Compare credit cards


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Compare credit cards

  1. 1. ==== ====To Compare Credit Card Offers and Find the Card Thats Right For You, please ====Credit - and by association the credit card - has become a cornerstone of the American way of life.Each American household is estimated to have among them at least 10 credit cards, not countingcharge cards or house cards, and carries an average of $13,000 in credit card debt. This ishowever not a recent phenomenon.It was only inevitable that Americans would invent the credit card. Americans have always beencomfortable about using credit. The Europeans who started colonizing America in the 1600s camefrom countries that had put aside old prejudices about borrowing and lending, and the newattitudes toward credit were transplanted on North American soil.Americans have also always needed credit: borrowing to buy land, to establish a business, totravel west in pursuit of valuable animal furs or in search of precious metals. Others went into debtin order to get to America in the first place -- as the colonies indentured servants did -- orstumbled into debt, and were released by royal decree to join English general James Oglethorpein establishing the colony of Georgia.By 1800 the United States was an independent nation, with debt being a way of life for many of itscitizens. New York City pawnbrokers gave out loans against 149,000 separate pieces of collateralin 1828 -- versus a population of only around 200,000. In rural areas, people bought horses,carriages, plows, seeds, clocks and household furniture on credit. Many promised to pay in full atharvest time; others relied on open-book credit.Open-book credit was used to purchase inexpensive necessities of life such as food and clothing.A shopkeeper allowed customers to take home the goods they needed, and to pay what theycould afford to, paying in part but not all of their balance each month -- much like many credit cardowners do today. Yet very few fell into drowning debt. Both credit card debt and open-book creditare classified as revolving credit.Early 19th century merchants also offered a non-revolving type of credit, the installment plan.These plans were limited to well-to-do customers who purchased expensive items like a piano or acarpet. By the turn of the century, installment buying was no longer limited to the rich, and evenworking class families could purchase "discretionary" goods on installment. It got so thatinstallment buying became associated with the needy. A further refinement on installment planscame early in the 20th century with the introduction of the department store house card or thecharge card.The charge card was first offered, like installment plans had originally been, to buyers of luxurygoods. Up market stores provided the house card to their prized customers, which naturally madethem very happy. The house card was convenient: they didnt have to carry large amounts of cash
  2. 2. or undergo the identification hassle if they paid by check. The customer merely presented thehouse card to a clerk for recording of the sale, and received a bill once a month for thirty daysworth of purchases. The customer settled the bill in full each month. The store charged nothing forthe service, but gained customer loyalty. This charge card made it easy for the store to keep trackof sales, but, the biggest advantage was that the charge card increased sales per customer.The history of credit took a big turn with a new development: growing automobile sales.Autos were necessary but expensive to buy as a single purchase. Everyone needed the auto, andeveryone was forced to buy cars with credit. Installment buying for automobiles gave respectabilityto buying on credit.The other significance of automobiles on credit was that they allowed people to go long distancesin a short time, to places where they were total strangers. And what if the car broke down? Thatwas common with the early autos. Drivers could wind up far from home, in need of costly repairs,and without enough cash to pay for them.To solve that problem, oil companies came out with their own type of credit card. This credit cardcould be used to buy oil, gas, and mechanical service. Unlike the department store charge card orhouse card, the oil company credit card could be used everywhere around the country.Thus, by the 1920s the essentials of the modern credit card were at hand:oOil companies showed the charge cards could be used nationwideoAutomobile buying needs showed buying on time was respectableoAmericans had felt comfortable with credit for centuries.It took another thirty years before the credit card as we know it was invented. Three men finallyaccomplished this over lunch in a New York City restaurant in 1949.They were convinced that there was money to be made in consumer credit, and tried to find a wayto tap it. The charge card or house card boosted sales and customer loyalty, but without interest,the charge accounts by themselves did not generate revenue. Installment sales did produceinterest, but that was meant to cover the sellers costs, and not to earn income.Suppose, the three wondered, that a third party inserted itself between buyers and sellers.Suppose this third party promised the sellers many customers, those who would not have gone tothem otherwise. Suppose the same party offered affluent people with good credit records adiverse choice of establishments (not just one department store or a chain of gas stations) wherethey could charge what they bought, no questions asked. Wouldnt these well-heeled spenders bemore inclined to patronize those establishments where they had credit? Wouldnt businessowners, seeing their sales increase and their profits soar, be willing to return a small percentage tothe third party that helped provide them with the new customer base? Wouldnt those smallpercentages add up to a small fortune?They sounded out the restaurant owner, asking how much credit card business that went his way
  3. 3. would be worth. The owner replied, "Seven percent." And, Diners Club was in business.The early Diners Club credit card looked like miniature books. The owners name was on the frontof the credit card booklet; inside were the names of establishments that had agreed to accept thecredit card. Owners didnt pay any interest or annual fees, but they paid off their entire credit cardbill every month.By 1951, Diners Club had gone international and shown its first credit card related profit. Fouryears later, the familiar plastic credit card replaced the original paper credit card. In 1950, DinersClub had begun charging an annual $3 fee and had a selection of 300 businesses for over 35,000credit card holders. By the mid-1960s, restaurants, hotels, airlines, retail shops and the like werehappy to accept the Diners Club credit card. The founders dream of a universal credit card, usedfor various purchases all over the world, was being realized.Diners Club had its imitators. In 1958, American Express issued its own credit card and the HiltonHotel chain introduced Carte Blanch. All three were known as travel and entertainment creditcards, distinguishing them from another type of credit card, the bankcard.Seeing Diners Clubs success, banks entered the credit card market during the early 1950s, andby 1955 over one hundred US banks offered credit cards to their customers. They were slowlymaking money, but they had no national credit card distribution because the law restrictedinterstate banking. In 1958, the largest US credit card operation belonged to Bank of America, butits BankAmericard could be used only in California.To expand the newly fledged credit cards geographical usefulness, Bank of America pioneeredthe national interchange that would enable all banks all over the country to offer BankAmericard.This credit card association later metamorphosed into Visa.This move solved the credit card distribution problem. It also prompted large banks in the east toform a rival national credit card network, Interbank Card Association which became MasterCharge, and later, MasterCard. Despite initial resistance from department stores, and other housecard and charge card issuers, the two credit card associations eventually signed them up in the1980s. The credit card industry had come of age.Today, it is a rare business that does not display the Visa and MasterCard logos, along with thoseof the other credit card Provides Expert opinions and reviews to help you Compare and Apply for aCredit Card - Compare Credit Card Offers with - Unraveling the best inPersonal and Business Credit Cards [].Article Source:
  4. 4. ====To Compare Credit Card Offers and Find the Card Thats Right For You, please ====