The American people was already familiar with using credit for purchases, having had personal loans and retail credit accounts, when credit cards were first offered in 1950. However, the first contemporary charge card, the Diners Club card, made shopping even more convenient by allowing users to use the card at a number of restaurants and pay the remaining amount at the end of the month. A cashless method of shopping was introduced.
The majority of Americans had adopted the idea of paying later for purchases by the end of the 1950s. The first general-purpose credit card that could be used anywhere credit cards were accepted was the BankAmericard, introduced by Bank of America in California in 1958. It also brought in a crucial component of contemporary credit cards: unlike Diners Club cards, users could carry over a balance into the next month as long as they paid the accrued interest. As more states granted licenses for the BankAmericard, which was rebranded as Visa in 1970, the practice had grown widespread by 1966. These are five amazing historical facts regarding credit cards.
Before 1974, women were not allowed to own credit cards.
Even in the middle of the 1970s, women had to endure an embarrassing ordeal in order to apply for a credit card. Cards could only be obtained by married women in their husbands’ names; unmarried women required a male relative to co-sign. A woman could be denied credit even if she was able to make payments with her only source of income, which would seriously harm her chances of getting credit. The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment was violated when the Supreme Court declared in 1971 that giving men greater financial power than women based only on their sex was unconstitutional, marking a significant step toward gender equality. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which prohibited credit discrimination on the basis of race, gender, or religion, was enacted in 1974 as a result of the case.