The credit card began in the late 1800s, as more and more people searched for a payment method that did not involve cash. It all started with American hotels, which offered repeat customers a form of “delayed payment”. Instead, these customers were given cards with the customer’s customer number. Instead of paying for the room at once, customers identified themselves with the card, and then paid the entire debt at a later date. This solution is seen as the precursor to today’s credit card. After a while, hotel chains began accepting other chains’ customer cards, creating alliances between the chains.
The first credit card
The first regular credit card was called Financing Club and was introduced to the market in 1950. With that card, customers were able to show the card at the time of purchase and pay an invoice at the end of the month, together with a service charge . After one year, Financing Club had a full 42,000 members. Shortly thereafter, the well-known American Express and Mastercard cards followed, as well as American Credit Card and the credit card as a widely accepted payment method was a fact.
The credit card comes to Europe
Credit cards were a common part of American commerce during the 1950s, but it took until the 1960s before they were introduced in Europe. In fact, it was a Swedish bank that launched the Eurocard card, which was later taken over by Mastercard. After that, American Express, Mastercard, also began to enter into agreements with European restaurants, hotels and retail chains.
The credit card becomes technological
Credit cards have been developed over the years to become safer, safer and more practical. The well-known magnetic strip was introduced in 1980, which allowed the card to be used both nationally and internationally where it is accepted, as they enabled a digital transfer of the transaction.
After that, both Mastercard and Visa were equipped with a chip. Unlike the magnetic strip, the chip is protected from reading and is insensitive to magnetism. Today, many cards also have NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, which allows you to “flip” the card at the card reader for an extra fast payment.
Credit card future
If you are to believe scientists, experts and developers, the way we pay for things will change drastically in the coming decade. Both Visa and Mastercard are experimenting with applications in virtual reality and objects that are constantly connected to the Internet. The concept means that you depart from fixed payment points (as payment terminals) and can pay anywhere you are. For example, you buy tickets directly in your connected car on the way to the cinema, instead of buying them on site.
Researchers are also working on developing biometric technologies. Today, you can pay via the fingerprint reader on your mobile phone, and facial recognition is predicted to soon replace the pin code. In China, for example, you can already pay today in many restaurants and shops with only the face.
The credit cards that we recognize today, as a plastic card, thus have an uncertain future, as we move into an increasingly connected and wireless world.