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With the decline of paper slips, some credit cards are no longer embossed and in fact the card number is no longer in the front.The concept of using a card for purchases was described in 1887 by Edward Bellamy in his utopian novel Looking Backward.These charge coins were usually given to customers who had charge accounts in department stores, hotels, and so on.A charge coin usually had the charge account number along with the merchant's name and logo.This sometimes led to a case of mistaken identity, either accidentally or intentionally, by acting on behalf of the charge account owner or out of malice to defraud both the charge account owner and the merchant.Beginning in the 1930s, merchants started to move from charge coins to the newer Charga-Plate. It was a 2½" × 1¼" rectangle of sheet metal related to Addressograph and military dog tag systems.A credit card is a payment card issued to users (cardholders) to enable the cardholder to pay a merchant for goods and services based on the cardholder's promise to the card issuer to pay them for the amounts so paid plus the other agreed charges.The card issuer (usually a bank) creates a revolving account and grants a line of credit to the cardholder, from which the cardholder can borrow money for payment to a merchant or as a cash advance.
Charge coins and other similar items were used from the late 19th century to the 1930s.
When an authorized user made a purchase, a clerk retrieved the plate from the store's files and then processed the purchase.
Charga-Plates speeded back-office bookkeeping and reduced copying errors that were done manually in paper ledgers in each store.
In other words, credit cards combine payment services with extensions of credit.
Complex fee structures in the credit card industry may limit customers' ability to comparison shop, helping to ensure that the industry is not price-competitive and helping to maximize industry profits.
They came in various shapes and sizes; with materials made out of celluloid (an early type of plastic), copper, aluminum, steel, and other types of whitish metals.