A bank card is any payment card issued by a bank. In the credit card industry, this term commonly refers to Visa and Mastercard, which banks issue.
While Discover and American Express have begun allowing banks to issue their cards, they usually issue cards directly to cardholders. As a result, the term “bank card” doesn’t apply to them.
Many merchant account providers and credit card processing companies have the words “bank card” or “bankcard” in their names. This is due to their role in processing these cards. These companies make money from the fees they charge merchants for processing bank cards.
When you apply for a Visa or Mastercard for the first time, you’ll work with your bank. Card issuing banks include everything from large national chains like Chase and Wells Fargo to small local banks. Credit unions can also issue cards. Whoever you choose will help you with the application process.
The bank will gather information about you, like your name and address. They also pull your credit history. If you don’t have a credit history yet, they can help you begin to build one. They might suggest a secured card, which requires a cash deposit up front.
When you’re approved, your bank issues the card to you.
Once you have your card, you’ll probably see your bank’s logo on the front or back, alongside the Visa or Mastercard logo. Banks have a relationship with the credit card associations, which is what allows them to issue branded cards.
There will be a phone number for your bank on the card so you can reach them if you need help. If someone has used your card fraudulently, for example, you can call to initiate a dispute.
The card will have your name, the card number, and a security code printed on it. Some cards have a small photo of you and other security features. Today, almost all bank cards have an embedded microchip and a magnetic stripe.
As you use your card, your issuing bank will keep track of your transactions. At the end of the month, they’ll send a bill. If you can, you should pay your full bill each month. If you carry a balance from month to month, your issuing bank will charge interest. The interest you owe is a percentage of the balance on the card.
Your specific interest rate depends on your credit card agreement with your bank. Your credit score and other factors influence the rate your bank offers you when you sign up. Some banks have introductory offers such as a specific number of months with 0% interest.
Most banks charge a minimum monthly payment, often around $25, if you don’t pay your entire balance. If you don’t pay your minimum, you may incur a fee. Your issuing bank can also report your missed payment to the credit bureaus, which hurts your credit score.« Back to Glossary Index
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