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Credit Card Memories


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When I was young credit cards were new. I remember watching my Mom buy something - they had this printed folio of almost 200 pages filled with nothing but credit card numbers in numerical order. This was the bad list, and the clerk would take your card and scan down the list and make sure you were not on it. If not, you were approved and the purchase was processed using a machine like the one pictured above. My recollection is that the bad list was updated weekly. 

 

After that, they started with the phone calls. Every single time you made a purchase, the clerk would get on the phone, talk to someone at a call center, read off your credit card number, and then get an approval code that they would write on the slip that went through a machine like the one pictured above. Unlike the bad list, this was in real time, but it sure was a lot of phone calling and added a lot of time to the checkout process. 

 

All this was back when a lot of places did not accept credit cards.

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6 hours ago, racer7949 said:

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When I was young credit cards were new. I remember watching my Mom buy something - they had this printed folio of almost 200 pages filled with nothing but credit card numbers in numerical order. This was the bad list, and the clerk would take your card and scan down the list and make sure you were not on it. If not, you were approved and the purchase was processed using a machine like the one pictured above. My recollection is that the bad list was updated weekly. 

 

After that, they started with the phone calls. Every single time you made a purchase, the clerk would get on the phone, talk to someone at a call center, read off your credit card number, and then get an approval code that they would write on the slip that went through a machine like the one pictured above. Unlike the bad list, this was in real time, but it sure was a lot of phone calling and added a lot of time to the checkout process. 

 

All this was back when a lot of places did not accept credit cards.

Same thing with bad checks before ChexSystems

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The book was more than 200 pages...and it was flyspeck print.  Woe be unto the employee that ran a card and it bounced back. 

 

Even with the book, there were still times where the code would come up to call...we KNEW the card was being declined but had to politely tell the customer that the systems were down and it needed to be manually cleared.  There were also some store cards which had codes to show whether it was an authorized user (such as the wife on husband's account).

 

While working for Macy's, our employee ID number was actually the majority of our account number...many a night I took advantage of the discounts and walked to the deli at the other end of the third floor in our store and had them make a huge sandwich...15% off WAS 15% off...and who doesn't like a dinner of roast beef in a huge roll?

 

Now, back to the machine... *chunk chunk* "sign here please...would you like your carbons?"

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In high school, I worked at Montgomery Wards during the holidays.  I was a wiz at spieling out the advantages of one crock pot over another ...

 

Credit purchases were approved by typing the card number into the "Credifyer".   When no one was watching, I became obsessed with typing in random digits to see if I could get a fantasy credit purchase approved.  (Surprised I never got hauled up to "the office" ...)

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I have one of those somewhere in my house. I bought it at a garage sale for some unknown reason.

 

There was a time where you had to request a replacement card, because your current card was worn down flat, from over-use.

Edited by Burgerwars
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As a millennial, I never experienced any of this stuff firsthand. My first memories of this were in the late 90s. Most people I knew were using cash. It wasn't until about 2000-ish that credit cards really took off with most of my friends and family. Back then, a big fuss was made about the designs of the card (also personal checks LOL). I don't think Visa check cards (as they were called back then) really took off until 2003. Does anyone remember those Discover keychains they created back in the day? I also feel like tap to pay came and went for a couple of years back then, then it didn't really re-emerge until 2015 or so.

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