Credit Card Learning Center

Charge cards





Charge cards? Credit cards? What's the difference? They're all the same, aren't they?

No, there's a major difference between a charge card and a credit card. Charge cards must be paid in full at the end of the billing cycle. Most credit cards allow you to carry a balance from one billing cycle to the next.

The balance on a charge card is payable in full when the statement is received and cannot be rolled over from one billing to the next. Because you cannot carry a balance, there's no interest to pay with a charge card.

One of the advantages of a charge card is that most come with high credit limits, and some with unlimited credit. Governments and some large businesses use charge cards to keep track of their expenses. If you are the type of person who always pays off credit card balances when the bill arrives, a charge card could be the right choice for you.

The very fact that charge cards do not allow their holders to accumulate balances is a benefit, too. It keeps expenses under control and avoids interest charges.

Some cards even come in multiple currencies. HSBC American Express International Currency gold and platinum charge cards offer the financial flexibility to spend in US dollars or Euro, with the convenience of repayment directly from HSBC offshore bank accounts. They are of benefit to people living or working in Euro countries, those whose income is paid in US dollars or Euro, and those who travel overseas extensively.

“Use of these Cards reduces the exchange rate related costs to our customers and enables them to have a full banking relationship in the major currency of their choice without the inconvenience of having to set up new bank accounts in other countries,” said HSBC's head of international personal banking, when the cards were launched in 2004.

The annual fee for the gold card is US$/€200, and for the platinum card it is US$/€400.

The Diners Club charge card is an excellent card for travelers. For instance, it gives access to airport lounges around the world featuring English-speaking staff, complimentary beverage service, flight information, newspapers and television, and phone and fax services. In addition, emergency medical, legal and travel referrals can be obtained 24/7. Lost or stolen passports, airline tickets or cards can be replaced.

Eligible charges earn points that can be redeemed for hundreds of options, including frequent flyer miles on every major U.S. airline and select international carriers. What to make reservations for dinner, golf, tennis, or the spa? Or order tickets for events worldwide, locate reputable repair services, arrange personal services, or discover where to shop for the perfect gift? There's a toll-free number for that.

Apart from travel insurance, rental car damage insurance and insurance against loss or damage of bags when the charge card is used for booking travel, Diners Club even helps cardholders to claim rebates of the Value Added Tax paid on purchases made in the European Union.

Annual fee for all this? Just $95.

Lowest Fixed APR Rate: 5.50%

Lowest Variable ARR Rate: 8.49%

Total Credit Cards in Database: 102