1. The idea of using a card for purchases was first published in 1887 by Edward Bellamy in his utopian novel Looking Backward.
2. Diners Club issued the first credit (charge) card in 1950, and it was honored at about two dozen New York City restaurants.
3. The first widely accepted plastic charge card was issued in 1958 by American Express.
4. American Express rolled out its Platinum Card with an annual fee of $250 in 1984 and today its extremely exclusive black titanium Centurion card carries a $2,500 annual fee and requires the holder to spend $250,000 a year.
5. The first credit card allowing payment over time was the BankAmericard in 1959, renamed Visa in 1977.
6. Formed by a group of U.S. bankers in 1966, the Interbank Card Association began using the name Master Charge in 1969 and renamed it MasterCard in 1979.
7. MasterCard was the first to place a hologram on its cards to deter fraud in 1984 and others soon followed.
8. The Discover Card was introduced by Sears in 1985. Unlike others at the time, it charged no annual fee.
9. Credit cards have a uniform shape and size as their dimensions are governed by the ISO 7810 standard, an international guide for identification cards.
10. The average U.S. citizen has four credit cards, in Canada, the average is two.
11. The credit card delinquency rate in Canada is half what it is in the U.S.
12. There are 72 million credit cards issued in Canada according to creditcardscanada.ca
13. A 2010 U.S. survey found close to 610 million credit cards were issued south of the border.
14. Credit cards account for 5 per cent of the average Canadian’s total household debt.
15. With roughly 65 per cent of Canadians paying their credit card balance in full each month, the interest rate for two-thirds of credit card users is zero.
16. A 2011 survey by The Strategic Counsel, a market research group, found 64 per cent of Canadians pay their balance off in full every month, while just half of American households do.
17. The Canadian Bankers Association reports there are about 71 million Visa and MasterCard cards in circulation in Canada.
18. Next to mortgages, credit cards account for the second highest proportion of consumer debt in Canada.
19. Most Canadians use their credit card as a method of payment, not a means of borrowing.
20. Advertising “No pre-set spending limit” is a bit of a stretch as limits are based on income, spending patterns and credit card history.
21. About 60 per cent of consumers have a rewards credit card.
22. People are likely to spend more money paying with a credit card than with cash.
23. Studies have shown credit cards can increase the consumption of less healthy food.
24. Counting out and handing over cash is more stressful than using a credit card, research suggests.
Source: Canadian and U.S. banking, marketing and debt-counseling surveys and studies