We the consumers, sometimes are looking at the convenience only and forget to read the "small prints," or that regular mail that we receive from the card issuer to get the update on the industry.

Now, that is our mistake; and so we find ourselves in big debt or just in trouble and not comprehending when all this happened without us being aware of it!

What should you know about credit cards?
credit card logos

What should you know as a customer -

Before getting a credit card make sure you know what the terms and conditions are; having a card implies some responsibility and commitment for paying on time. Find out the variety of card types there are out there and try to find someone to qualify you for a decent credit line that you can make use off and the interest rate is, - known as APR - something you are comfortable with, just in case you have to carry a balance from one month to another.

Be familiar with certain terms that the merchant uses

- Authorization - that means that the merchant is issuing a "hold" on the amount of your purchase before they will charge the credit card.
- Visa and Master Card will have that amount "on hold" for a period up to 7 days, - if the purchase doesn't take place and the amount doesn't get through as a purchase, that is being release and available to you.
- Discovery has a longer period of time for holding the dollar amount, which is 30 days.

Do not jump to conclusion and tell the merchant that you have already been charged, that is not how it works. You might show the transaction on your credit card/debit card, - however, an authorization is out of the merchant's hands and
- ONLY when they say - they charged you and give you a confirmation number for the purchase, that is the time they will have the money released to their bank account from the card processor.

What should you know as a merchant -

If you have not been notified already, here is some info I found very helpful.

In order to comply with the credit card issuers' request, we will like to comply and keep our spending to a minimum;

The new terminology is: "Avoiding Unnecessary Additional Fees" - we will follow procedures as we are instructed; what is expected of a merchant:

* 1. to have the card authorized prior to charging it, and charge the sale on the same card - otherwise we are charged with "Misuse of Authorization" fee by Visa.

* 2. to charge the card and do it within the allotted time frame - otherwise if the authorization was not obtained prior to the charges occurrence, Visa calls this a "Zero Floor Limit" fee and that (the fee) is passed on to us, the merchants.

If anyone learns at least one thing off this article, I think is worth your time reading it!