Credit Card Agreement Explanation
Below we have taken an exact copy of the terms and conditions of a 'Chase Credit Card' and included help question marks across the page to help you quickly interpret all the fine print included in credit card offers.
Even though the exact terms and conditions vary between credit card companies, the way they are explained is generally consistent.
Pricing & Terms
Please take a moment to carefully review the Pricing & Terms below.
RATE, FEE AND OTHER COST INFORMATION
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for purchases 
Elite and Premium Pricing:^{a} A 0% fixed APR for the first 12 billing cycles following the opening of your account. After that, 10.99% variable^{b} for Elite Pricing, or 14.99% variable for Premium Pricing. Standard Pricing: From account opening, 19.99% variable. 
Other APRs 
Balance Transfer APR: Elite and Premium Pricing: A 0% fixed APR for the first 12 billing cycles following the opening of your account. After that, 10.99% variable for Elite Pricing, or 14.99% variable for Premium Pricing. Standard Pricing: A 0% fixed APR for the first 3 billing cycles following the opening of your account. After that, 19.99% variable.
Cash Advance APR: Elite and Premium Pricing: 20.99% variable. Standard Pricing: 24.99% variable. Default APR: Up to 28.99% variable. See explanation below.^{c} Overdraft Advance APR: 13.99% fixed (not available in some states) 
Variable rate information 
The following APRs may vary monthly based on the Prime Rate:
Purchase APR: Elite and Premium Pricing: The Prime Rate plus 5.99% for Elite Pricing, or plus 9.99% for Premium Pricing for outstanding and new balances after the introductory period. Standard Pricing: The Prime Rate plus 14.99%. Balance Transfer APR: Elite and Premium Pricing: The Prime Rate plus 5.99% for Elite Pricing, or plus 9.99% for Premium Pricing for outstanding and new balances after the introductory period. Standard Pricing: The Prime Rate plus 14.99% for outstanding and new balances after the introductory period. Cash Advance APR: Elite and Premium Pricing: The Prime Rate plus 15.99%. Standard Pricing: The Prime Rate plus 19.99%. Default APR: The Prime Rate plus up to 23.99%. 
Grace period for repayment of purchase balances 
At least 20 days. 
Method of computing the balance for purchases 
Average daily balance method (including new purchases). 
Annual fee 
None 
Minimum finance charge 
$1.00 
Transaction fee for balance transfers 
3% of the amount of each transaction, but not less than $5.00 nor more than $75.00. 
Transaction fees for cash advances 
3% of the amount of the transaction, but not less than $10.00. 
Late Payment fee 
$15.00 on balances up to, but not including, $100.00; $29.00 on balances of $100.00 up to, but not including, $250.00; and $39.00 on balances of $250.00 and over. 
OvertheCreditLimit fee 
$39.00 
International Transaction fee 
3% of the U.S. dollar amount of the transaction, whether originally made in U.S. dollars or converted from a foreign currency. 
^{a}We will first consider you for the pricing above with the lowest rates. We reserve the right, based upon our review of your credit history and information furnished by you, to open an account with alternative pricing as stated above, or not to open an account at all.
^{b}Rates, fees, and terms may change: We reserve the right to change the account terms (including the APRs) at any time for any reason, in addition to APR increases that may occur for failure to comply with the terms of your account. The APRs for this offer are not guaranteed; APRs may change to higher APRs, fixed APRs may change to variable APRs, or variable APRs may change to fixed APRs. Any changes will be in accordance with your account agreement.
^{c}Your APRs may increase if you default on this account for any of the following reasons: We do not receive at least the minimum payment due by the date and time due; you exceed your credit line, if applicable; or you make a payment to us that is not honored by your bank. Your APRs may increase as of the first day of the billing cycle in which the default occurs. We may consider the following factors to determine the default rate: the length of time your account has been open; the existence, seriousness and timing of defaults; other indications of your account usage and performance; and information about your other relationships with us, any of our related companies or from consumer credit reports.
^{d}The "Prime Rate" is the highest prime rate published in the Money Rates column of The Wall Street Journal two business days before the Closing Date on the statement for each billing period. Variable APRs are based on the 5.00% prime rate on 05/05/2008.
All Other Sections
Most credit card agreements also contain additional Terms and Conditions, which typically dictate your legal requirements and obligations. For example, this fine print might inform you that all disputes related to your account will be handled in arbitration or that the issuer reserves the right to change the terms of the account at their discretion, with the proper advance warning. The details of this information will likely vary by credit card issuer, and it is a good idea to review its contents prior to applying for a credit card.
Our simple explanation:
Depending on how good your credit is at the time of application you will end up in one of the following 3 options:

