Credit Card Trivia

We all know what a credit card is, and many of us have more than one credit card. In fact, many people use a credit card to make the majority of their payments, from bills and necessities to entertainment. And most of us probably have at least a vague idea of how credit card processing works. A credit card processor is the entity responsible for securing payment data. They are also required to ensure that all transactions follow the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) rules.

Here are some interesting facts about credit cards that you might not know:

  • Credit cards are often thought of as a relatively new and modern invention, but the idea of a credit card is older than you might think – the first idea dates back to the early 1800’s. The very first credit cards were called “charge plates”. They were made of metal and engraved with the holder’s account number and contact information.
  • The real beginning of the modern credit card was in 1946, with the issuance of the first “Charg-It” card. However, plastic credit cards are somewhat newer, and were first issued in the 1961 by Diner’s Club.
  • The original Diner’s Club card and the Charg-It card were both made out of paper!  Of course, these credit cards also didn’t have a magnetic stripe, so in the early 1950’s, the swiping motion that we associate with credit cards didn’t exist.
  • According to a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Consumer Credit Card Market Study, there are 160 million credit card users in the US.
  • The same CFPB study indicated that consumers are using their credit cards more than ever before.
  • Other studies have shown that consumers spend 18% more on average when they use a credit card than they do when they use cash. This is believed to be due to the ‘pain of paying’ phenomenon, where a monetary substitute, like a credit card, or a chip at a casino, can help the customer ignore or put aside the idea of paying – ‘the pain of paying’ – for a service or product, and focus more on the actual value they receive.
  • If all the credit cards in the world were laid out side by side, they would circle the earth three and a half  times.

A credit card is more than just plastic money. Used wisely and prudently, it is a miraculous financial tool in today’s world. And while the actual payment process happens in a few short seconds, less tribute is given to the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of credit card processing and its history.

For more information on interesting facts about credit card processing, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to

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