You think you know everything there is to know about Credit Cards? Think again. This shockumentary spills the beans on the secrets that Visa, MasterCard and the rest have been holding out on. How did they get started? Now’s your chance to find out.
- Brief History
- First Bank Card Associations
- Continued Growth
- Millionster Theater MovieClip:Secret History of the Credit Card
Brief History of Credit Cards
Credit cards, as we know them today, have been around for just over half of a century. One of the first credit cards appeared in 1951 when loan customers of Franklin National Bank of New York were screened for credit and those approved were given a card they could use to make retail purchases. Participating merchants copied the customer information from the card onto a sales slip and the bank would credit the merchant account for the loan less a flat fee to cover the costs of providing the loan. In 1958, The American Express Company (a company built on the traveler’s cheque business) began issuing a charge card for travel and entertainment charges which was accepted at participating restaurant, hotel and airline merchants. (ref Wikipedia)
Cardholders enjoyed the convenience of plastic charge cards (especially when on the road for business) as well as the line of credit offered by the new bank credit cards. Merchants found that credit card customers usually spent more than if they had to pay with cash (which is still true today â€“ the average credit card purchase is 112% more than if cash is used). Accepting bank-issued cards was safer for the merchant than dealing with cash (more secure from internal and external theft and error) and less expensive than creating and maintaining a merchant-specific credit program