Did someone actually invent credit cards?
The credit card is rooted in the idea of allowing consumers to
buy on time, which took hold in the 1920s. By the late 1940s,
some department stores and gasoline companies had issued
courtesy cards to their customers, granting them credit in
advance of a purchase. Then, in 1950, businessman Francis
Xavier McNamara was having lunch and discovered he had left
his cash at home.
He was so embarrassed that he invented the Diners Club, which
issued a card good for meals, lodging and other travel
expenses, the prototype for all future credit cards. We owe
him a debt of thanks, which he will get after we first pay off
Visa and American Express.
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