According to historian Jonathan Kenoyer, the idea of employing a worthless object to represent banking operations stretches back 5,000 years, when ancient Mesopotamians traded with the Harappan culture using clay tablets. Even if it was still inconvenient, a slab of clay with seals from both civilizations beat the tons of copper each culture would have had to melt down to make the coins of the time.
However, since the dawn of time, the credit card prototype has evolved:
- Credit coins and charge plates were used by merchants in the 1800s to offer credit to local farmers and ranchers until harvest profits were collected.
- 1964: Banker John Biggins introduces the Charg-It card, which is used within a two-block radius of his bank in New York City. In what was known as the “closed-loop system,” a customer’s purchases were relayed to his bank, and merchants were reimbursed afterwards.
- When Frank McNamara misplaced his wallet and couldn’t pay for a business meal in 1950, the Diners Club Card was born. He advocated the creation of a little cardboard card that members could use like a credit card and pay in full each month.
- In 1958, American Express introduced its first cardboard credit card, which was quickly followed by the first plastic credit card in 1959.
Who was the first to use a credit card?
There were just a few items missing before someone could design the current payment card, with people carrying around rectangular metal cards that they could use to make purchases:
Someone had to first come up with a financial instrument that could be utilized to make several charges at different businesses. The Air Travel Card, which allowed travelers in the 1940s and 1950s to purchase tickets on credit from several airlines, was an early version.
Diners Club founders Ralph Schneider and Frank McNamara invented the modern payment card in 1950. This was the first general-purpose charge card, but it required consumers to pay the entire balance on their account each month.
Customers would later be able to carry a balance on their cards, thanks to American Express and others. This was the final piece of innovation needed to establish the financial product we now know as a credit card.
When did individuals start using credit cards to pay for things?
Retail Credit Company (RCC), established in Atlanta, was the first credit agency to collect data on Americans in 1899. They gathered not only credit information, but also political and social preferences, as well as rumors about people’s personal lives, which led to backlash over time. The government refused to enable them to automate this information since some of the facts were dubious.
The 1908 Ford Model T was the country’s first automobile. The car cost $850, which is roughly the equal of $20,000 in today’s money for a car, and was out of reach for many Americans. Because Henry Ford, who founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903, disliked debt, he allowed customers to put their cars on layaway and make weekly payments until the automobile was paid off and they could take it home.
Many consumers, as expected, did not want to wait until their automobile was paid off before driving it home. When General Motors established the General Motors Acceptance Corporation to provide consumers with car loans in 1919, they rose to the top of the heap.
In order to compete, Ford established an auto loan company in 1928, allowing clients to take out installment payments and drive away with their new vehicle.
In 1938, the federal government established the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), the first national network to connect investors, lenders, and mortgage borrowers.
With the passage of the GI Bill of Rights in 1944, mortgage lending jumped from 44% to 60% from 1940 to 1960. American families boosted their home-borrowing from 19 percent of households in 1949 to more than 40% by 1967 as a result of this lending rise.
In 1950, the Diners Club card became the first credit card. The card could be used for travel and entertainment, and the balance had to be paid on a monthly basis.
Franklin National Bank, situated in Long Island, New York, issued the first bank credit card in 1951. Others quickly realized how profitable credit cards could be, and by 1953, there were 60 credit card schemes available in the United States.
Most credit card companies started enabling revolving credit in 1958, which meant that credit cards didn’t have to be paid off in full every month.
Who was the first to introduce credit?
Credit is a concept that has existed for a long time. However, in 1946, a Brooklyn banker named John Biggins established the modern-day credit card model. We weren’t able to receive travel rewards for using their credit cards until the 1980s. You and I were unquestionably born in the correct era!
Who was the first to invent credit card black history?
According to the Diner’s Club, Frank McNamara had the concept for the credit card while eating dinner in a New York City diner in 1949.
McNamara realized he had forgotten his wallet when it was time to pay the bill.
Depending on who you ask, the following happened: According to “The Dollar Code,” McNamara got out of doing the dishes in order to pay for his dinner by signing for it and promising to pay the restaurant back. He had to phone his wife and ask her to deliver some cash, according to NerdWallet.
When did credit cards become widely accepted?
Since IBM’s introduction of magnetic stripe (or “mag-stripe”) authentication to credit cards in the early 1960s, technological advancements have occasionally taken center stage in the cashless payment game.
However, some technology advancements have become industry standards. While the vast majority of credit cards still contain a magnetic stripe from the 1960s, cards with a microchip visible on the front are increasingly the norm. Here’s how credit cards have evolved technologically over time:
- The first smart chip-enabled credit card was created in the 1980s, and it quickly gained popularity across Europe, even making an appearance in the 1995 film “French Kiss.”
- 1996: The standard smart chip specifications, known as EMV chips, were jointly published by Europay, Mastercard, and Visa. Instead of relying on an unencrypted magnetic stripe that is easy to read and duplicate onto a fraudulent card, chip-enabled cards use encrypted communication.
