The History of Credit Cards

Many consider credit cards and their use as a recent trend that took place during the late 20th century, but the truth is that credit cards have been around longer than most people think.

Unless you have been living under a rock or amidst the Amazon rainforest for the past hundred years without any access to modern civilization, we all know what credit cards are used for. A credit card is method of selling and buying goods without having to deal with cash. You can use credit cards anywhere today from shopping transactions to doing business online. So, now the question comes to this: Who invented these ever so popular credit cards and how long have they been in use?

According to researchers, credit cards have been around since the 1920's in the United States when individual firms such as oil companies and hotel chains began issuing them to customers. However, some say that credit card use began as far back as the 1890's in Europe. Researchers also say that credit cards back in those days were not made of plastic but most probably from metal coins, metal plates, celluloid, metal, fiber or paper.

In 1946, John Biggins of the Flatbush National Bank of Brooklyn in New York invented the first bank credit card. Biggins invented the "Charge-it" program between bank customers and local merchants where merchants deposited sales slips in the bank after which the bank billed the customer.

In 1950, Frank McNamara invented the Diners Club credit card, which was intended to pay restaurant bills. A customer would eat at a restaurant that accepted the Diners Club credit cards and would later repay the club. In 1958, American Express issued their first credit card and the Bank of America issued Visa later in 1958. By the early 1960's, companies offered credit cards to traveling salesman and promoted them as time saving device and a few years down the road, credit cards became a huge sensation.

Contrary to popular belief, credit cards can be helpful tools if managed properly, and when carefully analyzed for the best rates and terms.  Find out more.

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Identity theft comes in many forms.

A person\92s identity can be 'borrowed' for the purpose of creating fictional credit cards or a person\92s entire identity can be usurped to the point where they can have difficulty proving that they really are who they claim to be.

Up to 18% of identity theft victims take as long as four years to realize that their identity has been stolen.

There are many ways to protect your personal identity and many steps you can take to prevent your identity from being stolen:

*Never give out unnecessary personal information
*Never provide bank details or social security numbers over the Internet
*Always remain aware of who is standing behind you when you type in your personal credit codes at ATM machines and at supermarket checkout swipe machines.