A selection of credit and bank cards, along with a green British Telecom phone card, 1986. (Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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Credit cards always get a work out this time of year. Not to worry you will soon be getting new ones.

Credit cards are making a change. Instead of the black strip across the back of your card you will soon be issued new cards that will have an embedded chip.

America is moving to the European method called “EMV – Europay, MasterCard and Visa” technology to process your credit and debit cards.

This European method has been in use many years and has proven to greatly reduce credit fraud and theft.

Here are some other fun facts about credit cards.

Fun Facts About Credit Cards

  • MasterCard and VISA are comprised of a network of banking and financial institutions. American Express is its own company and Discover is a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley.
  • VISA stands for Visa International Service Association and was originally BankAmericard from Bank of America. It was renamed VISA in 1976.
  • The first credit card showed up in 1946 and was called, “Charge-It.” John Briggs who was a banker at Flatbush National Bank in New York invented it. The bill had to be paid at the end of each month so it was technically a charge card.
  • Diners Club Cards were the first credit card accepted at multiple locations in the 1950s. It was only accepted by 14 New York restaurants and was issued to only 200 people. By the end of its first year 20,000 people were using it.
  • In 2014 Bank of America accidently addressed a letter to a political feminist Lisa McIntire. It was addressed to “Lisa is a slut McIntire.” I guess credit card companies know more about us and our shopping than I thought.
  • The first general credit cards were paper, not plastic, and had a $300 limit.
  • All credit card numbers are evenly divisible by 10 in order to be a valid card number. This is due to the Luhn Algorithm that is a checksum on a number.
  • Your local gas pump will use $50 as a benchmark for your card being accepted.
  • You will receive about six credit card offers a month if you are an average American household.

Some Final Thoughts

Credit cards can be fun but misusing them is not. A poor credit rating can affect how much interest you pay for a home loan, car or life insurance, and other lifestyle choices.

Keep credit card balances low and save some for emergencies only. Rein in impulse buying as much as you can.

If you are shopping stay within your budget and follow your list. Always pay more than the minimum when paying your credit card bill and pay them off in full each month if you can. Interest can be very expensive on high balances over long periods of time.

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