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How Payments Have Evolved Since the Stone Age: Conch Shells to Credit Cards and Beyond

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From conch shells and stones to virtual cards and mobile payments, the payments landscape has been evolving for millennia.

This infographic highlights the important dates in payments history, from the dawn of paper money in 1861 to the introduction of the credit card nearly a century later to the rise of checking and much, much more.

Key dates covered include:
1861: To combat coin hoarding, the US government first created paper currency bills during the Civil War.
1951: The first credit card was produced by American Express
1952: Over 47 million checking accounts exist in the US, with 8 billion checks written.
1969: The first Automated Teller Machine, or ATM opens
1979: 86% of non-cash payments were completed by check, and 33 billion checks were written each year.
1990: Debit cards used in about 300 million transactions
1995: Payments by check peak at 49.5 billion
1997: Coca-Cola introduces precursor to mobile payments
2000: Checks used in 40 billion transactions
2003: Electronic payments surpass checks
2009: Prepaid and Debit Cards used in 37.6 billion transactions
2012: Less than half of American bills paid with cash.
2013: 80% of transactions cashless

Published in: Economy & Finance
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How Payments Have Evolved Since the Stone Age: Conch Shells to Credit Cards and Beyond

  1. 1. WEXINFOGRAPHIC PAYMENTEVOLUTION TIMELINE 1 Phoenix Marketing International's Online Travel Audit: 2 2014 Hall & Partners survey of Virgin Atlantic travelers 3 Euromonitor International's Consumers in the Digital World: Hyperconnectivity and Technology Trends Survey Report 4 BridgeStreet Global Hospitality's The Bleisure Report 2014 5 U.S. Travel Association 6 Accura Media Group's Frequent Business Traveler research report 7 July 2015 GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index TM Global Report - At a Glance 8 GBTA Foundation BTI™ Outlook – United States 2014 Q4 9 GBTA Foundation Travel Manager Study, 2014 1861 The US government first created paper currency bills as a result of coin hoarding during the Civil War2 ONCEUPONATIME Conch shells, ivory, clay, live animals and grain were used as currency before money was made of bills and coins1 1952 47million The overall number of checking accounts in the U.S.—doubled from 19394 8billion The number of checks written4 TechBoost! In the 1950s, magnetic ink character-recognition code (MICR) was invented to streamline check processing, enabling computers to read & process checks4 1951 The first credit card came out and was produced by American Express3 1969 First ATM opens for business14 1979 33BillionThe number of checks written4 86The percent of all non-cash payments made up of checks4 1990 Debit cards were used in about 300 million transactions16 1995 49.5billion The number of check payments made4 After this peak, debit and credit cards and direct, electronic, automatic clearinghouse payments (ACH) became more prevalent4 1997 First mobile payment introduced by Coca Cola, enabling customer to send a text to a vending machine to setup payment and the machine would then vend their product15 First contactless payment introduced by Mobil, enabling customer to pay for gas instantly by waving a contactless payment device clipped onto a key ring over a labeled square at the gas pump15 2000 Checks were used in more than 40 billion transactions4 2003 Electronic payments overtook checks in usage6 TechBoost! A new law enabled payments to be made using electronic images of checks. Now checks are now regularly scanned for MICR information and converted into automated clearinghouse transactions4 2009 Prepaid and debit cards were used in 37.6 billion transactions16 2012 The average American consumer used cash in only 23 of 59 transactions, including purchases and bill payments7 Checks made up 7% of consumer transaction activity7 Lessthanonehalfofone%The amount of consumer transaction activity attributed to text and mobile payments in 20127 2013 80 The percent of consumer spending in the US that was cashless7 2014 22 Percent of mobile phone users who made some kind of mobile payment9 39 Percent of mobile payment users with smartphones made a point-of-sale payment using their mobile phone9 Consumers preferred using a credit card over debit cards, cash, or PayPal for online shopping (48%), online travel sites (43%), department stores (40%), gas station at the pump (39%), and at dine-in restaurants (37%)10 2.6 Americans’average number of credit cards…yet the 29% of Americans who did not own any credit cards was up from 22% in 200811 0 The number of dollars 18% of U.S. online consumers had in their wallets12 52vs.16 The percent of Millennials compared to those 55+ who use their smartphone as a payment device13 2020 By this year… • there will be a 12% decrease in consumers using cash13 • 18% expect to use digital currencies on a weekly basis13 E-13B DEBIT DEBIT PRE-PAID PRE-PAID

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