ACCCS – American Credit Card Collectors Society, an association existing to serve credit card collectors.
Affinity Card – A Mastercard or Visa bank credit card sponsored by an organization. The organization gets a portion of the revenue from the bank issuing the card.
ATM – Automatic Teller Machine card used at machines to dispense cash to cardholder. Not a credit card.
Bank Card – A card issued by a bank, such as early bank charge plan cards, some retail store cards. Visa and Mastercard.
Blank Card – A partially manufactured card; one without any embossing on it. Not a real credit card.
Cash Card – See Prepayment card.
Celluloid – A hard thermoplastic material patented in 1871. Referred to as fake ivory. Used to make small charge cards, which are now considered charge coins.
Charga-Plate – See Metal Charge plate.
Charge Card – A card that established the credit of the person to whom it is issued. The account must be paid in full each month.
Charge Coins – The first known U.S. credit pieces, issued from 1865 to the 1950’s. Usually made of metal since 1890’s, issued in various shapes and approximately the size of a quarter dollar. The issuing store’s name, monogram, or initials are on it. Each coin carries an account number but no customer’s name.
Charge Token – See Charge Coins.
Co-brand Card – A Visa or Mastercard with a corporate name and logo.
Check Card – A bank card used to debit someone’s account at the point of sale. Some can be used as credit cards too; e.g. those with “Visa” on them.
Computer Bumps – Moulded in bumps on plastic cards for reading by computer; usually cards from the 1960’s.
Computer Holes – Round or rectangular holes moulded into plastic cards for reading by computer; usually cards from the 1960’s.
Coupon – Perforated paper attached to a paperboard credit card that must be torn-off to allow the cardholder to charge certain items. Mainly used on early gas credit cards to limit the number of tires and batteries that could be charged.
Credit Card – A card that established the credit of the person to whom it is issued. The card has revolving credit attached to it so only part of the card’s debt is due each month.
Credit/Bank Identification Card – A card that identifies a person as having credit worthiness at a bank or business for the purpose of cashing checks, getting a loan or otherwise doing business. Not a true credit card.
Credit Token – See Metal Charge Plate.
Debit Card – A card used to deduct the cost of your purchase from your bank account. The card has no credit attached.
Diners’ Club Booklet Card – An early Diners’ credit card which is a directory of where the card could be used. The booklet’s front cover is the credit card. Issued 1950 – 1961.
Early Bank Card – Credit card issued by one of about 400 U.S. Banks in the 50’s and 60’s, prior to BankAmericard and Master Charge.
Exonumia – numismatic items (such as tokens, medals, or scrip) other than coins and paper money. This includes “Good For” tokens, badges, counter stamped coins, elongated coins, encased coins, souvenir medallions, tags, wooden nickels and other similar items.
Frank – A card authorizing free use of something, e.g. a telegram. A frank is not a credit card.
Fusilatelist – fusilatelists collect phone cards issued by telecom companies.
Hologram – Foil backed, three-dimensional design that appears to change shapes and colors when rotated in the light. Used to “foil” counterfeiters.
Key Return Coin – These can look like and be confused with charge coins. They have a hole for a key chain and usually says “if found, return keys to”.
Leatherette – An imitation leather material used as a carrying case for some charge plates; becomes hard with age.
Life Style Card – Mastercard and Visa issued with colorful designs to attract special interest groups. Similar to affinity cards except no organization is involved; therefore the issuing bank keeps all the profits.
Loan Credit Cards – Paper cards issued by finance companies to those who have a good credit standing with the company, such as a result of paying off a loan. Some worked like credit cards, some were status I.D. cards.
Magnetic Strip – The dark band on the back of a card that has account information encoded in it.
Maverick – An unidentified credit piece. Generally applies to charge coins with initials where the issuer’s name isn’t known.
Melinex – A pure polyester plastic that is safe for storing collectibles.
Membership Cards – An identification card showing a person has certain privileges as a member of an organization, but usually not charge privileges. For example, the silver Playboy cards were only membership cards but the gold cards were membership and charge cards.
Metal Charge Plate – A charge piece, generally made from aluminum or white metal with embossing that has the customer’s name, address and account number. It is similar in shape, size and appearance to a military dog tag. The back of the plate has a cardboard insert, which carries the issuer’s name and customer signature space. All metal charge plates were issued with carrying cases.
Mint – The original condition of an item when it’s made.
Multi-purpose card – Card used at a variety of purchase outlets; e.g. Mastercard, American Express.
Mylar – A pure polyester plastic that is safe for storing collectibles.
Notched – A card manufactured with a corner missing.
Numismatics – the study or collection of coins, banknotes, and medals.
Oversized – A card size longer, wider than a regular size card; usually older paper card.
Philatelics – the collection and study of postage and imprinted stamps.
Pictorial Card – A bank card promoting something but not connected to any organization.
Polypropylene – A plastic that is safe for storing collectibles .
Prepayment Card – Thin, standard sized card that is paid for in advance and used to make purchases. Purchases are deducted from the amount stored on the card. Mainly used for public telephones and vending machines. Not a credit card.
Princess – A card size slightly longer than regular cards and narrower, approximately 89mm x 44mm.
Punch Cancelled – A card that has been invalidated by having holes punched in it.
PVC – Polyvinyl Chloride. Vinyl is an unsafe plastic to store collectibles long term.
Regular Size Card – A standard size card, 86 % mm x 54 mm.
Retail Card – Card issued for use at a store or several stores.
Sample Card – A card used by a card issuer to show prospective customers what their card would look like. Has embossing, e.g. “Specimen”, “John Q. Customer”. Not a real credit card.
Sample Stock – Blank plastic cards submitted to a company for style and color approval prior to mass production. Not embossed. Not a real credit card.
Signature Panel – A white or light colored panel for a cardholder’s signature.
Single Purpose Card – A card which can be used at only one store or business; can be used at multiple locations of a business.
Smart Card – A card containing a micro-chip which can exchange information with a computer.
Specimen Card – See sample card.
T & E Card – Travel & Entertainment card. Charge card aimed at business customers.
Thin Flexible Plastic – A plastic card about half the thickness of a standard card. A standard card is about .030 inches (30 mils) thick.