Credit Cards

Using a card for purchases dates back to the late 19th century.

In the 1800s, merchants and businesses began issuing their own proprietary cards, typically made of paper or cardboard, to their regular customers for use at their specific stores.

These early cards, sometimes called "charge plates" or "charge coins," allowed customers to make purchases on credit and settle their accounts later.


Source: Western Union

In 1918, Western Union introduced "Metal Money".

These were metal charge plates issued to select customers.

These plates allowed consumers to make purchases on credit and defer payments to a later date.


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During the 1920s and 1930s, oil companies and hotels started issuing their own proprietary cards to customers.

They could only be used for purchases at the specific issuing company's locations. Creating a closed-loop credit system.


Source: Charge-It

In 1946, John Biggins, a banker in Brooklyn, created the Charg-It card.

This was the first bank-issued credit card.

The Charg-It card functioned as an intermediary between the customer and the merchant, with the bank initially paying the merchant for the purchase and then being repaid by the cardholder at a later date.


Source: Diners Club

In 1949, Frank McNamara and Ralph Schneider introduced the Diners Club card.

The first general-purpose charge card accepted by multiple merchants.

This was groundbreaking because it allowed cardholders to use a single card at various establishments, rather than being limited to a specific store or company.

The Diners Club card required cardholders to pay their bill in full each month, establishing the concept of a charge card and paving the way for future credit card innovations.


Source: America Express

In 1958, American Express released their first credit card, called the "Travel & Entertainment" (T&E) card, which was designed specifically for travel and entertainment expenses.

That same year, Bank of America introduced the BankAmericard, which was the first credit card that allowed cardholders to carry revolving balances from month to month.


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In 1969, IBM engineer Forrest Parry invented the magnetic stripe.

The invention could store cardholder information on the back of credit cards.

Credit card companies quickly adopted this technology. Greatly improving the convenience and security of credit card transactions.


Source: Visa

In 1976, Bank of America's BankAmericard was renamed and spun off into the Visa payment system, which allowed other banks to issue cards under the Visa brand.

In response, a group of competing banks formed the Interbank Card Association, which later became known as MasterCard.

This marked the beginning of the modern credit card industry.

Visa and MasterCard would emerge as the two dominant global payment networks.

1994 — EMV CHIPS

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In 1994, Europay, Mastercard, and Visa collaborated to develop EMV (Europay, Mastercard, and Visa) chip technology for credit cards in Europe.

This technology embedded microchips into credit cards.

This enhanced security features compared to the traditional magnetic stripe.


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In 1995, the first contactless payment card was introduced in South Korea.

This technology allowed customers to make payments by simply tapping their credit card on a reader. No need for swiping or inserting the card into a machine!

2008 — APPLE PAY

Source: Apple & Commercial Bank of Dubai

In 2008, mobile wallets began to emerge as a new form of payment technology, with the introduction of the Apple App Store.

Mobile wallets allow users to store their credit card information on their smartphones and make payments using their devices, without the need for a physical card.

This development marked the beginning of a new era in credit card technology, as mobile payments became increasingly popular and convenient.


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In the present day, credit cards continue to evolve and adapt to changing consumer needs and technological advancements.

Digital wallets, contactless payments, and rewards programs have become increasingly popular. Making credit card transactions more convenient and secure than ever before.

Today, credit cards continue to shape the way we spend and borrow money. Their ongoing evolution reflects the changing needs and preferences of consumers in an increasingly digital world.