What is credit card and different Types of credit card

Last Updated on July 1, 2024 by admin

Credit cards have become an integral part of modern financial transactions, offering convenience, security, and a range of benefits to consumers. Understanding the basics of credit cards and the various types available is essential for making informed financial decisions.

Credit cards have come a long way since their inception in the 1920s when they were originally used for just a few purposes. Today, they are a ubiquitous part of our financial landscape, offering convenience and flexibility to millions of users.

Whether you’re a seasoned credit card user or contemplating getting your first card, gaining knowledge about credit cards can help you make the most of these financial decisions while avoiding common pitfalls.


What are credit cards?

Credit cards are a form of payment card that allows the cardholder to borrow funds from a financial institution to make purchases. The cardholder can use the credit card to pay for goods and services up to a predetermined credit limit, which is set by the financial institution.

Unlike debit cards, where the cardholder must have sufficient funds in their account to make a purchase, credit cards allow the cardholder to borrow money that must be repaid within a certain period of time.

 Credit card give the ability to make purchases even when you may not have the funds readily available. This can be helpful in emergencies or situations where a large purchase needs to be made. hwever, credit cards offer better protection against fraud compared to debit cards, as the cardholder is not liable for unauthorized charges. Credit cards also offer rewards programs, such as cash back or travel rewards, which can provide additional benefits to the cardholder.

However, it is important for cardholders to use credit cards responsibly and avoid accumulating high levels of debt. Carrying a balance on a credit card can result in high interest charges, which can quickly add up and become difficult to pay off.

It is important to make timely payments on the credit card to avoid damaging your credit score. Overall, credit cards can be a valuable financial tool when used wisely, but it is important to understand the terms and conditions associated with using a credit card to avoid falling into debt.

How Credit Cards Work:

  1. Credit Line: When you’re approved for a credit card, you’re given a specific credit limit, which is the maximum amount you can borrow.

  2. Purchases: You can use your credit card to make purchases at merchants that accept them. The amount of your purchase is added to your outstanding balance.

  3. Monthly Statements: At the end of each billing cycle, you’ll receive a statement detailing your purchases, payments, fees, interest charges, and your remaining balance.

  4. Minimum Payment: You’re required to make at least a minimum payment each month by the due date. If you don’t, you’ll incur late fees and additional interest charges.

  5. Interest Charges: If you carry a balance on your credit card, you’ll be charged interest on the outstanding amount. The interest rate can vary depending on the card and your creditworthiness.

Types of Credit Cards:

  • Rewards Credit Cards: These cards offer rewards like cash back, points, or miles for every dollar you spend.
  • Travel Credit Cards: These cards offer travel-related benefits like airline miles, hotel points, airport lounge access, and travel insurance.
  • Cash Back Credit Cards: These cards give you a percentage of your spending back in cash.
  • Balance Transfer Credit Cards: These cards offer low or 0% introductory interest rates on balance transfers, allowing you to consolidate high-interest debt.
  • Business Credit Cards: Designed for business owners, these cards offer rewards on business expenses and can help manage cash flow.
  • Secured Credit Cards: These cards require a security deposit, which typically becomes your credit limit. They’re a good option for people with limited or poor credit history.

Benefits of Using Credit Cards:

  • Convenience: Credit cards are widely accepted and offer a convenient way to pay for goods and services without carrying cash.
  • Rewards: Many credit cards offer rewards programs that can help you save money or earn valuable perks.
  • Building Credit: Responsible credit card use can help you build a positive credit history, which is essential for obtaining loans and other financial products.
  • Fraud Protection: Credit cards typically offer better fraud protection than debit cards or cash.

Risks of Using Credit Cards:

  • High-Interest Rates: If you don’t pay your balance in full each month, you can accrue significant interest charges.
  • Debt Accumulation: It’s easy to overspend with credit cards, leading to debt problems.
  • Fees: Some credit cards come with annual fees, late payment fees, and other charges.

How to Choose the Right Credit Card

Choosing the right credit card can seem overwhelming with so many options available. However, by understanding your needs and priorities, you can narrow down your choices and find the perfect card for you. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Assess Your Credit Score: Your credit score is a crucial factor in determining your eligibility for different credit cards and the interest rates you’ll qualify for. Generally, a higher credit score opens up more options with better rewards and lower interest rates. Check your credit score for free through various online services or your bank.

  2. Identify Your Spending Habits: Analyze your monthly expenses and determine where you spend the most money. Are you a frequent traveler, a foodie, or a big shopper? Choose a card that offers rewards or benefits in the categories you spend most on.

  3. Define Your Financial Goals: What do you want to achieve with your credit card? Are you looking to earn rewards, pay off debt, or build credit? Your goals will help you narrow down the type of card that’s right for you.

