credit card

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A credit card is a type of revolving credit account wherein an individual is issued a piece of plastic (the card) embossed with the account number, the card's expiration year and month, and the holder's name. Since at least the 1980s, cards also have a magnetic strip on the back on which is recorded all the embossed information and additional data. Since the late 1990s, cards have also included a CVV number printed (not embossed) on the front or back.

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The major credit card providers (in order of most common acceptance to least) are Visa, MasterCard (formerly MasterCharge, formerly BankAmericard), Discover, and American Express.

In order to be able to accept credit cards as payment, a business must have a merchant card processing account.