Incredible True Story of the Very First Credit Card
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McNamara founded The Diners Club, the first credit card company, in 1950.
The initial card offered by Diners Club didn’t involve revolving credit, and the dues were to be paid off in full by the end of the month. The credit cards that we see now came much later.
Initially targeted at salespeople, the company started charging a $3 annual fee and also charged the establishments 7 per cent for each transaction. The paper-based cards showed tremendous growth in a year, with 20,000 people using it.
Eventually, the Diners Card became a status symbol and more and more establishments began to trust it. The company printed a list of participating merchants for the help of the members.
Innovative ideas, like associate cards for married women who wanted to shop in the afternoon using their husbands money became popular.
The founder of the card didn’t think this ‘fad’ would last long and sold off his shares in 1952.
With American Express coming in the picture in 1958 and two banks started their personal credit card business at the same time (MasterCard and Visa), the concept of a universal credit card turned into a multi-billion dollar business.
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