  4. Compare Card Features: Once you know your needs and goals, start comparing different credit cards. Look at the following features:

    • Annual Percentage Rate (APR): This is the interest rate you’ll pay on your balance if you don’t pay it off in full each month. Look for cards with low APRs, especially if you plan to carry a balance.
    • Rewards Programs: Consider the types of rewards offered (cash back, points, miles) and how easy they are to redeem. Look for cards with rewards that align with your spending habits and interests.
    • Fees: Some credit cards have annual fees, late payment fees, or foreign transaction fees. Be aware of these fees and factor them into your decision.
    • Benefits: Many credit cards offer additional benefits like travel insurance, purchase protection, or extended warranties. Consider which benefits are most valuable to you.
  5. Read Reviews and Compare Offers: Read online reviews from other cardholders to get a sense of their experiences and satisfaction with the card. Compare different offers from various banks and credit unions to find the best deal.

  6. Apply for the Card: Once you’ve chosen a card, apply online or at a branch. You’ll typically need to provide personal and financial information, including your income and employment details.

  7. Use Your Card Responsibly: Once you receive your card, use it responsibly by paying your bills on time and in full each month to avoid interest charges and build a good credit history.

Remember, the best credit card for you is the one that aligns with your individual needs and financial goals. By taking the time to research and compare your options, you can find a card that will help you save money, earn rewards, and achieve your financial objectives.

How to Build Credit History with Credit Cards

Building a strong credit history is crucial for your financial well-being. It allows you to access better interest rates on loans, mortgages, and credit cards, and can even impact your ability to rent an apartment or get a job. One of the most effective ways to build your credit history is by using credit cards responsibly.

Here’s how you can build credit history with credit cards:

  1. Get a Credit Card:
  • If you have no credit history: Consider starting with a secured credit card. These cards require a security deposit, which typically becomes your credit limit. They are a great way to start building credit without much risk.
  • If you have limited credit history: Look for credit cards designed for individuals with limited credit, or consider becoming an authorized user on someone else’s account with good credit.
  • If you have fair or good credit: You should be able to qualify for various credit cards, including rewards cards.
  1. Use Your Credit Card Responsibly:
  • Make on-time payments: The most crucial factor in building credit is paying your credit card bill on time every month. Set up automatic payments or reminders to ensure you never miss a payment.
  • Keep your credit utilization low: Credit utilization is the amount of credit you’re using compared to your total credit limit. Aim to keep it below 30% to demonstrate responsible credit management.
  • Avoid maxing out your card: Maxing out your credit card can negatively impact your credit score. Try to keep your balances low.
  • Use your card regularly: Regular use of your credit card can help you build credit faster, as long as you pay your bills on time.
  1. Additional Tips:
  • Don’t apply for too many cards at once: Multiple credit applications can temporarily lower your credit score.
  • Keep old accounts open: The length of your credit history is a factor in your credit score, so keep your oldest accounts open even if you don’t use them often.
  • Monitor your credit report: Regularly check your credit report for errors and discrepancies, and dispute any inaccurate information.

Building credit takes time and discipline, but with responsible credit card use, you can establish a positive credit history that will benefit you in the long run.


  • Pay on time, every time.
  • Keep your credit utilization low.
  • Use your card regularly but wisely.
  • Monitor your credit report for accuracy.

Do credit cards have fixed or variable annual percentage rates (APRs)?

Most credit cards have variable annual percentage rates (APRs). This means the interest rate can change over time, usually in response to fluctuations in a benchmark interest rate, such as the prime rate set by the Federal Reserve.

Here’s how it works:

  • Variable APR: The card issuer sets your APR based on the prime rate plus a margin. The margin is a fixed percentage added to the prime rate and varies depending on the card and your creditworthiness.
  • Prime Rate Changes: When the prime rate increases or decreases, your APR will typically adjust accordingly. This can affect the amount of interest you accrue on your balance.

While variable APRs are the norm, there are some credit cards that offer fixed APRs. However, these are less common and may be found more often at smaller financial institutions like credit unions or local banks.

Here’s a quick comparison:

Feature Variable APR Fixed APR
Interest Rate Fluctuates with the prime rate. Remains the same unless the card issuer explicitly changes it.
Predictability Less predictable, as rates can change based on economic factors. More predictable, allowing for better budgeting.
Availability More common, offered by most major credit card issuers. Less common, typically offered by smaller financial institutions.

