Market Overview

This Day In Market History: Diners Club Issues First Credit Card

This Day In Market History: Diners Club Issues First Credit Card

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened?

On this day 69 years ago, Diners Club issued its first credit cards.

Where The Market Was

The Dow finished the day at 217.61. The S&P 500 traded at 18.18. Today, the Dow is trading at 25,279 and the S&P 500 is trading at 2,813.

What Else Was Going On In The World?

In 1950, North Korea’s invasion of South Korea marked the beginning of the Korean War. The first “Peanuts” comic strip was published by featuring classic character Charlie Brown. The average price of a new house was $8,450.

The Launch Of Travel And Entertainment Credit Cards

The Diners Club credit card launch was relatively modest. The company began by offering card to just 200 people, most of which were friends and family of employees. The first card was accepted in just 14 restaurants around New York.

The idea behind the card came during a night when founder Frank McNamara left his wallet in another suit when dining with clients and his wife was forced to pick up the tab.

Diners Club has 20,000 members by the end of 1950 and 42,000 members by the end of 1951.

Competitors like American Express Company (NYSE: AXP) soon caught on to the power of the travel and entertainment credit card concept and launched their own cards. McNamara sold his stake in the company for $200,000 in 1952.

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) acquired Diners Club International for $165 million in 2008.

Related Links:

Moody's: Leveraged Loan Market Creating Risks For US Banks

How Much Damage Is Debt Doing To America's Value?

Photo credit: Hitomi, Wikimedia

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