History of Credit Cards in the United States

About the history of the credit card business in the United States as banks began issuing cards as an alternative payment method.


1887 The term "credit card" was 1st used by Edward Bellamy, a lawyer and author, in his book Looking Backward: 2000-1887. Bellamy foresaw a society in which each citizen was the holder of a yearly credit card, issued by the Government, which paid for all necessary goods and services. The dollar amount on the face of the card equaled each citizen's "share of the annual product of the nation." When a purchase was made, the cost of the item was "pricked" out of tiers of squares on the credit card. There was no need for cash or monthly bills since the transaction was really between the consumer and the Government.

1900 Several hotels issued credit cards to their most prestigious customers.

1914 Department stores and chains of gasoline stations entered the picture.

1947 Railroad and airline companies issued credit cards.

1950 Diners Club introduced a "new" kind of credit card. Instead of directly providing specific goods and services, Diners Club acted as a "middleman" who paid for all charges made in restaurants belonging to Diners Club. The plan soon grew to cover general travel and entertainment expenses.

1951 Today's most popular card, the bank card, was initiated by the Franklin National Bank of Franklin Square, New York.

1958 Bank of America and the Chase Manhattan Bank of New York began issuance of bank credit cards.

You Are Here: Trivia-Library Home » Finance in the U.S.: Credit Card History & Information » History of Credit Cards in the United States
« Why Use Credit Cards?Credit Cards in the United States: Costs to Consumers »
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ - By printing, downloading, or using you agree to our full terms. Review the full terms at the following URL: /disclaimer.htm