Credit Basics 101
What You Need To Know About Credit

The History of Credit Cards

Today it's referred as the old plastic but all credit card buffs know that the first credit cards were not made of plastic but cellulose and metal plates.

Encyclopedia Britannica documents that the use of credit cards originated in the United States during the 1920's, when individual firms, such as oil companies and hotel chains, began issuing them to customers.

Also, in the 1920's, stylish stores in the United States issued them to their favorite customers.

So at that time they were highly localized in acceptance. So if you lived in Los Angeles you couldn't use your credit card in Chicago. But credit cards gained nationwide usage after the likes of Henry Ford gave the world mass produced automobiles.

The ability to travel across America had the unintended consequence of popularizing credit card usage.

The 1950's saw the founding of the Diners Club, which now is one of the biggest credit card companies worldwide.

Its founder, Mr. Frank McNamara probably was surprised the way his start up turned out to be. The card was first intended to enable Diners customers to have their meals without paying for them, and Diners club would foot the bill.

The customers then would repay Diners Club. In 1951, Bank of America, encouraged by Diners success, started a card that is now called VISA. And other California banks started their card which later became MasterCard.

American Express made its debut in 1958. At that time, the banks realized that the card business was a mass market business, and they later began mailing anyone with an address (some of them dead, even) offering the new found craze.



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