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Old 04-22-2013, 10:26 AM
 
318 posts, read 508,965 times
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I remember in the 1970s my father was the talk of the town because he got an AMERICAN EXPRESS Charge Card. He told us only the elite got an American Express and no one else we knew had a mass market credit card. A few people had a Sears Charge Card but you had to pay off the bill every month and the credit limits were very small.

Credit Cards like Visa and MasterCard that were given to pretty much everyone was more common in the 1980s and on. And then then you had to have a great job and credit to get one and the credit limits were really small.

I think credit cards for nearly everyone is one of the things in recent American history that has had an incredible impact on individuals and society.

What do you remember about credit cards back in the 1950s to 70s?
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:50 AM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
18,678 posts, read 10,999,684 times
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I had never heard of such a thing until I got this funny looking BankAmericard in the mail. That would have been 1969........about.
Before then, I don't recall ever seeing such a thing used.

Here's what has happened; this is credit card debt in the USA.
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Old 04-22-2013, 04:03 PM
 
Location: County of Slight Imperturbation
536 posts, read 475,562 times
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I think my parents had 1 card for emergencies back in the '70's. Not the requisite wallet full you see nowadays.
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:32 PM
 
318 posts, read 508,965 times
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Back in the good old days if you were broke, you were broke. Now if you are broke you just take a cash advance on your credit card or sign one of those Convenience Checks and worry about paying the bill later.
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 28,447,509 times
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The absence of credit card back in the 50s wasn't due to greater financial virtue. It was because there was no way to authorize transactions using computers and telecommunications. If the technology had existed to allow it, they'd have had them.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:49 PM
 
Location: Iowa
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Even into the 80's and 90's, under normal circumstances you could not get a credit card right out of high school even if you had a steady job. I remember many people including myself having to wait until they were almost 30 years old to get a credit card. I was getting ticked off about my credit rejection, even with my lucrative pizza delivery job, 5 running cars, and good reference and payment history from my landlord. I wanted to buy a house.

The pathway to credit for us youngsters that did not/could not get mom or dad to cosign, was furniture rental stores that reported to credit bureau, and opening up a checking account and keeping it in good standing for several years, then finally getting the green light from your bank for a small loan. I borrowed 2K from them and put it in a savings account with that same bank, and never spent the money. Within a few months after making regular payments, I tested the waters and soon had a Best Buy and Sears credit cards. I then paid back my bank loan from my savings account within 6 months of taking the loan. I was then able to get an house loan thru my bank, via Fanny Mae, at age 28 with my lucrative pizza delivery job and frugal mofford way of life.

I'm curious how it worked in the early days of buying on time.....in the 1920's. How did they determine if you were a good risk ? Did they send a guy out to talk to your boss, and verify every detail of your application? That would have involved a lot of manpower and investigation on the part of the lender, without any computers, to find out what they needed to know to give you a fridge, car or whatever. I bet the interest and fees were high to pay for all that investigative legwork. How did they track you down if you took off with the car, when people didn't even have a social security number yet ?
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:47 PM
 
Location: County of Slight Imperturbation
536 posts, read 475,562 times
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Another pathway to credit was small local jewelry stores. Buy your girlfriend a promise ring, and there ya go.
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Old 04-22-2013, 11:35 PM
 
Location: Iowa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kafkaesque View Post
Another pathway to credit was small local jewelry stores. Buy your girlfriend a promise ring, and there ya go.
That could lead to disaster, dudes need to keep busy on Friday and Saturday nights delivering pizza, instead of spending it all on girls, bars and entertainment (cable TV was the better value) All you young guys out there need to stay focused. When you're 40 or so, you want your house paid off, and be living in a state of semi retirement......delivering pizza part time for the rest of your life, instead of full time. The road is your friend, I drove to Florida 3 times, California twice, (with one fool stop in Vegas), one trip to Canada in 1985, in a '69 Chevy.

Don't go to college, don't get married, don't buy her a ring, don't get her pregnant, get a secret vasectomy instead, then see if she turns up pregnant. Live long and prosper.
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Old 04-22-2013, 11:38 PM
 
Location: southern california
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u r correct. credit cards played a huge role in our social history. that is why the enormous divorce movement did not really pick up speed until early 80's. bek now your debting became his debt when u filed for divorce. per anti discrimination act now his signature and name on the account was no longer necessary to assign him 100% responsibility for her debts. this had a draconian affect on marriage in community property states. and in fact resulted in the loss of civil liberties for married bread winners. later when women came into their own in the workplace sometimes she was the primary breadwinner and was consequently the victim in the divorce as to involuntary debt.
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Old 04-23-2013, 12:02 AM
 
10,017 posts, read 17,201,085 times
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IMO, universal charge cards were part of the reason for price inflation---they could get away with it!

Say you went to the movies intending to spend $1, and now its $1.10. !0% increase! Well, if you were paying cash, perhaps you didn't have the extra dime, so went home. but with a Master charge, well, ok, just put it on the card! slowly, prices went up, and people were able to absorb it. My mother refused to get a KMart card, she said she'd nickel and dime herself to death, oh, how right she was!
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