From personalised store credit in the 1800’s to the unrelenting card offers in your mailbox today, credit cards have become an inescapable part of modern life.
This short video by And/Orange shows how they got here:
People born after 1980 may find it hard to believe, but credit cards were not always ubiquitous.
Sure credit has existed for many decades, but not the buy-anything-anywhere-anytime variety familiar to us today.
As far back as the late 1800s, consumers and merchants exchanged goods through the concept of credit, using credit coins and charge plates as currency.
It wasn’t until about half a century ago that plastic payments as we know them today became a way of life.
It wasn’t until the late 1950s that Bank of America introduced the BankAmericard, the first general purpose credit card which was the forerunner of the plastic payments as we know them today.
Today, 80% of U.S. households own multiple cards, and they account for just under $1 trillion of consumer debt.
You may also want to read: Do you know the history of credit cards.