Using credit cards responsibly is essential for maintaining a good credit score and avoiding debt. Here are some key tips for responsible credit card use:

  1. Understand Your Card’s Terms:
  • Interest Rates (APR): Know your card’s annual percentage rate (APR), which is the interest you’ll pay on any unpaid balance.
  • Fees: Familiarize yourself with any fees, including annual fees, late payment fees, and balance transfer fees.
  • Grace Period: Understand the grace period, which is the time you have to pay your balance in full before interest starts accruing.
  1. Create a Budget:
  • Track Your Spending: Keep track of your expenses to see where your money is going.
  • Set Limits: Determine how much you can afford to spend on your credit card each month and stick to it.
  • Pay More Than the Minimum: Always try to pay more than the minimum payment due to reduce your balance and pay less interest over time.
  1. Pay on Time:
  • Set Reminders: Set reminders or schedule automatic payments to ensure you never miss a due date. Late payments can damage your credit score and incur fees.
  • Prioritize Payments: If you have multiple credit cards, prioritize paying off the card with the highest interest rate first.
  1. Avoid Maxing Out Your Card:
  • Keep a Low Credit Utilization Ratio: Aim to keep your credit utilization ratio (the amount of credit you’re using compared to your total available credit) below 30%.
  • Increase Your Credit Limit: If you frequently use your card and pay it off responsibly, you can request a credit limit increase to improve your credit utilization ratio.
  1. Protect Your Card:
  • Keep Track of Your Card: Be mindful of where your card is at all times.
  • Report Lost or Stolen Cards Immediately: If your card is lost or stolen, report it to your card issuer right away to minimize your liability.
  • Be Wary of Scams: Don’t give out your card information to anyone you don’t trust, and be cautious of phishing attempts.
  1. Utilize Benefits:
  • Rewards Programs: Take advantage of any rewards programs offered by your card, such as cashback, travel points, or discounts.
  • Consumer Protections: Many credit cards offer benefits like purchase protection, extended warranties, and travel insurance. Familiarize yourself with these benefits and use them when needed.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the convenience and benefits of credit cards while avoiding debt and maintaining a good credit score. Remember, responsible credit card use is a key component of financial health.


Q: What is a credit card?

A: A credit card is a payment card that allows you to borrow money from a lender (usually a bank) to make purchases or withdraw cash. You have a set period to repay the borrowed amount, usually with interest.

Q: What are the main types of credit cards?

A: There are several types of credit cards, each catering to different needs and financial goals:

  • Rewards Credit Cards: Offer points, miles, or cash back for every dollar you spend. These rewards can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift cards, or statement credits.

  • Travel Credit Cards: Designed for frequent travelers, offering benefits like airline miles, hotel points, airport lounge access, and travel insurance.

  • Cash Back Credit Cards: Provide a percentage of your spending back in cash, usually as a statement credit or a direct deposit into your bank account.

  • Balance Transfer Credit Cards: Offer low or 0% introductory interest rates on balance transfers, allowing you to consolidate high-interest debt and pay it off faster.

  • 0% APR Purchase Cards: Offer a 0% introductory APR period on new purchases, giving you interest-free financing for a limited time.

  • Student Credit Cards: Designed for college students with limited credit history, these cards typically have lower credit limits and fewer perks.

  • Secured Credit Cards: Require a security deposit, which typically serves as your credit limit. A good option for individuals with bad or no credit history to build their creditworthiness.

  • Business Credit Cards: Cater to business owners, offering rewards on business expenses, expense tracking tools, and other benefits tailored to business needs.

Q: How do I choose the right credit card for me?

A: Consider your spending habits, financial goals, and credit score when choosing a credit card. For example, if you travel frequently, a travel rewards card might be a good fit. If you want to earn cash back on everyday purchases, a cash back card would be more suitable.

Q: What are the benefits of using a credit card?

A: Credit cards offer several benefits:

  • Convenience: Accepted worldwide for purchases and cash advances.
  • Rewards: Earn rewards on your spending, such as cash back, points, or miles.
  • Building Credit: Responsible use helps establish and improve your credit score.
  • Protection: Offers fraud protection and dispute resolution services.
  • Emergency Fund: Can be used as a safety net in case of unexpected expenses.

Q: What are the risks of using a credit card?

A: It’s important to be aware of the risks associated with credit cards:

  • High-Interest Rates: If you don’t pay your balance in full each month, you can accrue significant interest charges.
  • Debt Accumulation: Overspending can lead to debt problems if you cannot pay your balance.
  • Fees: Some credit cards have annual fees, late payment fees, and other charges.

Q: How can I use my credit card responsibly?

A: To use your credit card responsibly:

  • Pay your bill on time and in full each month to avoid interest charges.
  • Keep track of your spending and stay within your budget.
  • Avoid maxing out your credit limit.
  • Read the terms and conditions of your card carefully.

About admin

Meet Ogbeide Frank, popularly known as perere, a blogger who loves writing about finance and Tech. He studied Business administration at the Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma and Mobile Communication at Orange College Malaysia .Frank have worked as a banker and consultant in variety of Nigeria agencies For Advertisement, Content marketing andsponsored post: contact : kokobest04@gmail.com
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