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Credit Card Concept

The concept of credit cards revolves around deferred payments - the ability to purchase products and services today and actually pay for it at a later time or over a period of time.

In less than 50 years this simple concept has become one of the largest industries in the world. To give you an idea of the magnitude of the credit card industry:

  • MasterCard's more than 25,000 customer financial institutions around the world had issued 716.3 million MasterCard-branded cards through the first six months of 2005. During the first six months of 2005, purchase volume reached $556.0 billion. MasterCard cardholders can use their cards at more than 23 million locations around the world, including over 1 million ATMs and other locations where cash can be obtained.
  • As of December 2000, more than $1.8 trillion in products and services were purchased using Visa cards, and Visa’s worldwide market share, at sixty percent, was greater than that of all other major payment cards combined. There are more than one billion Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink, PLUS, and Visa Cash cards in the market today. Visa-branded cards are accepted at more than twenty million locations in more than 150 countries, making Visa the closest thing there is to a universal currency.

The most commonly used credit cards in the United States are Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.

You may want to consider taking advantage of one of the many credit card reward programs offered today (such as airline miles, hotel benefits, cash back, or free gasoline).


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