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History of Credit Cards (Started late 1800s)

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http://www.cucollector.com/History-of-Credit-Cards.php

 

 

Long before the advent of paper currency in the 17th century, the “Bill of Exchange” was the first use of credit and can be traced back as far as the 14th century. While credit methods had been in use as far back as Babylon, the advent of the credit card, is relatively new in the lending world. Ironically, even the word credit is ancient, the word credit comes from the Latin word for trust.

hotel_token.jpg

The earliest record of the credit cards can be found in Europe in the 1890’s and some oil companies and hotel chains had their own cards as early as the 1920’s. The first Bank Credit Card was issued by the Brooklyn, NY, Bank of Flatbush in 1946. Their “Charge It” card allowed bank customers to use their card with participating merchants who would submit the slips to the bank for payment. The bank would then bill the customer much as is done today. During this era, credit cards were usually made of paper and occasionally metal tokens. Plastic didn’t come into play for some time.

diners_club_card1950.jpg

But the honor of the first main stream credit card goes to the Diners Club card, which in 1950 issued the card to an exclusive 200 customers who could only use it in 27 New York restaurants. Technically, this was a charge card rather than a credit card because the entire bill was due in full rather than payments being allowed over a period of time with an interest calculation. In fact, interest loans were by most of the world considered usury and consider decadent and sinful. In many cultures, this belief still exists.

 

AMX_CC_1960.jpg

bankAmrcrd_CC.jpg

In 1958 American Express and Bank of America, then, BankAmericard (now VISA) issued their first cards. These cards were initially targeted to provide services to traveling salesmen as a time saving device rather than as a form of credit. As some of us old timers will recall, early credit cards had no magnetic strip. Verification was done manually through a large book of active card numbers at the point of transaction. The advent of the magnetic strip in teh early 1960's didn't get introduced until the establishment of standards for such data in 1970. Still, it took time for this to catch on.
As we look back to the simple methods of billing and the low tech verification methods, you can't help but marvel at how much simpler and honest the world was in decades gone by. With the security levels where they were, has technology not have developed, there is no way credit cards would have survived to these times. These cards were just too simple and too easy to replicate. Con men and theives would have torn this industry down in no time. It's a small miracle they made it past their humble beginnings.
Today, the use of such cards is quite the norm. CreditCards.com reports there were 576 Million credit cards and 507 Million Debit cards held by consumers in the United States alone at the end of 2009. They also state that there is an average of $15,788 in credit card debt per household. With these figures, it is almost impossible to imagine our country living without credit cards. For beter or for worse, credit cards are here to stay.
K.W. Armstrong
CUCollector.com
Editor

 

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Cool article.

 

just an FYI, (I'm sure everyone already knows), the first digit tells which company the CC is issued from.

 

3 - AMEX

4 - Visa

5 - Mastercard

6 - Discover

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31OgHypEoEL.jpg

I actually recall a merchant taking an imprint of my card when their machine was down back in late 90's. I could - as the article suggests - have used an invalid card or completely exceeded my limit. They simply said we will run it later. Wow. No such thing anymore to be sure.

 

E.T.A: I live in a small rural town where I personally have merchant charge accounts where I can charge and they bill me later. Grocery, hardware, lumber yard, gas station.... Nice to just sign and pay later on your name - to a local business. Used to have many more merchants, time and closings have reduced them. Sadly.

 

HL

Edited by Herloss

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Within the past few years I've seen hotels use the mechanized version of this to make an imprint of the corporate Amex I used to have for $DAYJOB. Similar to this:

 

Addressograph_840.gif

 

$DAYJOB since switched banks and we were issued flat EMV MasterCards

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31OgHypEoEL.jpg

 

Yup...and the hotsheets of bad CC #s. I was the assistant manager of a store back in the mid 1980s. Times sure have changed.

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31OgHypEoEL.jpg

 

Yup...and the hotsheets of bad CC #s. I was the assistant manager of a store back in the mid 1980s. Times sure have changed.

 

By the late 1980's the booklet about 5x8 and the pages were like a phone directory. Probably was at 50 or so pages of hot CC#'s in fine print. On the back was the script we were to use with the call center if we came across a hot card.

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31OgHypEoEL.jpg

 

Yup...and the hotsheets of bad CC #s. I was the assistant manager of a store back in the mid 1980s. Times sure have changed.

By the late 1980's the booklet about 5x8 and the pages were like a phone directory. Probably was at 50 or so pages of hot CC#'s in fine print. On the back was the script we were to use with the call center if we came across a hot card.

Yup...Code 10...and I remember those booklets well.

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31OgHypEoEL.jpg

Yup...and the hotsheets of bad CC #s. I was the assistant manager of a store back in the mid 1980s. Times sure have changed.

By the late 1980's the booklet about 5x8 and the pages were like a phone directory. Probably was at 50 or so pages of hot CC#'s in fine print. On the back was the script we were to use with the call center if we came across a hot card.

Yup...Code 10...and I remember those booklets well.

 

Code 10 - and then all the questions asked by the call center were to be answered with a yes or no. "Hold the customer and the card by all peaceable means possible"

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31OgHypEoEL.jpg

I actually recall a merchant taking an imprint of my card when their machine was down back in late 90's. I could - as the article suggests - have used an invalid card or completely exceeded my limit. They simply said we will run it later. Wow. No such thing anymore to be sure.

 

E.T.A: I live in a small rural town where I personally have merchant charge accounts where I can charge and they bill me later. Grocery, hardware, lumber yard, gas station.... Nice to just sign and pay later on your name - to a local business. Used to have many more merchants, time and closings have reduced them. Sadly.

 

HL

 

 

Late '90's? The Chinese restaurant we go to still has one sitting on the counter right next to their cheap credit card reader that always has trouble dialing up. The take an imprint of my card a couple of times a year! lol

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31OgHypEoEL.jpg

I actually recall a merchant taking an imprint of my card when their machine was down back in late 90's. I could - as the article suggests - have used an invalid card or completely exceeded my limit. They simply said we will run it later. Wow. No such thing anymore to be sure.

 

E.T.A: I live in a small rural town where I personally have merchant charge accounts where I can charge and they bill me later. Grocery, hardware, lumber yard, gas station.... Nice to just sign and pay later on your name - to a local business. Used to have many more merchants, time and closings have reduced them. Sadly.

 

HL

 

 

Late '90's? The Chinese restaurant we go to still has one sitting on the counter right next to their cheap credit card reader that always has trouble dialing up. The take an imprint of my card a couple of times a year! lol

 

Heck, I work merchandise sales for a local non-profit on their tours sometimes. When their swipe machine went down one weekend last year, they had forgotten to pack the imprinter. I was left filling out charge slips by hand for 2 days.

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