Looking for Dewey and Leslie Kearney’s 1-800BadCredit.com? You’re in the right place, but they’ve unfortunately decided to discontinue the website and its services as it was. Don’t worry, though – if you’re looking for help on credit repair, debt settlement, or credit advice and counseling, we have some places you might want to check out before you leave, if you’d like.
Rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau, Sky Blue has been helping people repair their credit for close to three decades. They strictly comply with the Credit Repair Organizations Act; Offer a 90-day, 100% Money Back guarantee; and provide a discount for couples. Check out their website to see the details of how they work to help you, and check out credit repair tips, guides, and articles in their education center section.
Accredited by and rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau, National Credit Fixers have been operating for over 20 years. They make it a point to state that they are “not trying to be the largest credit repair company out there – we are simply striving to be the best”. Check out their website to see their services, the step-by-step walkthrough of how they work to repair your credit, what makes them different, their guarantees, and more.
National Debt Relief is accredited by and rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau, and they maintain an impressive 5-star rating on Trustpilot based on over 2,500 customer reviews. They provide clear and straightforward information on what they can help you with, and they are quite open and transparent with how they work. Check out their website to see their services and use free tools like their debt calculator and their budget planner worksheets.
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What should you know before pulling the trigger on any credit or debt-related service? The Marietta Daily Journal delivers some important tips straight from the BBB.
Need to fix your credit score but feel intimidated by the whole thing? Forbes contributor Nick Clements gives you a few simple things you can do to get started.
Business Insider’s Alex Morrell reports on how one company is betting on helping people with bad credit scores by providing them with access to credit with reasonable rates and transparent terms.
Less than a century ago, it used to be the case that you couldn’t spend money you didn’t have. But thanks to human ingenuity, the ability to acquire various goods and avail of services beyond one’s immediate means and limitations – basically, what cash you have on you – eventually became convenient reality. Today, this is a modern convenience that many of us might find difficult to be without: from paying for apps to being a safety net in cases of emergency, credit cards are a fact of just about everyone’s personal financial life.
What’s interesting, though, is how we went from coin to card – the journey toward the small, plastic, rectangular slate that we keep in our wallets didn’t have the most straightforward start, and had a few more interesting twists and turns that you’d expect (otherwise I’d have really nothing to write about here, now, wouldn’t I?).
So how did we get to the slick, rounded-corner plastic cards that let us pay more for the privilege of spending money we don’t have?
It all started with a journalist and a book.
The idea of using a card for buying stuff was first mentioned in the 1887 novel Looking Backward. Written by journalist Edward Bellamy, it was in this utopian novel that the concept of using “credit” cards was first introduced. In the book, all citizens receive a certain amount of credit, which they can spend using credit cards, though these functioned more as debit cards as we know them today.
Charge coins were used from the late 1800s up until the 1930s. These were given out by businesses to customers with accounts. Made out of materials ranging from celluloid to a variety of metals, charge coins usually had a hole that allowed these to be placed in key rings as one might do so with a key, for convenience.
These coins usually had an account number and a merchant’s name and logo on them, allowing the coins to be imprinted on to sales slips, which was faster and more accurate than manually writing down these details for every transaction.
The coins had one disadvantage, though: because they did not contain the customer’s name, they could be used by just about anyone to defraud the owner of the charge coin and the merchant. It was due to this issue that charge coins eventually fell out of favor and into disuse, eventually making way for the Charga-Plate.
The Charga-Plate was a 2½-inch by 1¼-inch rectangle of sheet metal embossed with a customer’s name, city, and state, developed in the late 1920s and used up until the 1950s. These allowed quick and accurate impressions of an authorized customer’s information on to purchase slips – retaining the charge coin’s original benefits, but improving on its deficiencies.
The concept of using a single card to pay for transactions from different merchants was effectively invented and put into practical use by the airline industry in the 1930’s.
In 1934, American Airlines, working with the Air Transport Association, came up with the Air Travel Card, which identified the issuer of the card and the customer’s account, allowing passengers to “buy now, and pay later”, and later on, to buy tickets and pay using installment plans.
By the 1940s, Air Travel Cards issued by all major U.S. Airlines could be used on 17 different airlines, and by 1948, the Air Travel Card became the first charge card that could be used internationally.
This concept was expanded on in 1950, with the arrival of the Diners’ Club card, considered to be the first general purpose charge card, and was followed by Carte Blanche and American Express.
The first actual credit card issued by a third-party bank that was accepted by a large number of merchants – as opposed to a charge card issued by a merchant and accepted by a small number of other merchants – came with the launch of Bank of America’s BankAmericard in 1958. BoA eventually licensed this to other banks across America, then, the world. In 1976, all BankAmericard licensees came together, and the brand we know today as Visa was born.
Speaking of Visa, in 1966, a group of banks launched Master Charge to compete with BankAmericard. In 1979, shortly following the advent of the Visa brand, Master Charge rebranded to – you guessed it – MasterCard.
The rest, as they say, is credit history (sorry, I just had to).
About the Author: Andre Salvatierra is a freelance writer who loves culture, technology, well-designed things, and great experiences, and he sincerely accepts your scorn for the last line of this article. You can find him on Medium and Twitter.
Article References and Image Credits: “Credit Card”, “Looking Backward”, “Universal Air Travel Plan”, “MasterCard”, Wikipedia, accessed May 2017. Images used under Fair Use provisions.
Full image credits, in order of appearance in the article: (1) Public domain image; (2) “Boston Stores Charge Tokens” by Charles Boston, from the article “Charge Coins Come to Retro Boston”, from the blog “Shopping Days In Retro Boston”. (3) “Maas Chargaplate”, from the article on the Maas Brothers, from the TampaPix.com; (4) “1939 United Air Travel Card”, from the Pinterest board UATP by Patrick Macy (whodatpat); (5) Diners’ Club Card (“Money1”) from the article “The Histo-ry of Plastic Money”, from CashCoFinancial.com; (6) “BankAmericard” from the article “The His-tory of Plastic Money”, from CashCoFinancial.com.