Definitions

credit card

credit card

credit card, device used to obtain consumer credit at the time of purchasing an article or service. Credit cards may be issued by a business, such as a department store or an oil company, to make it easier for consumers to buy their products. Alternatively credit cards may be issued by third parties, such as a bank or a financial services company, and used by consumers to purchase goods and services from other companies. There are two types of cards—credit cards and charge cards. Credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard allow the consumer to pay a monthly minimum on their purchases with an interest charge on the unpaid balance. Charge cards, such as American Express, require the consumer to pay for all purchases at the end of the billing period. Consumers may also use bank cards to obtain short-term personal loans (including "cash advances" through automated teller machines). Credit card issuers receive revenue from fees paid by stores that accept their cards and by consumers that use the cards, and from interest charged consumers on unpaid balances.

Diners Club became the first credit card company in 1950, when it issued a card allowing members to charge meals at 27 New York City restaurants. In 1958, Bank of America issued the BankAmericard (now Visa), the first bank credit card. In 1965, only 5 million cards were in circulation; by 1996, U.S. consumers had nearly 1.4 billion cards, which they used to charge $991 billion in goods annually.

The growth of credit cards has had an enormous impact on the economy—changing buying habits by making it much easier for consumers to finance purchases and by lowering savings rates (because consumers do not need to save money for larger purchases). Oil companies, car makers, and retailers have also used the cards to market their goods and services, using credit as a way of encouraging consumers to buy. Concern has been voiced over widespread distribution of bank credit cards to consumers who may not be able to pay their bills; costly losses and theft of cards; inaccurate (and damaging) credit records; high interest rates on unpaid balances; and excessive encouragement of consumer debt that has cut savings in the United States.

Technology advances have facilitated the use of credit cards. Merchants are now connected to banks by modem, so purchases are approved rapidly; on-line shopping on the Internet is possible with credit card payment. Credit card companies are also experimenting with smart cards that would act like a small computer, storing account and other information necessary for its use. An alternative to credit cards is the debit card, which is used to deduct the price of goods and service directly from customers' bank balances.

Small card that authorizes the person named on it to charge goods or services to his or her account. It differs from a debit card, with which money is automatically deducted from the bank account of the cardholder to pay for the goods or services. Credit-card use originated in the U.S. in the 1920s; early credit cards were issued by various firms (e.g., oil companies and hotel chains) for use at their outlets only. The first universal credit card, accepted by a variety of establishments, was issued by Diners' Club in 1950. Charge cards such as American Express require cardholders to pay for all purchases at the end of the billing period (usually monthly). Bank cards such as MasterCard and Visa allow customers to pay only a portion of their bill; interest accrues on the unpaid balance. Credit-card companies get revenue from annual fees and interest paid by cardholders and from fees paid by participating merchants.

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Quiet Girl With A Credit Card is the debut album from Australian singer-songwriter Lisa Miller. It was released in Australia in 1996 on the W.Minc label and licensed for release in Europe by Demon Records. Produced by Graham Lee (ex-The Triffids) who had previously played pedal steel guitar in Lisa's roots-rock band Truckasaurus.

The album features Lisa's own compositions, plus two songs by Melbourne friends (one each from Dave Graney and Conway Savage), and two US classics: Bob Dylan's "You're A Big Girl Now" and Dan Penn's "Woman Left Lonely" (previously recorded by both Charlie Rich and Janis Joplin).

Track listing

  1. "Big American Car"
  2. "You're a Big Girl Now" (Bob Dylan)
  3. "Guitar Boat"
  4. "Nobody's An Angel"
  5. "I'm Gonna Live My Life (I'm Gonna Take My Time)" (Dave Graney)
  6. "Hang My Head"
  7. "Woman Left Lonely" (Dan Penn/Spooner Oldham)
  8. "False Waltz"
  9. "Long Wide Load"
  10. "Too Dark To See" (Conway Savage)
  11. "Big Small Town"

All compositions by Lisa Miller except were noted.

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