A Quick History Of Slow Credit Cards : Planet Money This is the story of how the invention of the 747 and some bad French phone lines led to the creation of the modern credit card.
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A Quick History Of Slow Credit Cards

This is the story of how the invention of the 747 and some bad French phone lines led to the creation of the modern credit card.

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In the mid-'60s, the airline industry had a problem. The 747, the first real jumbo jet, had just been introduced. There were more passengers at the airport than before. More passengers meant longer lines. And that was especially bad because this was the era when customers paid for their tickets right there at the airport — often by credit card.

Back then, paying by credit cards was a whole ordeal. The airlines had to call up the bank manually in order to confirm the card. With lines growing, the airlines needed a faster process. So they called IBM to ask for help, and that's where our story (which also features some French fraudsters and a hippie inventor) begins.

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