The Secret History of the Credit Card

by Caleb Reading

This includes an article on 8 things you should know, and the quiz was interesting too. I pay off my bill every month; according to the credit card company, this makes me a “deadbeat.” I also found out that 35 million Americans pay only the minimum payment required each month.

I also learned that the first credit card used widely in the US was called the BankAmericard and was invented by Joseph P. Williams in 1958; it’s name was changed to “Visa” in 1976.

I looked up that inventor and found this interesting quote:

JOSEPH P WILLIAMS has died [November 8th, 2003]. He was the inventor of the first widely-used credit card in America, the BankAmericard. That card first appeared in 1958, and of course, we all know what happened after that.
The funny thing was, when the card first appeared, it was vilified by politicians, clergy and newspaper editorialists — some business about not paying in cash and moving us toward an immoral, credit-driven society.
But despite dozens of incidents of credit card theft and millions of dollars in losses, Bank of America stuck it out and by 1966, the card was being used by banks outside of California, eventually being renamed Visa. Now you know.