Saturday, March 14, 2009

To Your Credit!

The Franklin National Bank, New York, offered the first bank credit card in 1951. Back as early as the '30s, people had "credit" at various department stores and grocery stores in that they charged goods purchased, were given a monthly bill and paid it. Each would-be buyer had to establish a credit rating and an account with each store. I remember my mother had an account at a grocery store that delivered; in fact, grocery stores did deliver back then because all the Daddies had taken the (only) car to work.

Also in the '30s, oil companies offered "courtesy cards" to be used at their stations (and only theirs) across the country. In 1950 a man by the name of Francis Xavier McNamara founded Diners Club which was the first multi-purpose credit card used.

You could say the idea really took off - in 1990, Americans charged a total of $480 billion (billion) said to be the equivalent of $1 million every minute. (The math seems a little shaky to me, but ...) The typical American carries nine credit cards and owers over $2,000. (1990)

In 1988 Master Card was the first issued in The People's Republic of China. Consumer Reports wrote that 80 per cent of US purchases are done on credit.

Who knew? tlhe magnetic strip on credit cards - first track; name, expiration date, card type, PIN and credit limit. Second track has your account number, start date and "discretionary data.' The third track is for ATM use.

But this was the coolest. To open a locked door, use an old credit card. Slide the card between the door and the latch and the bevel should slide right back. If, however, the bevel faces the other way, cut the plastic into an "L" shape, slide it in and pull it back toward yourself. I know that as responsible adults, none of you would ever even consider breaking and entering unless, of course, it was an emergency. Ahem.

No comments: