Consumer Credit

Article byPrakhar Gajendrakar
Edited byRaisa Ali
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What is Consumer Credit?

Consumer credit refers to the credit facility provided by financial institutions, usually like loans to its users to purchase goods and services. Examples include credit card payments, consumer durables loans, and student loans.

The payment against customer purchases flows from financial institutionsFinancial InstitutionsFinancial institutions refer to those organizations which provide business services and products related to financial or monetary transactions to their clients. Some of these are banks, NBFCs, investment companies, brokerage firms, insurance companies and trust corporations. read more, and customers pay back the financial institution for their credit payment services in the future. It indicates the absence of immediate payment from the customer side. The customer makes the repayment either in the form of EMI payments or makes a one-time payment.

Key Takeaways

  • Consumer credit refers to the credit facility financial institutions provide to their customers for purchasing goods and services. Common examples are credit card payments, consumer durables loans, and student loans.
  • Financial institutions pay the sellers on behalf of the customers, and customers repay the financial institutions in the future based on predetermined terms and conditions.
  • One of the common classifications is categorizing into revolving and installment credit.
  • It plays a vital role in stimulating economic growth. However, its misuse causes racking up of debt.

Consumer Credit Explained

Consumer credit allows consumers to satisfy their needs and wants even if they don’t have the money at the moment of purchase. In essence, consumers borrow money from financial institutions and other creditorsCreditorsA creditor refers to a party involving an individual, institution, or the government that extends credit or lends goods, property, services, or money to another party known as a debtor. The credit made through a legal contract guarantees repayment within a specified period as mutually agreed upon by both parties. read more. In this process, businesses are benefitted from increased sales; consumers meet their requirements, and financial institutions get interest incomeInterest IncomeInterest Income is the amount of revenue generated by interest-yielding investments like certificates of deposit, savings accounts, or other investments & it is reported in the Company’s income statement. read more along with the principal amount.

The loan structure or repayment schedule and collateralCollateralCollateralization is derived from the term "collateral," which refers to a security deposit made by a borrower against a loan as a guarantee to recover the loan amount if s/he fails to pay.read more requirements vary with the type of creditType Of CreditTrade credit, bank credit, revolving credit, open credit, installment credit, mutual credit, and service credit are some of the different types of credit.read more. The factors like credit limit, monthly installment, and tenure will be based on the predetermined terms and conditions. Also, it may vary with the creditors or financial institutions. Usually, buying on credit in these cases does not require collaterals; hence it is mostly an unsecured form of debtDebtDebt is the practice of borrowing a tangible item, primarily money by an individual, business, or government, from another person, financial institution, or state.read more. However, in the case of loans taken for durables like cars, the product purchased forms the collateral by default.

In the United States, institutions like Consumer Credit Union, based in Gurnee, Illinois, offer different products and financial counseling for consumers contributing to their financial independence. Products include credit cards, home loans, product loans, checking accountsChecking AccountsA checking account is a bank account that allows multiple deposits and withdrawals. Additionally, it provides superior liquidity.read more, etc.

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Example

The Huabei, a virtual credit card by Ant Group, is an example of a lending service for customers. The brand name itself indicates “Just Spend” in Mandarin. It is one of the most outstanding credit services, facilitating credit payments or small loans for the daily expenditure of consumers. Credits are usually offered independently by banks and Ant’s finance wing. Furthermore, Huabei now shares the credit report of its users with the financial credit information database of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).

Types of Consumer Credit

The well-known types are revolving credit and installment credit. This classification is based on various factors like repayment structure and collateral.

Revolving Credit

Generally, a revolving credit account user can spend any amount at any time at their discretion but not cross the predefined upper limit. There is a repeating spending limit and duration. For example, in the case of credit cards, users can utilize the repeating credit facilityCredit FacilityCredit Facility is a pre-approved bank loan facility to businesses allowing them to borrow the capital amount as & when needed for their long-term/short-term requirements without having to re-apply for a loan each time. read more every month. The user can pay back the total credit used part by parts like a fixed amount per month or quarter. The credit keeps on revolving in a cyclical process where individuals can buy different goods and services. The credit issuing company has the right to close the account if the individual cannot make timely payments. Credit cards business or personal lines of credit are prominent examples of revolving credit.

Installment Credit

Installment credit occurs when the customer takes banks or other financial institutions’ help to get a fixed amount to buy particular consumer goodsConsumer GoodsConsumer goods are the products purchased by the buyers for consumption and not for resale. Also referred to as final products, examples of consumer goods include an Apple cellphone or a box of Oreo cookies. Consumer goods companies and the industry offer a vast range of products that heavily contribute to the global economy.read more and services. Upon receiving the credit, the customer buys the item and pays for it in a set amount, including the interest calculated in monthly installments. Car loans, personal loans, etc., are examples of installment closed credit. However, once it is taken for a purpose, the amount availed is fixed, and usually, a top-up loan is not allowed.

Pros and Cons

Consumer credit playing a vital role in the economy has pros and cons. Let’s look into some of them: 

Pros

Cons

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is an example of consumer credit?

A consumer visits a store buys different essentials, and at the time of payment, the consumer swipes a credit card to pay. The credit card company pays on the customer’s behalf, and the customer will repay the credit card company later based on the predefined terms. It is the simplest example of consumer credit.

What is a Consumer Credit Counseling Service?

CCCS is a nonprofit organization that helps people in money and debt management. It enables people to find a solution for financial problems, provide budgeting assistance and ensure that a debtor takes appropriate measures to avoid bankruptcy. In addition, the services negotiate on behalf of the debtors to waive fees and interest rates.

What is consumer credit act section 75?

Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 protects credit card users by vesting significant liability on credit card providers in case of contract breach or misrepresentation by a retailer or trader. The law empowers credit cardholders to resort to credit card companies if they face unfair treatment from retailers or traders. 

This has been a guide to Consumer Credit and its meaning. Here we discuss the examples & types of consumer credit, citing its counseling services, unions & acts. You can learn more from the following articles – 

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