A credit card is a type of payment card issued by a bank or another financial institution that provides the holder with different financial services. It consists of a plastic card of standard size that shows the name of the holder, his signature, a number, expiration date, a magnetic stripe and a microchip. Unlike other bank cards, the amount is deducted from the bank account after the purchase is made.The transaction involves three parties: the card-issuer, or the institution that issues the card and receives a commission on each payment, the merchant, or the business adhering to the circuit, and the cardholder, who commits to return to the issuer the amount as indicated the contract. The use of credit cards is beneficial both for the customer, who can make purchases quickly and without the use of cash, and for the supplier, who is not subjected to the risk of a payment by check. In addition to to make payments, the credit card can be used to withdraw cash by entering a secret code. The first credit card was introduced in 1950 in the US by the Diners Club to buy products and services related tourism, food and entertainment. This card allowed members to pay for the purchased services even after two months. In 1951 the Franklin National Bank of New York became the first bank to implement this system with the introduction of its "charge-it-card".
The boom of credit cards happened over the coming years: the competitors are mainly the Bankamericard of Bank of America and the MasterCharge, founded by four banks from California. Since the 70's the industry of credit cards began spreading in the international market: the most popular systems become VISA and Mastercard. In 1974, the International Bankcard Corporation (IBANCO) was founded to manage and support a worldwide program of bank cards. In 1979, the credit cards were equipped with the magnetic stripe, which increases the speed and security of identification. In order to improve the security of payments, the credit card industry is nowadays moving towards the application of the fingerprint-recognition technology to credit cards.