Get the candles ready: It's the credit card's 50th birthday since its introduction to the UK by Barclaycard

 
Francesca Washtell
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Fistful Of Credit
The credit card was introduced into the UK on 29 June 1966 (Source: Getty)

A birthday card and a very large bunch of candles are due today for the credit card, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary of being introduced to the UK's wallets by Barclaycard.

On 29 June 1966, Barclaycard launched the first credit card with a six-page business strategy, an investment of £20,000 and 30 employees in Northampton.

Within its first year more than a million customers were signed up, although at the time they could only make purchases of up to £25.

Read more: Here are the most popular credit cards of 2016 - and the rewards they offer

"Back in the sixties, cash was the most popular form of payment and the idea of "paying by plastic" was completely alien to most people," Barclaycard chief executive Amer Sajed said.

"But the introduction of credit cards led to a "democratisation of credit" in the UK and kick-started fifty years of great British shopping creating a material shift in how we pay for goods and services."

Read more: Half of consumers with zero per cent credit card hit by high interest rates

Five decades on, more than 31m consumers own a credit card and monthly spending exceeds £15bn, according to the UK Cards Association.

The original strip technology on the credit card has now been replaced by both the chip and PIN system and contactless technology, which is now used in an estimated one in seven transactions on contactless-enabled credit and debit cards.

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