What’s the Difference Between a “Charge Card” and a “Credit Card?”

Credit Cards, Charge CardsCHARGE CARDS AND CREDIT CARDS ARE NOT THE SAME THING (even though they look the same). The main difference between the two is that charge cards require that the user to make a purchase pay what is owed within a pre-established time, usually 30 days. However, credit cards, which nowadays more people are familiar with than charge cards, allow the user to pay a minimum amount of what is due and pay the remainder over time.

Of course a very important component of the difference here is that credit card companies will charge interest for the privilege of paying at your convenience.

Charge cards were established in 1914, by Western Union (printed on paper), although a very early concept of consumers using a card for purchases dates back to 1887 by Edward Bellamy in his novel Looking Backward, where he uses the term “credit card” a number of times.

In 1957, Frank McNamara, invented the first official charge card, which he called Diners Club. In 1959, American Express was the first company to issue embossed plastic charge cards.

In comparison to charge cards, there is good and bad about credit cards. One the one hand, users can buy things today that they really cannot afford (which would be most beneficial in an emergency). However, what they are actually doing is increasing the cost of the purchase by paying over time, which can be come a significant burden to one’s personal finances.

Without the urgency of unexpected financial emergencies, many people use credit cards responsibly. However, regardless of whether a loss of a job, or a medical emergency, or plain old financial irresponsibility results in a credit card user getting buried in debt, through increased interest rates and ongoing extra fees, the effects are the same: Great stress and aggravation in life.


There are solutions to reducing your debt and a number of options are available to you – without bankruptcy. However, each option should be weighed against their advantages and disadvantages.

Get the facts and find out for yourself how you can dramatically reduce your credit card debt. Speak with a professional debt counselor to find out what’s best for you.

There is no cost and no obligation for this service. A professional debt counselor will help you understand your options on getting out of debt.

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One comment on “What’s the Difference Between a “Charge Card” and a “Credit Card?”
  1. jondai says:

    thanks for the write ups. I remember those 30 day grace periods.

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