaction where the customer is not present and the merchant or service provider cannot see the card. For example telephone, mail order or Internet payments.

Card Schemes

Card schemes set the business rules over the issue of the payment cards that carry their logo. To ensure interoperability of the cards the rules generally apply throughout the world. This includes clearing and settlement of payment card transactions. In the UK, banks and building societies must be members of the appropriate scheme to issue cards and acquire card transactions. International card schemes include Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diners Club.

Charge Card

A payment card that enables users to make purchases up to a pre-arranged amount and then settle the amount in full at the end of an agreed period – usually the end of month.

Chip and PIN Card

A credit card that contains a chip. You use this card with a PIN number to complete a transaction e.g. pay for your goods. The card industry as a whole moved to chip and pin in 2006 as opposed to card and signature where you gave a signature rather than a pin.

Commercial Card

A general term for business, corporate and purchasing cards.

Convenience ATM

ATMs located in convenience stores such as newsagents, corner shops and long opening shops.

Credit Card

A payment card that allows the user to buy now and pay later up to a pre-arranged credit limit on the card. The credit can be paid at the end of the month in full or part paid (a minimum amount is stipulated). If the amount is not paid in full, interest is charged on the balance left remaining on the card.

Direct Debit

A debit payment, which is arranged on the payer’s account, initiated by the payer (known as the originator). In other words the user arranges a pre-set and pre-authorised amount of money to paid against their account (such as a credit card bill) every month. The payment automatically gets paid on a pre-arranged date.

Electronic Banking

A service that enables you to access your account on the Internet. Also known as e-banking.

Industry Hot Card File (IHCF)

A computerised list of reported or stolen cards, available to retailers to alert them about potential fraud of the card.

Loyalty Card

A card issued by a retailer or group of retailers to earn rewards or discounts.


An international card scheme.

Other Retail ATM

ATM machines located at places such as department stores, shopping centres and so on.

Payment Card

A general term for any plastic card (such as credit, debit, charge) used to pay for goods and services.

PIN (personal identification number)

A set of numbers unique to any issued credit, debit or charge card that is used along with the card to identify the user. It is used at point of sale or at an ATM.


Phishing is the process of trying to obtain your personal information such as names, passwords and credit card details. Criminals do this by communicating to you electronically (through your e-mail or by instant messaging) and then directing you to a website that looks and feels authentic. If you input your details they can then be used for fraudulent purposes.

POS (point of sale)

A physical location where a customer can make their purchase.

Premier Card

Also known as Gold or Platinum card these have a higher credit limit than a regular credit card and a wide range of benefits.

Prepaid Card

A card that the user can load with cash and then use to pay for services and goods. The amount decreases with use but can be topped up and is a safe alternative to cash, using money that the user already has on the card, rather than credit.

Store Card

A payment card limited to use with a specific retailer or group of retailers.


An international card scheme.

Best Buy Credit Cards

Credit Cards Balance Transfers Purchases APR Representative (Variable)
Tesco ClubCard Purchases Credit Card Logo Tesco Bank Logo Tesco ClubCard Purchases Credit Card Apply
9 months
2.9% fee
18 months
Representative Example: The annual purchase rate is 16.9% p.a (variable) so if you spend £1200 your representative apr will be 16.9% p.a (variable)
Barclaycard Platinum With BT (27 Mths) Logo Barclaycard Logo Barclaycard Platinum With BT (27 Mths) Apply
28 months
3.5% fee
6 months
Representative Example: The annual purchase rate is 18.9% p.a (variable) so if you spend £1200 your representative apr will be 18.9% p.a (variable)
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