0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months and then 10.99% Variable APR after that
OR 
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months and then 14.99% Variable APR after that
OR  No Intro APR on Purchases  Just 19.99% Variable APR
Our simple explanation:
Depending on how good your credit is at the time of application you will end up in one of the following 3 options:

0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months and then 10.99% Variable APR after that
OR 
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months and then 14.99% Variable APR after that
OR  No Intro APR on Purchases  Just 19.99% Variable APR
Our simple explanation:
Depending on how good your credit is at the time of application you will end up in one of the following 3 options:

0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 12 months and then 10.99% Variable APR after that
OR 
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 12 months and then 14.99% Variable APR after that
OR  0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 3 months and then 19.99% Variable APR after that
Our simple explanation:
Depending on how good your credit is at the time of application you will end up in one of the following 2 options:

20.99% on Variable APR on Cash Advances
OR  24.99% on Variable APR on Cash Advances
Our simple explanation:
If you are late in making a payment, OR go above your credit limit, OR make a payment that bounces back then ALL your APRs will go to 28.99% Variable APR. Even a 0% Intro APR will go to the 28.99% APR!
Our simple explanation:
Do not worry about this. It is not available in some states and it is not a big deal.
It applies only if you go overlimit and it is the interest you will have to pay on the overlimit amount. Also it does not differ significantly from the Regular APR and in some cases it works out in your favor.
Our simple explanation:
When an APR is Variable it means:
Your APR = Prime Rate + A Fixed Number
The 'Prime Rate' goes up and down overitme and so does 'Your APR'.
Note: Some credit card companies use the LIBOR Rate instead of the Prime Rate, which is just a different rate that also changes overtime.
Purchase APR:  AFTER THE INTRODUCTORY PERIOD
Remember: Your APR = Prime Rate + A Fixed Number
So depending on how good your credit is at the time of application you will end up in one of the following 3 options:
 The Fixed Number will be 5.99%
OR  The Fixed Number will be 9.99%
OR  The Fixed Number will be 14.99%
When these disclosures were printed the Prime Rate was 5% and this is why the Purchase APRs that one can get (based on the section from above) are: 10.99% (i.e. 5% + 5.99%); 14.99% (i.e. 5% + 9.99%); 19.99% (i.e.5% + 14.99%).
Example:
If one year later the Prime Rate becomes 7% then the respective APRs will change:
The consumers that got the 10.99% rate will go to 12.99% (i.e. 7% + 5.99%); the ones that got 14.99% will go to 16.99% and the ones with 14.99% will go to 21.99%.
Balance Transfer APR (or Transfer APR)  AFTER THE INTRODUCTORY PERIOD
Remember: Your APR = Prime Rate + A Fixed Number
So depending on how good your credit is at the time of application you will end up in one of the following 3 options:
 The Fixed Number will be 5.99%
OR  The Fixed Number will be 9.99%
OR  The Fixed Number will be 14.99%
When these disclosures were printed the Prime Rate was 5% and this is why the Balance Transfer APRs that one can get (based on the section from above) are: 10.99% (i.e. 5% + 5.99%); 14.99% (i.e. 5% + 9.99%); 19.99% (i.e. 5% + 14.99%).
Example:
If one year later the Prime Rate becomes 7% then the respective APRs will change:
The consumers that got the 20.99% rate will go to 22.99% (i.e. 7% + 15.99%); and the ones that got 24.99% will go to 26.99%.
Cash Advance APR (or Cash APR):
Remember: Your APR = Prime Rate + A Fixed Number
So depending on how good your credit is at the time of application you will end up in one of the following 3 options:
 The Fixed Number will be 15.99%
OR
When these disclosures were printed the Prime Rate was 5% and this is why the Cash Advance APRs that one can get (based on the section from above) are: 20.99% (i.e. 5% + 15.99%); 24.99% (i.e. 5% + 19.99%);
Example:
If one year later the Prime Rate becomes 7% then the respective APRs will change:
The consumers that got the 20.99% rate will go to 22.99% (i.e. 7% + 15.99%); and the ones that got 24.99% will go to 26.99%.
Default APR:
Remember: Your APR = Prime Rate + A Fixed Number
So what this sentence says is that:
 The Fixed Number will be 23.99%
When these disclosures were printed the Prime Rate was 5% and this is why the Default APR that one can get (based on the section from above) is: 28.99% (i.e. 5% + 23.99%)
Example:
If one year later the Prime Rate becomes 7% then the Default APR will change to: 30.99% (i.e. 7% + 23.99%)

