The life of a modern person cannot be imagined without a bank card. And the appearance and popularity of such cards was predicted by the American science fiction writer Edward Bellamy. In his utopian novel A Look Back, which was published back in 1888, the writer told a story where the protagonist fell into a lethargic sleep at the end of the 19th century, and woke up in 2000. According to the predictions of the science fiction writer, in the society of that time, cards will be widely used to pay for goods and services.
The first bank to issue the card was the humble Long Island Bank. It is interesting that at the present time it no longer exists, as it has long been absorbed by competitors. The bank cards were issued in 1951, and soon the innovation became widespread in other banks.
By the way, the invention of such payment cards does not belong to banks. Earlier, the Diners Club company issued cards that were used to pay for services in restaurants, hotels and travel agencies. They were called tourism and entertainment cards.
Despite the fact that our cards are issued by many banks, they all have the same size - length 85.6 mm, width 54 mm. The thickness of the plastic is from 0.76 to 1 mm. But in order to break such a card, it is enough to spend only 10 calories. The cost of making a card does not exceed one dollar.
Most bank cards have a 16-digit number. Already by the first of them, you can determine the payment system. Number 5 - MasterCard, 4 - Visa. The next 5 digits are the code of the bank that issued the card. And the last 9 are needed to identify the cardholder. This algorithm was developed back in the fifties of the last century by Hans Peter Lohn, an employee of IBM.
Most often, banks issue two types of cards: debit and credit. Simply put, the client keeps his own funds on debit cards, and the bank's money (loans) on credit cards. US resident Walter Kavanagh from California became the owner of a record number of credit cards. He had a whopping 1, 397 cards, for a total of $ 2, 000, 000. He could not pay off all the loans in his entire life.
Bank cards have a specific expiration date. Most often it is three years. This is due to the fact that the magnetic stripe is erased during use. Therefore, the cards have to be changed regularly.
The first bank cards were made from cardboard. The issue of plastic cards was established by American Express in 1959. By the way, American Express currently issues the most expensive of all plastic cards. A Centurion card can be purchased for $ 7, 500, provided that the client's account amount is at least 250 thousand.
For the annual service of the card, you will have to pay another 2, 500 dollars. The average annual income of holders of such cards is $ 1, 300, 000.
The first American Express office in our country was opened in 1958. Soon the first bank cards appeared in the USSR. Naturally, they were not available to the overwhelming majority of the citizens of the USSR. They were used only in organizations controlled by Intourist.
In 1986, Vneshtorgbank began issuing plastic cards supported by the Eurocard system. The very first copy was presented to the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee - Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev.