Taking charge: Recession spurs growth in charge cards

Americans love their plastic, but a lot of us got into trouble during the boom years, abusing the seemingly infinite spending power our credit cards gave us. Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, a new kind of card is gaining prominence in the personal-finance landscape: the charge card. Charge cards differ from credit cards in that they require users to pay their balance in full each month as opposed to accruing a revolving balance.

Charge cards aren't new, and they never really went away. They did fall out of favor in recent years, though, as consumers lured by low interest rates and a sense of wealth brought about by rising home prices eschewed them in favor of credit cards.