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Credit Card Glossary: Terms and Definitions

Universal default

Universal default was the once-common practice among credit card issuers of increasing cardholders’ interest rates on existing balances if the cardholder was late on any payment to anyone. The practice was ended by the federal Credit CARD Act of 2009, which limits rate increases. Issuers can still raise rates if you’re late on a payment to someone else – or for any other reason – but only on new balances, and must give 45 days’ notice and let you pay off your existing debt under the old terms.

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