chapter  20
22 Pages

Understanding Consumer Psychology to Avoid Abuse of Credit Cards

ByDilip Soman, Amar Cheema, Eugene Y. Chan

On February 8, 1949, Frank McNamara dined with his wife and colleagues at Major’s Cabin Grill in New York City. When it was time to pay the bill, he realized that he had forgotten his wallet. His wife was able to rescue him from his predicament, but on that fateful winter’s day, McNamara had come up with an inspiration to avoid further embarrassment. One year later, McNamara went back to Major’s Cabin Grill and presented Diners Club, the world’s ! rst credit card (Diners Club, 2008). # e idea for Diners Club was simple: Cardholders would be able to present the card to merchants as an alternative to cash, merchants would charge the card company for the expenses, and cardholders would then pay back the card company shortly a" erward. # is paved the way for further credit cards to come, namely, American Express in 1958, MasterCard in 1966, and Visa in 1970. As of 2006, there were more than 173 million credit cardholders in the United States alone, with more than half of the U.S. population owning at least two credit cards (Th e Nilson Report, 2009). Worldwide, credit card usage was at $1.24 trillion in 2000 and grew to $1.95 trillion in 2006.