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Credit Card Glossary: Terms and Definitions

Carbon-paper packets

In the early days of credit cards, sales were transacted by using carbon-paper packets that fit into a simple sliding device called a zip-zap machine. The card would be put face-up in the zip-zap, a carbon-paper packet of alternating paper and carbon paper would be placed over it, and the tight-fitting slide would be run over both of them. The pressure of the slide would create an impression of the credit card number on the papers — one for the customer, one for the merchant, one for the merchant’s bank. Today, such transactions are rare; most are handled by electronic card readers that take the card information via its magnetic stripe.

Terms from A-Z

Search the CreditCards.com glossary for every credit-related term from "account holder" to "zombie debt." Select a letter for alphabetized terms and definitions.

cCarbon-paper packetsCard issuerCard-linked loyalty offersCard memberCard member agreementCard-not-present (CNP) transactionsCard-not-present fraudCard-present (CP) transactionsCard-present fraudCard-present transactionsCard readerCardersCardholderCardholder agreementCardingCarding forumsCash advanceCash advance checkCash advance feeCash advance rateCash backCash cardCasherCashingChapter 11 bankruptcyChapter 13 bankruptcyChapter 7 bankruptcyCharge-back periodCharge cardCharge-offCharge-off rateChargebackChip-and-PIN cardsChip and signatureChip cardChip-enabled terminalChoice of lawChurningClaims and defensesClearingCloningClosed-end loanClosed loopCo-branded cardCo-signerCOB fraudCollateralCollectionCollection-proofCombined guaranteeCommercial cardsCommercial credit scoreCommunity propertyConcierge serviceconjoined accountConsumer credit fileConsumer credit reportConsumer Financial Protection BureauContact chip cardContactless chip cardContactless paymentsConvenience checksConvenience feeCorporate credit cardCramdownCredit bureauCredit bureau risk scoreCredit cardCredit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009Credit CARD Act of 2009Credit card imprinter formCredit card numberCredit counselorCredit freezeCredit historyCredit inquiryCredit life insuranceCredit limitCredit lineCredit mixCredit monitoring serviceCredit mulingCredit obligationCredit ratingCredit Repair Organizations ActCredit reportCredit reporting agency (CRA)Credit scoreCredit unionCredit utilization ratioCreditors meetingCross-collateralizationCryptocurrencyCurrency conversion feeCVV