How is a line of credit similar to a credit card?

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A line of credit and a credit card are both forms of borrowing that offer individuals access to a predetermined amount of funds. While they have distinct features and usage, there are several similarities between the two. This article will explore how a line of credit is similar to a credit card, highlighting their shared characteristics and benefits.

Flexibility in Borrowing

Credit Limit: Both a line of credit and a credit card come with a predetermined credit limit. This limit represents the maximum amount that can be borrowed at any given time. It provides individuals with the flexibility to access funds as needed, up to the specified limit.

Revolving Credit: Both credit cards and lines of credit offer revolving credit, which means that as borrowers repay the borrowed amount, the available credit is replenished. This allows for continuous borrowing and repayment without the need to apply for a new loan or credit card every time.

Interest and Repayment

Interest Charges: Both credit cards and lines of credit accrue interest on the outstanding balance. The interest rates for both types of borrowing can vary depending on factors such as creditworthiness and market conditions. It is important for borrowers to understand the interest rates associated with their credit card or line of credit and manage their borrowing accordingly.

Minimum Payments: Credit cards and lines of credit typically require borrowers to make minimum monthly payments. These payments are calculated based on a percentage of the outstanding balance. While paying only the minimum amount is an option, it is generally advisable to pay more to reduce the overall interest charges and pay off the debt faster.

Convenience and Usability

Access to Funds: Both credit cards and lines of credit provide convenient access to funds. Credit cards can be used for purchases at various merchants, both online and offline. Similarly, lines of credit often come with a checkbook or a linked account, allowing borrowers to withdraw funds as needed.

Flexible Use: Credit cards and lines of credit offer flexibility in terms of how the borrowed funds can be used. Whether it is for everyday expenses, emergencies, or larger purchases, borrowers have the freedom to use the funds as they see fit. This versatility makes both options suitable for various financial needs.

Building Credit History

Credit Reporting: Both credit cards and lines of credit contribute to an individual’s credit history. Timely payments and responsible borrowing behavior can positively impact credit scores, while missed payments or excessive borrowing can have negative consequences. Building a positive credit history is important for future borrowing opportunities, such as obtaining loans or mortgages.

Establishing Credit: For individuals who are new to credit or have limited credit history, both credit cards and lines of credit can serve as tools to establish creditworthiness. Responsible use and timely payments can help individuals build a solid credit foundation, enabling them to access better borrowing terms in the future.


In conclusion, a line of credit and a credit card share several similarities in terms of flexibility in borrowing, interest and repayment, convenience and usability, as well as their impact on credit history. Both options provide individuals with access to funds up to a predetermined limit and offer revolving credit. Understanding the similarities and differences between the two can help borrowers make informed decisions based on their specific financial needs and goals.


– Investopedia:
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