A credit card is a payment card allotted to users (cardholders) as a manner of payment. It allows the cardholder to pay for merchandises and services based on the holder's potential to pay for them. The issuer of the card (usually a bank) generates a revolving account and endowment a line of credit to the cardholder, from which the cardholder can borrow money for reimbursement to a merchant or as a cash loan.

A credit card is diverse from a charge card, where it requires the equilibrium to be repaid in full each month. In difference, credit cards allow the consumers a continuing stability of debt, subject to interest being charged. A credit card also varies from a cash card, which can be used like currency by the holder of the card. A credit card differs from a charge card also in that a credit card usually involves a third-party entity that pays the merchant and is reimbursed by the purchaser, where as a charge card merely defers payment by the buyer until a future date.

A credit card allotting company, such as a bank or credit union, enters into contracts with merchants for them to receive their credit cards. Merchants often promote which cards they accept by displaying acceptance marks, generally derived from logos, or this may be conversed in signage in the establishment or in firm material (e.g., a restaurant's menu may specify which credit cards are accepted). Merchants may also converse this orally, as in "We take (marques X, Y, and Z)" or "We don't take credit cards".

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