Who invented credit cards?

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    Jordan Moore
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    #32914
    Jordan Moore
    Keymaster

    Frank McNamara is often credited as the creator of the first modern credit card back in 1950. 

    Legend has it, he was caught short without any cash while dining out in a New York City restaurant. Without enough cash to pay for his meal, he struck an agreement with the restaurant owner. He was able to sign for his meal, essentially promising to come back and settle his bill later. 

    This handshake agreement not only allowed him to pay for his dinner after the fact but also sparked the idea that evolved into the first Diners Club Card. This innovative concept laid the groundwork for the modern credit system, where a simple signature (and later, a card swipe or chip insert) could guarantee payment to the merchant from the card issuer.

    The Diners Club Card started as a simple cardboard card before upgrading to plastic. Designed mainly for eating out, it let folks sign off on their dinners and clear the payment monthly. This was a game-changer, making it the first credit card accepted at various places.

    The idea took off like a rocket, and soon enough, other companies wanted in on the action. American Express and Bank of America (which would morph into Visa) were quick off the mark, following Diners Club into the fray and broadening credit card use way beyond just dining to include all sorts of shopping and travel. The intro of the magnetic stripe and electronic payments was the cherry on top, speeding up transactions and beefing up security.

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