Credit cards – Credit cards are considered a very popular means of payment on the market. Originally they come from the USA. There and in many other countries around the world they are widely used. In Germany, the acceptance of credit cards has increased significantly in recent years. The reason for this is that the fees for their use have been lowered by the operators. In other countries, however, acceptance is even higher. In this country, smaller shops in particular do not accept credit cards. The same applies to snack bars, market stalls and small restaurants. Especially in structurally weak regions and in the countryside, the credit card is largely excluded as a means of payment in Germany. And while in other European countries you can even pay for your coffee or ice cream at the beach with your card, in this country you have to rely on cash. Nevertheless, the credit card is also considered a popular means of payment among Germans. The desire to travel is still high in Germany, and the credit card is often used abroad to pay for purchases and bills, but also to get cash. There are different types of credit cards, which differ in their billing and in the possibilities of use.
Credit cards – types and uses
The classic credit card got its name from the fact that it granted the customer a loan. Thus, the classic lending of money is only possible with a real credit card. Since a loan always carries risks, you should bear in mind before applying for a classic credit card account that the bank can cancel the account at any time. It is a framework credit, which does not have any notice periods. The will usually make use of this if the customer’s credit rating deteriorates.
The credit is granted as a credit line on the card account. You decide yourself whether you settle the outstanding amount at the billing date in one sum or in monthly instalments. The bank often requires a minimum amount, which is ten or 20 percent of the credit amount used. Alternatively, a minimum payment of ten or 20 euros may be required.
There are so-called black credit cards, which do not have a credit limit. However, these are only issued to customers with a very high income or a very high solvency.
You can increase or reduce the credit limit. Both are possible upon application. You can dispose freely within this limit. This is the advantage of a classic credit card. The limit can be used in full or only in part. Interest is only charged on the amount used and is calculated on a daily basis.
Unlike an instalment loan, the negative balance on the credit card account can be completely cleared at any time in order to save interest. However, you pay for this freedom with an interest rate that is often more than double that of an instalment loan. For this reason, the use of the instalment facility should be weighed up carefully.
Credit cards on credit basis
In addition to the classic credit card, there are other models that, strictly speaking, no longer live up to the name because no credit is granted at all. With these models, however, the credit institutions are accommodating the high acceptance of credit cards. For example, the Girocard or the Maestro card have not yet become established in online retailing. However, most retailers do accept credit cards. If this works on a credit basis, it can also be issued to customers who do not have a high credit rating.
Many banks offer credit cards that are directly linked to the current account. There are accounts for which a Girocard can be requested as an alternative. Abroad, the Girocard is not known. Within Europe, the Maestro card is used. Modern and young smartphone banks no longer work with the Girocard at all, but only issue credit cards and Maestro cards.
When paying with a credit card linked to the current account, the amount is debited directly. With modern smartphone accounts, this even happens in real time. This means that the amount is immediately reserved in the account. The advantage is that the customer can take advantage of the high acceptance of credit cards and still keep a very good overview of their finances. The credit card’s credit limit is based on the balance on the current account and is constantly updated. Credit cards that are linked to a current account as a means of payment are often issued free of charge.
Prepaid credit cards as an alternative
Prepaid credit cards can only be used as a means of payment if they have been loaded in advance. They are not linked to the current account, but there is a collective account for all customers who have such a credit card with the bank. The transfer must be made to the collective account and assigned to the customer based on the number of his credit card. This can take one or two days. Only then is the credit card ready for use. Another disadvantage is the high fees that have to be paid for the prepaid credit cards. The prepaid credit card should only be applied for if other options are out of the question.
Credit card types with high acceptance in Germany and worldwide
In Germany and Europe, Mastercard and Visa credit cards have a very high acceptance. Mastercard is very often issued in connection with a current account, while Visa is often chosen as a prepaid solution or as a classic credit card.
Those who like to travel to America often, choose American Express or Diners Club. However, both credit cards require a good credit rating. They are usually only issued as a classic credit card linked to a credit account and cost an annual fee, which is not very cheap. Since there are cheaper offers in Europe with Mastercard and Visa, American Express and Diners Club are not so highly frequented in this country. This is also confirmed by the acceptance, which is limited to hotels, restaurants, gas stations and shops that sell high-priced goods.