How have business credit cards changed over the years?
Businesses in Utah use them all the time. Business credit cards. They’re just little pieces of plastic. And yet it has gone through many evolutions. It might shock you, but you wouldn’t believe how much credit cards have changed over the years. The invention of the credit card goes back to 1947. And yet, if you compare what they had then with what we have now, you would be shocked.
Comparing old business credit card technology with what we have now is like comparing cave dwellers to modern-day humans. These little pieces of plastic have changed enormously from then to now. Let’s take a closer look at how these ubiquitous little plastic cards have changed over the years.
1. They’re accepted almost everywhere.
Could you imagine if most stores or merchants did not take credit cards? You don’t have to think too far back. When credit cards first came out, it was difficult to find merchants who took them. When the first credit cards came out there were very few places to use them. Today, little terminals provide near-total coverage, worldwide. Even as business credit cards came out and other forms of credit cards emerged, it would be a long time before merchants accepted them.
It wasn’t until 1958 that banks began to line up to accept credit cards. And because of that move, many Americans don’t even need to carry cash anymore. Business credit cards, debit cards, and many other forms of plastic payment have become the norm.
2. They have flexible payment terms.
The rule of thumb is that you should pay your full balance if you can. But revolving lines of credit allow businesses and individuals to access money while carrying a balance. If you cannot pay it off all at once, you can always make a partial payment just to keep the account going. It’s nice to have flexibility but consider that interest rates are quite high right now. Credit card balance holders are forced with big interest rates if they don’t pay on their balances. If you can avoid it, try not to carry a balance.
3. Transactions are immediate.
Imagine you’re shopping and you give your credit card to the cashier. Now imagine a scenario where they don’t have a card reader and have to call your bank to make sure you have the money available to make the purchase. By the time they have gotten a customer service rep on the phone, the line is out the door. Thanks to card readers, transactions can now be verified instantly. All you have to do is swipe or tap your card and the purchase is made.
Before point-of-sale systems and instant purchases, using a credit card was a long and drawn-out process. Merchants had to verify every purchase before it was made and record the transaction on paper. They used machines that recorded the credit card info. It wasn’t long before magnetic strips became the norm. This is where the swipe came in. Today we have chips and all you have to do is tap your card on the POS machine and you’re good to go.
4. Card designs have evolved.
Business credit cards used to all have a similar look. Today, they have all kinds of different designs. You can order your credit card with a beach on it or some other picture. If you want a special pattern or picture, you can usually request it custom from your bank. Even the credit card number placement has changed. Issuers are now moving towards putting the numbers on the back of the card. The front of the card is all design now.
5. Rewards programs are the norm.
Businesses and consumers have become used to getting rewards for their spending. From airline miles to material goods, banks and credit card companies give out all sorts of goodies. Still, this is a relatively recent trend. For the first 37 years of the credit card’s existence, there were no special perks for using it. Either you used it or you didn’t and that was that. Today, credit card companies and banks compete with each other to offer even better rewards than the competition. Consumers and businesses can even receive sign-up bonuses and special interest rates.
The fact is credit cards have gone through all sorts of changes throughout the years. Designs are more fashionable and the cards themselves are more useful. And with the rise of payment apps, now your credit card can be your smartphone. There really is no telling where credit cards will end up as we move deeper into the 21st century. If history is any indication, however, our credit cards of the future will be very different from the credit cards of today.
Are you a Utah-based business looking for a business line of credit or business credit card? Get in touch with us and fill out an application. We’re Utah’s community bank!