Profile America: Credit Cards

Thursday, April 20 — To borrow from some recent advertising slogans, although many Americans couldn’t imagine leaving home without them, and they’re everywhere they want to be, there was a time when credit cards were rare. They were issued only by individual merchants. But that proprietary limitation ended this month in 1952, when the Franklin National Bank in New York launched a credit card for use by the customers of varied merchants. In this, the bank was following the lead of the Diners Club Card, created in 1950.

Today in the U.S., credit card offers fill the mails. The financial sector, which includes some 96,000 banks, backs these offers through some 1,164 issuing establishments, which generate nearly $82 billion in annual revenue.

You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey here.

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