On this day in 1963, American Express, one of the world's largest banking houses, opened a credit card service in Britain.
Holders of the cards were able to use them at nearly 3,000 hotels, restaurants, shops and hire-car agencies in this country and at more than 83,000 establishments abroad. The cards could also be used to obtain travel tickets.
Britain had hitherto been slow to embrace credit cards and the move by American Express was seen to be bound to boost the idea of using them.
Previously, American Express card holders had been able to use their cards in this country, but only if they could settle their accounts in dollars.
There was an annual fee of £3 12s, but supplementary cards could be obtained at half price for immediate family members. families could also apply for cards and issue them to members of staff. Customers could use the card for goods on credit, American Express then issued a monthly statement which covered all outstanding charges on the account.
The Bank of England sanctioned the scheme on condition users did not spend more than £75 on any one item purchased abroad.
Credit cards had been available in Britain since 1951 when Donald McCullough launched Finders Services after a trip to the United States. It merged with another company, Credit Card Services, to become Diner's Club in 1962.