Little bits of plastic

You could put these on the till in your shop to show that you accepted the daringly modern devices known as credit cards.


The UK’s first credit card was issued by Barclays in June 1966.

Over the past 50 years and more, the UK has taken to them. We spend more than £2 billion every single day on plastic cards in the UK. That’s 126 purchases on credit cards every second.

Taking a credit-card payment used to be quite a faff. You had the imprinter to manhandle, you had to check against a list of numbers whether the card was stolen, you had to check the signature, and you had to call the credit-card company if the value of the transaction was over a certain amount, to make sure the cardholder has sufficient credit to cover the purchase, and get an authorisation code which you had to write on the little slip.

These days, when all you have to do is wave your card in the general direction of the point-of-sale terminal and electronic verification systems process the purchase in moments, credit cards are so widely accepted that it’s more usual for merchants to put out signs that they don’t take them.


No credit cards here, thank you


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