It has become an indispensable part of many portfolios and a symbol of the developed capitalist economy, but there was a time when credit cards were a means of payment available to very few.
The author of the blog stories of our history has decided to recall its origin, for which we must go back to 1950, in the place you are all thinking.
New York was actually where the idea of realizing a document that extends credit to its owner. It happened in a restaurant in the capital, very close to the Empire State Building, which the famous businessman and director of Credit Corporation “Hamilton”, Frank Mc Namara, had dinner with two other people, including his lawyer, Ralph Sneider. During the meal the three businessmen debated the liquidity problems faced by some of its customers. The capricious fate was that just when it came time to pay, McNamara had to call his wife to bring him cash, since he had forgotten his wallet.
After the rush, the entrepreneur vowed never to go through something so disgraceful like that, which, however, served to create a new company soon after baptized with the inspiring name of “Diners Club”. This new entity would act as an intermediary between customers and banks, providing a credit card offered at various facilities, for the first-, and adjusting accounts later with the second.
This new tool had on initial success; the first Diners Club cards were given initially to about 200 known U.S. billionaire and accepted by 14 restaurants in the capital. Later that year 1950 and had about 20,000 people. The following year, the company has received a benefit of $ 60,000, from the high fees charged to beneficiaries (7%) and the annual maintenance fee (3 dollars).
But McNamara missed a golden opportunity when in 1952 he sold all his shares in the company, losing confidence in the project, and thinking it was a fad. Big mistake, the tool covering a basic need in times of economic growth and the company grow and profit serguiría. In 1958 also the party would join other famous names: American Express and Bank America, predecessor of the current pervasive and VISA.