The History of Credit Cards

Published on 13 July 2012 by Raffick Marday

The History of Credit Cards

Some of the history of how credit-cards came about.

So what is the history or the credit card?.

According to encyclopaedia Britannica, the use of credit cards originated in the United States during the 1920s. When individual companies, such as hotel chains and oil companies, began issuing them to customers when customers made purchases at those businesses. This use of credit cards rincreased significantly after World War II.

The first universal credit card one that could be used at a variety of stores and businesses was introduced in 1950 by Diners Club Inc. With this system, the credit-card company charged cardholders an annual fee and billed them on a monthly or yearly basis.

Then there was another 8 years later by the American Express Company established in 1958 which became the major universal card and its worldwide catch phase "Don't leave home without it!" .

Later came the bank credit-card system. Under this plan, the bank credits the account of the merchant as sales slips are received this ensured that merchants were paid quickly and assembles charges to be billed to the cardholder at the end of the billing period. The cardholder, in turn, pays the bank either the entire balance or in monthly installment's with interest (sometimes called carrying charges ).

The first national bank plan was BankAmericard , which was started on a statewide basis in 1959 by the Bank of America in California. This system was licensed in other states in 1966, and was renamed the worldwide recognised brand name Visa in 1976.

Other major bank cards followed, including MasterCard , formerly Master Charge. In order to offer expanding services, such as meals and lodging, many smaller banks that earlier offered credit cards on a local or regional basis formed relationships with large national or international banks.

Where can credit cards be used?

Depending on the type or brand of the credit card depends where it can be accepted, the MasterCard and the Visa card are accepted worldwide from an estimated of 28 million retail outlets and and average of 1.5 million atms. Some of the other brands such as Visa electron and a Maestro card are still accepted worldwide but at only 8 million retail outlets and about 1 million atms.

New alternatives to credit cards?

If you have been thinking of presenting to near and dear ones with a gift that is different from the usual presents then a visa gift card can really make a difference. These visa gift cards actually allow the recipients to make choices regarding what presents they want and which suits them the most. This is why these gift cards make such ideal presents for birthdays, anniversaries and weddings. The visa gift card acts like a debit card when the cardholder makes his/ her purchases. As there is no name over the card, anyone can use it conveniently as it is accepted by all the leading stores of any area just like the credit cards.

When travelling abroad everybody wants to secure cash. Using travel money card either prepaid visa card or prepaid MasterCard which helps you travel without cash. By using a travel currency card or prepaid visa card you can control spending and also keep an eye on the overall amount you spent. Travel currency cards is a more convenient and safer option than using cash and you only preload what you want to spend.


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