The Origin of Rewards Credit Cards

The credit card, the small plastic card issued to holders as a form of payment, has a history dating back to the 1800s. One of the more interesting and beneficial facets of the credit card industry is the concept of a card that rewards you for its use, usually referred to as a rewards card.

The concept of rewards credit cards, as we know the term today, can be traced to the late 1800s, when a company was founded that sold stamps to merchants. These stamps could be earned by making purchases at supermarkets, department stores, gas stations and other popular retailers. These stamps acted as bonuses for consumers, and the breadth of these bonuses were based on how much customers bought.  Customers could redeem these stamps for products from the company’s catalog. These cards were popular from 1930 until the 80s.

By the 1980s, airlines began to jump on the rewards card bandwagon and began offering frequent flyers programs. These cards offered rewards, in the form of airline miles, and have now expanded to include rewards that can be used towards hotel rooms, car rentals, and gasoline expenditures.

The first credit card, to reward the customers that used it, was the AT&T Universal Card, which rewarded customers with cash back points that could be used towards their monthly phone bill.  In 1986, the “cash back” term was introduced to the credit card industry, by Discover Financial Services, a division of Morgan Stanley. This card introduced the concept of giving cash back to the cardholder, at the end of the year, based on how many charges were placed on the card during that year.

Presently, nearly 60 percent of all credit cards used in the United States fall into some type of rewards card category. With so many options, it is normal for a potential cash rewards program credit card user to feel overwhelmed and under-informed. All of them sound like great options, but which one is right for you?

At eCreditCards we have sifted through the massive amount of credit card offers and options and narrowed the list down to the best in each category, including cards from issuers like American Express, Chase, and CitiBank. All the cards on this website are guaranteed to be safe and secure, and no personal information will be taken or used for other purposes, except helping you apply for the cards you like.

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