Credit Card Glossary

Letter T


The outlawed practice where credit card issuer's set up tables on college campuses or in their general vicinity in the hopes of enticing students, potential customers, to apply for credit cards in exchange for free gifts such as frisbees, hats, general apparel, or in some cases even food.

Tax Deductible Interest

Some interest payments, though few and far between in this era may be used as tax deductions. The most common tax deductible interest is that accrued on mortgage loans.

Tax Reform Act of '86

During the Reagan Administration, the Tax Reform Act of 1986 was signed that eliminated tax deductions for most consumer loans with the exception of mortgage interest. When the legislation was enacted, consumers could no longer deduct interest accrued from their credit cards.

Teaser Rate

The teaser rate is the exact same thing as the introductory APR that lasts a minimum of 6 months, when applicable, and is a lower rate than the go-to or regular rate that kicks in after the introductory term ends.

Terms and Conditions

The portion of a credit card contract or any other loan that lists the pricing and terms of the loan obligation. With credit cards, the pricing and contract outlined in the terms and conditions are activate upon first use of the credit card.

Thin File

A thin file is a term used to describe a consumer with a very limited or brief credit history. You typically see those who are close to the age of 18 with thin files as they haven't had much time to begin building their credit history.


Though thrifts may issue credit cards, their fundamental function is to provide mortgages and take in deposits. Thrifts are the exact same thing as savings and loan associations.

Tiered Rewards

A tiered rewards program is an incentive based system where the more you spend, the more you earn with stepping stones along the way. Some tiered rewards programs have ceilings, but those reserved for people with excellent or superior credit sometimes do not.

Time Barred Debt

Unpaid debt that has been inactive past the statute of limitations is referred to as time barred debt.

Title Loan

Title loans, though uncommon, are loans that require an individual to surrender the title of their vehicle or boat as collateral for the loan they take out from a lender. They are usually strapped with higher interest rates and less than favorable terms in addition to requiring the collateral.

Total Finance Charge

The formulaic method of computing the cost of borrowing defined by multiplying the average daily balance by the daily periodic rate by the number of days in a cycle. It is required by law to be presented on a credit card billing statement.


The class system used to categorize portions of a securitized credit card portfolio.


In the credit card world, a binding legal obligation initiated at the request of an account holder that results in activity on the cardholder's account.

Transaction Authentication Number

Also called a TAN, this is a code used to increase the security of online transactions similar to an authorization code. Transaction Authentication Numbers are only generated with use of a v-terminal.

Transaction Identifier

A unique 15 character code that the Visa Network assigns to each transaction and returns with the authorization response. This is employed to time-stamp and track the transaction from start to finish and in the event of a charge-back or other post settlement action, to quickly identify the transaction and its history.


An individual who uses his or her credit card but does not carry a balance from month to month.


When a credit card receipt is generated, you may notice that a portion of the account number has been hidden by either xxx or ***. This is called truncation and exists for cardholder protection so that if the receipt were to fall into the wrong hands, the account number and all other information would not be available to enable fraud.

Truth In Lending Act

The TILA is the consumer protection put into place that ensures more accurate disclosures of credit card contracts and terms and conditions so that consumers may shop around for offers from various institutions as well as to have a keener understanding of their rights when it comes to their contracts and billing practices of the lenders they do business with.

Truth In Savings Act

The legislation that requires banks to disclose fees, rates and other charges to deposit accounts -- including to debit cards.

Two Cycle Billing

The now illegal practice of eliminating the grace period for people who paid off their credit card balance in full the previous month. It allowed credit card issuers to apply interest charges to two cycles rather than the most recent and was deemed deceptive and predatory. It is also known as double cycle billing.