In banking terminology, the term credit card refers to a piece of plastic embossed with the owners account information on a magnetic identifying strip issued by a bank or financial institution. The credit card can be used by the accountholder for the purchase of goods and services on credit with merchants which accept the card. Companies such as Visa, Mastercard and American Express process payments with merchants and the card issuing banks.
For example, a Credit Card will often be issued to customers by their financial institutions, which include banks, brokerages and credit card companies. Credit Cards are also issued by retail stores, wholesale outlets and other businesses to encourage customer loyalty. The Credit Card generally allows the holder to borrow money at the point of sale of a product or to obtain cash from an automatic teller machine or ATM. Credit card issuers charge an interest rate on balances, which is generally higher than most lines of credit or consumer loans. They also typically set borrowing limits according to the card holders credit rating. Making payment using a Credit Card is currently the most widespread form of payment for goods and services in the United States.