1886 and all that

I’m very interested in the history of the card business, because I can’t help but feel that an understanding of how it got to where it is should provide some insight into where it is going next, so I am always on the lookout for old references to non-cash retail payments. In particular, I’m always curious about the first reference to the credit card in literature. The oldest I’ve found so far is in a long-forgotten text from 1886 called “Looking Backward, 2000-1887” by one Edward Bellamy. I picked up a 1947 edition from the Amazon marketplace, which suggests it must have been reprinted a few times. Indeed, the dust jacket claims it to be one of the best selling utopian fantasies of all time.

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