Illustrated introduction to Michelangelo, £9.99
Width: 85.000 mm
Height: 54.000 mm
Gift of HSBC Holdings plc
CM recent acquisition
Coins and Medals
Marine Midland Bank credit card
United States of America, AD 1990s
The power of plastic
Credit cards were first introduced in the United States in the 1920s, and in Britain in the 1960s. Today they are a worldwide phenomenon, with Visa, Mastercard and others operating vast global payment systems. Marketing the cards has become so competitive that some banks provide a range of designs. The Marine Midland Bank in the United States offered customers a choice of views of their local area: this specimen Mastercard shows the skyline of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
The convenient size of credit cards has now become standard for different types of plastic card used in payments, such as cheque guarantee cards, cash cards and 'phone cards. Magnetic stripes or microchips embedded in the card contain information about the account holder or the value of the card.