Charge Card

What is a Charge Card?

A Charge Card is a type of payment card where full repayment is automatically required every month and where there is no facility to use the card to take extended credit.

Diners Club and American Express cards are popular examples of charge cards.

They differ to a Credit Card in that there is no minimum payment other than the full amount, which must be paid every month – credit cards are ‘revolving credit' as you may pay a minimum amount of the balance and carry the rest over until the next month.

A Charge Card is therefore more similar to a short (one month loan) and is particularly useful for large companies to issue to staff for the payment of expenses. There is no interest on spend on a Charge Card, (unless the amount is not repaid within the monthly period), but most Charge Cards charge an annual fee for usage.

In many cases, lenders will provide their own chargeback schemes to accompany your charge card if there is a problem; this is because this type of card is not covered by the Consumer Credit Act 1974.


Q: Charge Card or Credit Card?

A: Finding which type of card is best for you will depend heavily on your usage. The main difference between a Charge Card and a Credit Card is that it expects the cardholder to pay back all money owed in full by the end of the month, so offers less flexibility.

Fewer places accept Charge Cards, and if you are late to make a payment, it is likely to cost more in interest.

Q: What are the advantages?

A: Charge cards require the cardholder to have tight control over their finances, being able to repay their bill in full every month or get a heavy penalty fee and take a hit on their credit report. For that reason they can be good for people who feel they cannot trust themselves with the comparative freedom offered with a credit card.

Q: What does “no preset spending limit” mean?

A: Charge cards that offer “no preset spending limit” are fairly common; it means that the amount you can spend on your card will vary on a semi-regular basis. The card lender will look at your spending, credit history and ability and effectively adjust the maximum amount you can spend on the fly.

This prevents would-be fraudsters from defrauding the card lenders from large amounts of money, but means genuine customers that will regularly spend large amounts will still be able to.

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