AN ECONOMIC EDUCATION NEWSLETTER FROM THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF

AN ECONOMIC EDUCATION NEWSLETTER FROM THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF

8 Pages · 2011 · 1009 KB · English

purchases at Sears; JC Penney cards can be used only offer similar services and convenience as a debit card or credit card and allow online payments. Some pre

AN ECONOMIC EDUCATION NEWSLETTER FROM THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF free download


The evolution to credit cards came naturally. Recall the American West, when pioneers charged items at the country store then paid their bills as they had the money. Now consider the sharecroppers of the past century, whose livelihood depended on the credit provided by landowners. Landowners supplied a “furnish”—supplies and food—for sharecroppers to plant crops and subsist. Sharecroppers then repaid their debt with a percentage of the crops harvested—an ongoing cycle. Stores later defined credit limits and some introduced 90-day credit accounts. Cus - tomers could charge purchases, take the merchandise, then pay the bill over a three- month period without interest. Although initially store-based, such credit accounts evolved to become today’s credit cards. Credit cards represent borrowed money and the agreement that the cardholder may buy on credit now and pay later. If payment isn’t made by a given date, the credit card holder pays interest on the loan. The first widely accepted credit card debuted in 1950—The Diners’ Club. Cardholders of this then-paper card could charge meals with payment due in full monthly. By the mid-1950s, several companies entered the credit card market. And, MasterCard and Visa emerged success - fully. In 1959, Bank of America introduced the first “revolving” charge card called the BankAmericard. Cardholders did not have to pay the bill in full monthly, but could make monthly payments toward the total, with interest applied to remaining balances. 1 As the credit card system grew, computer technology advanced and revolutionized banking. In the mid-1980s, automated teller machines (ATMs) enabled 24-hour access to cash and account information. As consum - ers began to have their paychecks deposited electronically into their bank account and pay their bills electronically, banking busi - ness could be conducted without physically going to a bank

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