- In 2005, a Samsung NFC smartphone was used to test radio-frequency identification (RFID) for select businesses and retailers in Caen, France.
- Barclay and Orange teamed in January 2010 to launch a contactless payment card. This technology works similarly to EMV smart chips in that it allows you to complete a transaction by tapping your card against a compatible terminal.
- September 2014: Apple Pay is released for the first time, allowing cardholders to store their information on their smartphones and leave their wallets at home.
- September 2015: Google, following Apple’s lead, debuts Android Pay, now known as Google Pay, a contactless phone wallet system.
- In October 2015, the retail payments industry faced a liability shift, requiring retailers to bear the expenses of fraudulent transactions if they choose not to upgrade their terminals to accept the new cards.
- The liability shift for gasoline sellers takes effect in April 2021.
When did credit cards first appear?
Credit is thought to have originated in ancient Mesopotamia at least 5,000 years ago. Inscriptions on clay tablets from that time period provide a record of transactions between Mesopotamian and Harappa merchants, and are among the oldest known examples of a purchase agreement that allows you to buy something now and pay for it later.
Thousands of years later, these old I.O.U.s gave way to the first forms of store cards, which allowed merchants in the Old West to issue products to farmers and ranchers who couldn’t afford to buy the supplies up front. The merchants would issue metal coins or small plates as a receipt for the loan, and the farmers and ranchers would return the merchant as they gathered their crops and sold their livestock.
In the United States, these placeholders for complete payment evolved over time into forms that resemble the cards we know today.
First Store Cards
The Charga-plate bookkeeping method is credited with popularizing the initial incarnation of store cards, known as charge plates. From the 1930s to the 1950s, department stores used these dog-tag style metal plates to issue their own store plates to their consumers.
After founder Frank McNamara was inspired by leaving his wallet at home while out dining, the Diners Club card became the first retail card to achieve widespread use in 1950. He and a partner, Ralph Schneider, created the first Diners Club card, which is usually regarded as the beginning of the modern credit card. Diners Club members may charge their meals to their cards, and the restaurant would send the bill to them. Diners Club would then make payment straight to the restaurant’s bank, charging a nominal fee for the service. Diners Club cardholders would be compelled to pay their bills in full each month.
Diners Club grew to over 10,000 members in its first year, with 28 restaurants and two hotels accepting monthly payments from its affluent clientele.
First Bank Cards
Despite its beginnings as a freight transport company, American Express later moved its attention to its money order and travelers check business, which provided a secure alternative to transporting large amounts of cash. In 1958, American Express introduced its first charge card, which allowed consumers to pay their bills monthly for an annual fee. Merchants who accepted the card were required to pay American Express a percentage of the amount charged, a practice that foreshadowed today’s interchange fees.
Later that year, Bank of America, based in California, took it a step further by issuing a paper BankAmericard to 60,000 customers in Fresno with a pre-approved maximum of $300, and the card was carried out state-wide by 1966. This first attempt proved to be a costly blunder, with delinquency rates exceeding 20% and widespread fraud.
The concept of a revolving credit card with the ability to carry a load from month to month, on the other hand, proved to be a success as America’s increasing middle class embraced this new financial product that gave both convenience and an instant personal loan. Later, in 1976, the BankAmericard was renamed “Visa,” a word that was practically same in nearly every language.
First Interbank Cards
In response to the BankAmericard’s success, a collection of California banks founded the Interbank Card Association (ITC) in 1966 and produced the second most popular credit card, the Interbank card, which was later renamed Master Charge before becoming MasterCard in 1979.
First International Cards
When establishments in the United Kingdom, Cuba, Canada, and Mexico began taking payments from Diners Club cards in 1953, their card was the first internationally accepted charge card, according to Diners Club.
BankAmericard had become so popular by 1970 that the International Bankcard Company (IBANCO) was founded to spread the payment card globally.
What was the beginning of the credit card industry?
No one had been able to successfully construct a revolving credit financial system in which a card issued by a third-party bank was widely accepted by a large number of retailers, as opposed to merchant-issued revolving cards that were accepted by only a few businesses, until 1958. There had been a dozen efforts by little American banks, but none of them had succeeded in staying in business for long. In Fresno, California, Bank of America introduced the BankAmericard in 1958, which would go on to become the first successful, recognizably modern credit card. Consumers did not want to use a card that few businesses would take, and merchants did not want to accept a card that few consumers used, so this card succeeded where others failed by breaking the chicken-and-egg cycle. Bank of America chose Fresno because 45 percent of its population utilized the bank, and the bank was able to persuade retailers to accept the card by delivering a card to 60,000 Fresno residents at once. It was eventually licensed to other banks across the United States and ultimately the world, and all BankAmericard licensees merged in 1976 under the Visa name. When a group of banks formed Master Charge in 1966 to compete with BankAmericard, it gained a huge boost when Citibank merged its own Everything Card, which had been launched in 1967, into Master Charge in 1969.
