Origins of the Credit Cards

By Leni Parrish on September 25, 2010

You are probably one of the people who wanted instant approval credit cards approved or cash-back credit cards to return as much as 5% of their total spending. But have you ever wondered who started credit cards?

Many people should be thanking the inventor or inventors of credit cards. Without them, who knows? Maybe we will be using sticks or coins for credit medium and maybe there won’t be swiping but breaking sticks or inserting coins in slots or other ways we can’t imagine.

Now back to the geniuses behind the credit card. Of course, it first started with those who started “credit”. Back in 3000, credit began in Assyria, Egypt and Babylon. Then in the 14th century, the bill of exchange started to be issued along with debts. The credit “cards” during the early times were metal coins, plates, metal, fiber and paper.

The very first bank credit card was issued by John Biggins, banker of the Flatbush National Bank of Brooklyn in Brooklyn, New York. He developed the “Charge-It” method where merchant will forward the sales slips to the bank and the bank will bill the customers who used the bank credit card.

And to the interesting part, let’s get to know Frank McNamara. Frank McNamara was a banker from New York. After having a business dinner in Major’s Cabin Grill in New York City, he realized he has forgotten his wallet. He called his wife and told her to bring some money over. This made him develop a card that would allow people to eat in restaurants without cash. They just need to present the card to the restaurant, and the restaurant forwards the bill to credit card merchant who pays the bill. The merchant then will charge the customer who ate in the restaurant. Almost, exact connotation to the credit cards. Frank McNamara then established Diners club, a credit card company, whose name is coined based from the incidence in Frank’s dinner embarrassing story in Major’s Cabin Grill. The credit card was usually targeted to travelers who don’t want to bring in a lot of cash in their travels for fear of being robbed. As years go by, the credit cards expanded its limitations, until such time that we have today, it is offered to vast types of people. Now, it has become more of a functional money delayer and is now used for other purposes, such as personal identification.

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