Credit Card Versus Charge Cards

By: Roger A Lee


A couple years ago I heard about a man who had a local store (charge) credit card account. Even though he lived in Virginia, his soon to be ex-wife allegedly raked up $1,500 in charges on his account in a totally different state, Florida.

How did that happen? Well according to him, she allegedly was able to access his credit account at a store location in Florida by just giving them his Social Security number. Fortunately, the credit card's customer service department eventually refunded him the money and turned the case over to law enforcement.

Whether things happened as he described, that's impossible to know. But what I do know is that many department and chain stores are fairly aggressive with peddling their charge cards, at least from my experience.

There is a huge difference, between a charge card and a credit card. Charge cards are issued by stores and retails, without any type of Visa or MasterCard logo ( or any of the other networks) and they are only good in that store chain, whereas credit cards are issued through banks and are good around the globe.

The charge cards offers may change periodically but this is what the application listed when I checked…

• 6 months deferred interest on purchases of $250 and up

• 12 months deferred interest on purchase of $750 and up

As I've said before with similar cards, keep in mind that these deferred interest plans work differently based on the stores plan, not like those issued by banks.

Charge cards are good as they are independent and allow the stores to offer all types of promotions and allow you to place them on store cards regardless of your credit limits.

Again the difference is that you have limited choices and places to use the card, but their approval process is less demanding and easier to get approval.

Remember, charge cards are not credit cards so you do not have the same protections or insurance either.

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Barry Norman is a contributor to and blogger at firstcredit.net. For over ten years FirstCredit.net has provided consumers free information helping them make sense of credit cards and the financial industry. Whether you are a longtime cardholder or looking for your first credit card, FirstCredit.net can help you make informed credit decisions.

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