Glossary
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A

Annual Fee

Various card issuers charge an annual fee, which can help offset costs that issuers incur in maintaining accounts and providing services.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

Sometimes called the Annual Interest Rate. The yearly interest rate or percentage that you pay on an outstanding balance in the form of interest and fees.

Automated Teller Machine (ATM)

Lets you perform banking transactions anywhere and at any time. By using a debit or ATM card at an ATM, you can withdraw cash from cheque or savings accounts, make a deposit or transfer money from one account to another or perform other functions. You can also get cash advances using a credit card at an ATM. You should also be aware that many banks charge transaction fees for using another bank's ATM.

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C

Cash Advance

You can obtain cash on the spot by using your card at a bank or an ATM which displays the MasterCard logo. The amount of the cash advance is deducted from your available credit line or funds on deposits. A fee is often charged when obtaining cash advances. In addition, the interest rate may be higher than on purchases and there is typically no grace period. (A cash advance is different from a withdrawal you make with your ATM card.)

Credit History

A record of how you have paid accounts in the past; used as a guide to determine whether you're likely to pay accounts on time in the future.

Credit Line/ Line of Credit

Also referred to as your credit limit. This is the maximum amount you can borrow using your card.

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F

Finance Charges

The price paid to a lender for the use of borrowed money. Interest is charged as a percentage of your outstanding balance (purchases and charges reduced by payments or credits posted). This percentage, or interest rate, can vary from card to card.

Fixed Rate

A set APR that does not change in response to interest rate changes and conditions. A Variable Rate periodically goes up or down based on fluctuations in market interest rates as reflected in a published index (e.g., the Bank base lending rates published in the Financial Times and other newspapers).

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G

Grace Period

The time - usually 20-25 days - when you're not charged interest for purchases you've made. For example, if the billing date on your credit card bill is May 1 and you have paid your prior balance in full, you may have until May 20 to pay your new balance in full. If you do, you will not be charged interest. If your payment arrives after May 20 - or if you don't pay the entire balance - you may be charged interest from the date of purchase as posted. Some accounts have no grace period, which means interest is charged on purchases from the date they are posted.

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I

Interest rates

These charges will determine the costs you pay on your card over time. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR - a measure defined in law) is the yearly percentage rate that you pay on an outstanding balance in the form of interest and charges. Interest is charged as a percentage of your outstanding balance (purchases and charges reduced by payments or credits posted) on a monthly basis.

Introductory Period

The period during which the Introductory Rate applies to balances outstanding on your account.

Introductory Rate

A special APR that applies for only a limited time.

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M

Merchant

Location or store where purchases are made.

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O

Online Banking

Online systems enable you to access a host of banking services from a personal computer by connecting with the bank's computers over the Internet.

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P

PIN

Personal Identification Number: Secret code you choose for your card that enables you to access your money or perform banking transactions through the ATM as well as make purchases without signing a sales receipt at merchants that have PIN pads. Don't share your PIN with anyone.

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R

Rewards Program

A point accumulating program based on purchases or transactions made on your card. These points can be redeemed for the particular program you enrolled in (e.g. airline, hotels, etc.). Banks may charge annual fees to participate in a rewards program.

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T

Travel Assistance Services

Access helpful information on travel requirements including documentation (visas, passports), immunisations or currency exchange rates. Enrollment is automatic for eligible cardholders and the assistance service is free to cardholders.

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W

Worldwide Acceptance

With more than 32 million acceptance locations worldwide, no payment card is more widely accepted globally than MasterCard.

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