Consumer Credit Fundamentals by Steven Finlay (auth.)

By Steven Finlay (auth.)

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Sample text

With the arrival of the credit card – the most prominent of consumer credit tokens – individuals could buy what they wanted where they wanted without the need to have the money to pay for it. The credit card gave consumers a whole new dimension to their purchasing power. The power to purchase whenever and whatever was only one of the impacts of credit cards. For the first time credit was visible, personal and said something about who and what an individual represented. For much of history debt had carried with it a stigma.

Where the precise amount to be borrowed is unknown, but a credit facility is made available, a running account credit agreement is said to exist. The size of the debt is allowed to fluctuate as further credit is advanced and repayments made. Running account credit agreements usually have a maximum stated spending limit, termed the credit limit or credit line, against which funds can be drawn. Running account agreements are also known as open ended credit agreements or revolving credit agreements.

24 Consumer Credit Fundamentals Charge accounts were also popular. However, large department stores and retail chains comprising many different outlets, dealt with a far larger customer base than the small local stores that preceded them. Consequently, the customer was no longer someone who was known to the merchant. This led to some stores to issue charge plates to their customers – small metal plates containing the customer’s details. The customer could then present the charge plate in any store and goods would be charged to the customer’s account with some assurance that the customer was who they claimed to be.

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