25 Interesting credit card facts

Credit cards can be a worthwhile investment, but the terms and conditions make them confusing at times. Debunk the myths and learn the facts.

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List of 25 credit card facts

Credit Card Fact #1 – Credit cards were originally similar to modern store cards, offered by individual stores and only for use at those stores. The first card to be used at multiple locations was offered by Diner’s Club in 1950, and could be used for payment in 27 restaurants in New York City.

Credit Card Fact #2 – American Express issued its first credit card in 1958, and its Black Centurion card today has a $2,500 annual fee, and minimum spend requirement of $250,000 a year. That’s not earnings, that’s spending!

Credit Card Fact #3 – Visa began life as BankAmericard, offered by the Bank of America in 1958. It became Visa in 1976.

Credit Card Fact #4 – Visa stands for Visa International Service Association.

Credit Card Fact #5 – The Visa logo colours represent the blue of the sky and the gold of the hills in California where Bank of America was founded.

Credit Card Fact #6 – Mastercard began life as MasterCharge, and was formed by four Californian banks in 1967. It became Mastercard in 1979 and was the first card to use a hologram.

Credit Card Fact #7 – Discover Card was introduced by Sears in 1985. Discover was originally part of Dean Witter Financial Services, until it merged with Morgan Stanley in 1997.

Credit Card Fact #8 – It is against the merchant agreements of Mastercard, Visa, and American Express for a vendor to ask you for your phone number, home address or other personal information. Also, you do not need to present a driver’s licence, nor spend above a certain purchase amount.

Credit Card Fact #9 – A fixed interest rate on a credit card can be changed with only 15 days notice from the credit card provider.

Credit Card Fact #10 – You do not have to sign a document to agree to a cardholder contract. You agree to this when you first use your card.

Credit Card Fact #11 – A pertinent credit card fact is if you have various forms of debt on one card, at different interest rates, payment is applied to the balance with the lower interest rate first.

Credit Card Fact #12 – Credit card companies are all headquartered in US states with a high cap, or no cap, on interest rates.

Credit Card Fact #13 – Every American household receives approximately six credit card offers a month.

Credit Card Fact #14 – Minimum payments are so low because it allows the consumer to carry more debt. A person who can only pay $100 per month can have a credit limit as high as $5,000, if they only have to pay back 2% of that amount each month.

Credit Card Fact #15 – Credit cards are all the same shape and size, as its dimensions are governed by the ISO 7810 standard, an international standard for identification cards.

Credit Card Fact #16 – You can often lower your interest rate with a phone call to your provider, and suggest you might go elsewhere if they don’t play ball.

Credit Card Fact #17 – Credit card numbers conform to the Luhn algorithm, which is a simple checksum function on the number.

Credit Card Fact #18 – There are two types of magnetic strips: high-coercivity and low-coercivity. High-coercivity strips are stronger and more durable.

Credit Card Fact #19 – Higher-coercivity magnetic strips are usually black and low-coercivity strips are dark brown.

Credit Card Fact #20 – A low-coercivity strip card can be scrambled by a weak magnetic force, including a mobile phone.

Credit Card Fact #21 – A potentially useful credit card fact for anyone under 18 is they cannot be forced to pay back charges on a credit card they own. Because until they reach 18, they are not allowed to enter into a legally-binding contract.

Credit Card Fact #22 – Visa and Mastercard operate zero-liability policies with respect to fraudulent use.

Credit Card Fact #23 – A common clause in credit card terms and conditions is that the cardholder waives their right to sue the credit card company.

Credit Card Fact #24 – Credit card companies earned $90.1B in interest in 2006.

Credit Card Fact #25 – Credit card companies earned $55.2B in fees in 2006.

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