by Jay MacDonaldand Taylor Tompkins creditcards.com
To fully appreciate the modern convenience of the credit card, simply insert your chip card, pause while it processes, and consider what it replaced.
Prior to plastic, money as a means of exchange for goods and services was cumbersome, if not outright dangerous. Beginning as far back as 9000 B.C. with cattle and camels, currency took some truly odd shapes, from cowrie shells, bronze and copper imitation cowrie shells and gold and silver nuggets to Chinese deerskin notes and Native American stringed wampum beads.
From the beginning, credit cards offered significant advantages over all forms of money: They’re pocket size, easily portable, relatively secure and have no intrinsic value in themselves. What’s more, true credit cards buy you time to pay your bill, typically with a modest fee attached.
Here’s a brief look back at the fascinating evolution of the credit card:
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