Capitalized cost

Recorded in asset accounts and then depreciated or amortized, as is appropriate for expenditures for items with useful lives greater than one year.

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Cash advance

Cash withdrawn on your credit card at a bank office or ATM. Cash advances usually carry fees and a higher APR than other charges.

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Cash down

Total amount of cash used in a purchase.

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Cash on hand

Cash you have for the down payment and all closing costs.

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Chapter

In bankruptcy, this term refers to a section of the Bankruptcy Code.

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Charge off

Action of transferring accounts deemed uncollectible to a category such as "bad debt" or "loss." Such accounts will usually continue to be pursued by collectors, but are no longer considered part of a company's receivable or profit picture because they are unlikely to be repaid in full.

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Civil action

In the credit world, this is any court action against a consumer to regain money for someone else. If successful, the civil action will usually result in a wage assignment, child support judgment, small claims judgment or civil judgment of money to be paid.

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Closed date

The date the account was closed either at the request of the consumer or by the creditor.

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Co-maker

A creditworthy co-maker is sometimes required in situations where an applicant's qualifications have not been established or are marginal. A co-maker is legally responsible to repay the charges in the joint account agreement if the other person defaults.

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Cosigners

Person who pledges in writing as part of a credit contract to repay the debt if the borrower fails to do so.

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Collection agency

A business service employed to collect creditors' unpaid or past due accounts. A collection agency is often compensated by receiving an agreed upon percentage of any amount collected.

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Consolidation loans

A loan that pays off all of your existing debt, preferably at a lower average interest rate.

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Consumer

A buyer of goods and services.

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Consumer Credit Counseling Service

A nonprofit organization that helps consumers manage, and plan their use of debt.

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Consumer credit information

Also known as a credit report. This includes the account/payment history of your credit relationships for seven years and public record history for ten years. Name and address history is also included.

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Credit

The provision of funds by a lender for a promise of future payment.

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Credit accounts

Any loan or debt listed on your credit report is considered a credit account.

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Credit application

A form used by a lender to obtain personal, financial and credit information to appraise an applicant's credit worthiness.

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Credit availability

The amount of credit you have remaining on your credit account. It equals your credit limit minus your credit balance. This is also referred to as credit available and percentage of credit currently available.

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Credit bureau

An agency that gathers information about consumers' credit relationships and provides creditors with credit reports and scores on consumers.

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Credit card

A plastic payment card which allows the owner to obtain goods and services without the requirement to pay cash and on credit terms.

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Credit card rate

Annual interest rate you pay on outstanding credit card balances.

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Credit file

A file containing customer correspondence and statements, credit ratings, credit history and payment patterns.

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Credit history

A record of how a person has borrowed and repaid debts.

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Credit investigation

In terms of your credit report, an investigation is the process a consumer credit reporting agency goes through in order to verify credit report information disputed by a consumer. The credit grantor who supplied the information will be contacted to verify the disputed information. If the information is verified, it remains on the report; if it is not, the information is deleted or corrected.

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Credit limit

The maximum amount an individual or business can borrow in connection with a specific loan.

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Credit line

The maximum dollar amount that can be charged on a specific card account.

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Credit report

A report containing information about a consumer's identity, credit relationships, some court actions, consumers statements and previous inquiries into that file.

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Credit reporting agency

Also known as a credit bureau. An agency that checks credit information and keeps files on people who apply for and use credit.

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Credit scores

A credit score summarizes your credit history into a number that lets lenders and others quickly know how responsible you have been with your past credit accounts and loans. Lenders use formulas to calculate your score based on information from your credit report. These scores help predict how likely you are to pay your loans or credit cards. While lenders may use different scoring models to determine how you rate, personal details such as race, gender or religion are not considered when determining your score. However, the various scoring models have been fairly well standardized so that credit bureau scores, including your PLUS Score developed by Experian, use similar information and are roughly comparable.

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Credit union

A mutual association formed by persons with a common affiliation such as employees, a union or a religious group in which pooled savings are made. The funds are invested for appreciation and members may borrow at competitive rates.

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Creditor

One who extends credit to borrowers.

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