It is hard to imagine a modern world without the humble credit card. From online purchases to VISA payWave, credit cards do much for us that we would be quick to take for granted these days; but in their ease of accessibility, it’s easy to forget how far they’ve come.
Here are 10 interesting facts about the credit card, and how you can use it.
#1 – Credit cards were originally designed to be very similar to the modern ‘loyalty’ card, only to be used at certain stores. In 1950, ‘The Diner’s Club’ card was first to offer credit at multiple businesses, eligible for use at 27 restaurants in New York City.
#2 – The creator of the first credit card may not have appreciated their full potential. Frank McNamara sold his share in Diners Club in 1952 for a meagre $200,000 – about $1.6 million with inflation in today’s money. By the mid-1960s, Diners Club had 1.3 million cardholders and was accepted worldwide.
#3 – The VISA (which stands for Visa International Service Association) logo colours of blue and gold symbolise the sky and the hills of California, where the Bank of America was founded.
#4 – The first example of EMV cards being used was in France as early as 1989, however as it changed the functionality of both the card and the EFTPOS terminal, major banks were not able to rollout the changes worldwide until 2009-2013. EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard® and Visa®, the original developers of this technology which uses embedded microprocessor chips to store and protect cardholder data.
#5 – The first cardless transaction occurred as early as 1997. Mobil petrol company used a system called ‘Speedpass’ to allow a quick and contactless payment option at their petrol stations.
#6 – As of 2013, there were enough credit cards in circulation to span the earth over 3.5 times. The 1.6 billion cards in global circulation, placed side-by-side, would span 139,982 kilometres!
#7 – There are 16,699,272 credit cards in Australia as of January 2017.
#8 – Physical credit cards have universal sizing, as governed by the ISO 7810 international standard for credit cards, so you can use the one card anywhere in the world.
#9 – The first two digits on your credit card identification number identify the type of industry that issued the card. For example: If your card starts with 1 or 2, it was issued by an airline. 3 is for travel and entertainment – such as American Express and Diners Club. 4 and 5 is for banks, with 4 being for Visa, and 5 for Mastercard. 6 is for merchandising, 7 is for petrol cards, 8 is for telecommunication companies and 9 is used for national assignments.
#10 – There are nearly 10,000 credit card transactions made around the world every second.
What other random and interesting facts do you know?
If you’re interested in getting a credit card or changing providers, check out the Virgin Money Credit Card range to see if they suit your needs.