If you do not plan to pay your credit card balance in full every month then:
You should not care about the grace period since you will get assessed finance charges based on your daily balance, regardless of what the grace period is. 
If you do plan to pay your credit card balance in full every month then:
You should care about the grace period since it is the number of days (20 in this case) you will have to pay your bill in full without triggering a finance charge. Grace period applies only to purchases.
 Cash Advances and Balance Transfers do not have a grace period and therefore finance charges get assessed on the cash and balance transfer balances immediately.
 Between different cards, grace period usually ranges from 2030 days.
All that this says is that in order to figure out how much interest you need to get assessed every month they need to use some type of a balance.
They have chosen to use an average daily balance that includes the balance of all the new purchases that you just made.
Our experience shows that almost all credit cards are the same when it comes to this term.
Pretty selfexplanatory.
The amount you will be charged each twelvemonth period for simply having the card.
The credit card referenced in these terms has no annual fee.
If they change you a finance charge. They will at least charge you $1.
Pretty selfexplanatory.
Every time you make a balance transfer they charge you a fee. That fee will be equal to 3% of the amount that you transfer, but never less than $5 and never more that $75.
Example: If you transfer $2,000, you will get a $60 fee.
Pretty selfexplanatory.
Every time you make a cash advance they charge you a fee. That fee will be equal to 3% of the amount of the cash advance, but never less than $10.
Example: If you go to an ATM machine and use your credit card to withdraw $200, then you will get a $10 fee even though 3% of $200 is $6.
They charge you a different late fee based on your credit card balance at the time you are late.
In order to keep things simple, our recommendation is that for this card you take away that if you miss a payment you will get a $39 late fee.
Plan for the worst and hope for the best...
They charge you an overlimit fee of $39 if you go over your credit line.
In most cases they charge you this fee if you go overlimit at any point during the month, even if you immediately pay back down.
We strongly recommend that you call your credit card company and ask them not to allow you to go over your credit limit.
Pretty selfexplanatory.
Every time you use your credit card outside the USA they charge you a fee. In this case, the fee will be equal to 3% of the transaction amount.
Example: If you go to Mexico and charge $1,000 on your credit card, you will get a $30 fee.
This is a very important section since it gives you an idea on how aggressive there are going to be with changing ALL your APR's to the Default APR of 28.99%, in this case.
For example, with this card if you miss only 1 payment you might get repriced to the Default APR. Other credit cards might reprice you after you miss 2 payments.
This is a very important section since it gives you an idea on how aggressive there are going to be with changing ALL your APR's to the Default APR of 28.99%, in this case.
For example, with this card if you miss only 1 payment you might get repriced to the Default APR. Other credit cards might reprice you after you miss 2 payments.
Pretty standard across most major credit card companies. We recommend that you focus your atttention on all the previous terms that we have explained.
Image: neyro2008 / iStock.
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