Your Credit Card Has A Past You Probably Didn’t Know About!

By | January 25, 2024

What have your Credit Card’s ancestors been up to? No idea? Join the club. But before that already expanding club gets wider, we thought we’d take it upon ourselves to break down history while sharing a few fun facts that we might have missed about our little plastic buddies!

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There’s probably nothing new we can tell you about the Credit Card. It’s common knowledge now days to be aware of the popular ones or the ones with the stand-out features. But what we don’t often do is deep dive into the history of these things, making the cooler facts and such go forever unnoticed! Today, we’re aiming at remedying that, so we’re all left with a new-found respect for our spend-friends and who knows, maybe it’ll just inspire us to go find the right Credit Card to fit our finances! 

The Fun Part: Lesser-Known Facts Revealed! 

1. Origins in the Diner’s Club: The first Credit Card was introduced by Diner’s Club in 1950. Initially, it was a cardboard card, and it could only be used at select restaurants.

2. First Plastic Credit Card: While Diner’s Club paved the way, it was American Express that issued the first plastic Credit Card in 1959, changing the game for the industry.

3. Magnetic Stripes: The magnetic stripe on Credit Cards, introduced in the 1970s, was initially created for the convenience of airline companies, allowing them to automate ticketing.

4. Expiration Dates: Credit Cards have expiration dates to ensure they are regularly updated with the latest security features and technology.

5. Credit Cards in Space: Astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle in the 1990s used a special Credit Card to make purchases while in space. The card had Velcro on the back to stick to surfaces in the absence of gravity.

6. Credit Card Numbers Are Not Random: Credit Card numbers follow a specific pattern. The first digit represents the major industry identifier, the next few digits identify the issuer, and the remaining digits uniquely identify the account

Additional reading: Cashless Chronicles: How Credit Cards Simplified Our Lives!

7. Platinum Card Misconception: Contrary to popular belief, a platinum Credit Card does not necessarily offer higher credit limits than gold or silver cards. The “platinum” designation often refers more to additional perks and benefits.

8. Contactless Payments: The introduction of contactless payments revolutionised the way we pay, making transactions faster and more convenient.

9. First Online Purchase: The first item ever purchased online using a Credit Card was a Sting CD. The transaction took place in 1994.

10. World’s First ATM Transaction: The world’s first ATM (Automated Teller Machine) was installed in 1967 in London. The first person to use it withdrew £10 using his Barclaycard.

Additional reading: Credit Card Chronicles: A Comedy of Errors and How to Avoid the Sequel! 

The Logical Part: What Lay Behind The Idea 

1. The Birth of Plastic Money 

Picture this: It’s the mid-20th century, and a group of innovative minds are brainstorming a solution to the cumbersome process of making purchases without carrying loads of cash. Enter the Credit Card, a small piece of plastic that would transform the way we handle transactions forever. 

The first Credit Card, introduced by Diners Club in 1950, was a charge card designed for use at restaurants and entertainment venues. It allowed customers to charge their meals and settle the bill at the end of the month. This novel concept laid the groundwork for the Credit Cards we know today, revolutionising the way we spend and manage our finances.

2. Convenience Redefined 

The logic here was simple: Convenience equalled efficiency. With a Credit Card in your wallet, you’d have the power to make purchases anytime, anywhere, without the hassle of handling physical currency. It was to be like having a mini financial wizard in your pocket, ready to conjure up solutions for your purchasing needs. The aim was to streamline transactions, making purchases a breeze whether you’re shopping, or grabbing your favourite cup of coffee.

 3. Building Credit, Building Dreams

Starting the circulation of Credit Cards wasn’t just about making transactions easier; it was a strategic move to build credit history thereby making lending and borrowing smoother with lesser repayment problems in the future. Your Credit Score therefore would work like a financial report card, showing that a positive credit history opens doors to opportunities you might not have even considered.
The logic here was all about financial empowerment. A Credit Card wasn’t just meant for spending; it was meant to be tool for shaping your financial future, turning dreams into reality. 

Additional reading: 8 Smart Strategies for Building a Strong Financial Foundation: The Power of Savings 

4. Rewards Galore: The Cool Factor 

Let’s talk about the cool factor – the delightful cherry on top of the Credit Card cake. Many Credit Cards now offer rewards programs that can turn your everyday spending into a treasure trove of perks. 

The logic was simple: Why not be rewarded for the purchases you were going to make anyway? Whether it’s earning points towards a dream vacation or getting cashback on your monthly expenses, Credit Card rewards aimed at adding the exciting element to your financial journey. It was to feel like getting a high-five from your Credit Card every time you make a purchase! 

 5. Emergency Preparedness: Tackling the Inevitable 

Life is unpredictable, and emergencies can strike when we least expect them. Here’s where the logic of owning a Credit Card was to shine brightly. Imagine your car broke down, or if you had to face an unexpected medical expense – having a Credit Card on hand could prove to be a financial lifeline. 

Credit Cards were designed to provide a safety net for unforeseen circumstances. They were to offer a convenient and immediate solution when you need to cover an unexpected expense. 

6. Budgeting Mastery: Logical Financial Management 

Contrary to the misconceptions they have today, Credit Cards were made to be powerful tools for budgeting and financial tracking. By leveraging the budgeting features of your Credit Card, you were to gain a clearer understanding of where your money was going. Setting spending limits and tracking your expenses were to encourage informed financial decisions. The logic here was all about financial mastery – using your Credit Card not as a ticket to overspending but as a tool for intentional and informed financial management. 

7. Final Thoughts: A Tool of Empowerment 

In conclusion, the logic, and cool facts behind owning a Credit Card were to be as diverse as the reasons people were using them for. From the convenience of streamlined transactions and the empowerment of building credit to the security blanket of fraud protection, Credit Cards were made to evolve into versatile tools that go beyond simple spending. 

So today, whether you’re a seasoned Credit Card user or you are considering getting your first one, remember that your Credit Card is more than just a piece of plastic – it’s a tool of empowerment that can propel you towards your financial goals. And if you wish to explore all the cool ones out there, just click below to find which one suits you best. P.S. Remember to swipe wisely and let your Credit Card be a catalyst for the financial adventures that lie ahead!

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