This week marks the 50th anniversary of the first credit cards issued to UK consumers.
Using the same computer technology as the Bank of America and operating out of a small office of only 30 staff members, the new payment method was launched from a converted shoe factory in Northampton.
Upon introduction, customers were attracted by benefits such as easier book-keeping method and a reduction in the amount of cash to carry around. The scheme was targeted to those who travelled and spent a lot in restaurants, alongside the everyday shopper.
Aims were to introduce the new payment method to one million UK citizens, looking to bring credit card payments to 30,000 outlets across the country. Within one year, they had reached their goal, and the amount of UK citizens making credit card payments has continued to grow ever since.
Although consumers now often reach for their credit cards when making a large purchase, upon launch the cards could only make payments up to a value of £25. Similarly, at first the maximum credit limit was £100, whilst now the average credit card limit is £4,000. The introduction of credit cards brought a breakthrough for female consumers, allowing them to receive credit without a male guarantor for the first time ever.
In 2014, the number of cardholders in the United Kingdom reached 159 million, with 13.4 billion transactions made to a total of £622 billion spent in 2015.
Does your business need to take credit card payments? Get in touch with one of our friendly advisors and give your customers a different way to pay!