Early credit cards in the United States, such as the BankAmericard, were mass-produced and delivered to bank customers who were believed to be good credit risks without their knowledge. They were mailed to unemployed individuals, drunks, drug abusers, and compulsive debtors, a practice that Special Assistant to President Johnson Betty Furness compared to “feeding sugar to diabetes.” In banking jargon, these large mailings were known as “drops,” and they were stopped in 1970 due to the financial chaos they produced. However, by the time the law took effect, the population of the United States had been flooded with nearly 100 million credit cards. Only credit card applications were allowed to be distributed in mass mailings after 1970.
Using a credit card to pay at a merchant was substantially more difficult before the computerization of credit card systems in America. When a customer wished to use a credit card, the merchant had to contact their bank, which had to contact the credit card provider, which had to manually look up the customer’s name and credit amount. Under the direction of Dee Hock, the first CEO of Visa, this system was digitized in 1973, allowing transaction times to be reduced to less than one minute. However, until the advent of always-connected payment terminals around the turn of the century, it was customary for a business to accept a charge without validating it over the phone, especially if it was below a threshold value or from a known and trusted customer. Merchants were given books containing lists of stolen card numbers, and they were instructed to check cards against the list before accepting them, as well as validating the signature on the charge slip against the signature on the card. Merchants that failed to follow the required verification procedures were liable for fraudulent charges, but because the procedures were laborious, merchants would frequently skip some or all of them, assuming the risk for minor transactions.
Why was the credit card invented, and who invented it?
Payment systems date back to 1792 B.C. in their most primitive form. The Code of Hammurabi, which was employed in Babylon (now Iraq), defined guidelines for citizens who borrowed money and had to repay it.
More recently, in the 1930s, the use of metal tokens to purchase products from businesses became popular. In the 1940s, special travel cards allowed users to purchase several airplane tickets.
Then there’s the Diners Club craze from the early 1950s, with all the knockoffs it inspired. Instead of the heavier metal tokens, the new Diners Club card was made of cardboard, which was much lighter and easy to carry around. In 1959, American Express was the first to design a plastic card.
The BankAmericard, created by Bank of America in 1958, was a key spin-off of McNamara’s concept. It was the first credit card to use revolving credit, and it had a credit limit of $300. (That’s around $2,800 in today’s money.) Each monthly statement for Diners Club cards has to be paid in full.
The Bank of America, for example, allowed out-of-state banks to issue the card, allowing it to reach a wider audience. After sending over 60,000 reactivation cards to California consumers that year, Bank of America had a huge financial setback, resulting in widespread fraud and credit delinquencies across the state.
Despite this blunder, Bank of America has recovered over time. The BankAmericard eventually evolved into Visa, which was established in 1976.
In the late 1970s, Mastercard was founded as the Interbank Card Association, or ICA, in California.
Because not every merchant or business recognized each card type, card selection eventually became centered on the issuing firm, such as Visa. In the 1970s and 1980s, a new way of thinking emerged.
The Discover card was one of the first cash-back cards, launched in 1986, and offered customers a tiny tax refund on every purchase. This sparked a rush of incentive programs, such as frequent flier miles and low-interest loans.
The Diners Club card is still in use today, though it isn’t as common as it once was. Despite its name, the advantages focus on travel rather than dining and restaurants. It is not available in the United States as of March 2021.
Then, in 2014, Apple released the online wallet (and, by extension, the online credit card).
Who invented the credit card’s magnetic strip on the back?
Forrest Corry Parry (July 4, 1921December 31, 2005) was an IBM engineer who designed the magnetic stripe card, which is used in credit cards and ID badges.
Edward H. Parry and Marguerite C. Parry raised Parry in Cedar City, Utah.
Forrest attended Cedar City’s Branch Agricultural College (BAC), which is now Southern Utah University, before enrolling at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1942.
In June 1945, he received his diploma from the Naval Academy.
When the Korean War broke out in 1950, Parry was a First Lieutenant and Damage Control Officer on the USS Walke.
Parry was given the Bronze Star with Valor after the Walke was hit by a torpedo or floating mine, killing 26 sailors and wounding 40 others.
In 1950, who was the first to introduce a credit card?
When did the credit card first appear? While credit cards appear to have been around for a long time, they did not exist a century ago. When Ralph Schneider and Frank McNamara launched Diners Club and issued its first cards in 1950, they created the first credit-card-like payment method. But this wasn’t a credit card in the traditional sense. It was a charge card, which required the cardholder to pay off the entire balance each month.
Credit cards have evolved over time. It was invented true credit cards with revolving credit lines. After that, magnetic strips and EMV chips were installed. Here’s more information about the credit card’s history.