Your Ad Here


3.2.1. Founding of Diners Club

The first credit card charge was made on February 8, 1949 by Frank McNamara, Ralph Schneider, and Matty Simmons at Major's Cabin Grill, a restaurant adjacent to their offices in the Empire State Building. Frank McNamara was bought out two years later by department store heir Alfred Bloomingdale. Schneider died in the early sixties. Simmons resigned in 1967 to form the publishing company that became the National Lampoon Inc. Bloomingdale resigned from the Diners Club a few years later. During that approximately 20 year period, these four men were the only major participants in the Diners Club operation.

Diners Club created what would later be dubbed the Travel & Entertainment (T&E) card market, which focused on cardholders who were frequent travellers and had a substantial income to pay for other high-value charges. As these customers had no need to pay for purchases over time, these cards required that the entire balance of the bill was paid upon receipt. This type of account is known today as a charge card. Diners Club's monopoly was short-lived, however, as American Express and Carte Blanche (which later partnered with Diners Club) began to compete with Diners Club in the T&E card market. American Express now dominates the "member card" arena, providing thousands of customers with cards that require the monthly balance be paid in full

Diners Club also faced competition from banks who issued revolving credit cards through BankAmericard (later renamed VISA), and Interbank MasterCharge (later renamed MasterCard) towards the end of the 1960s. Diners Club began early on to allow franchises of the Diners Club name, at first in Europe and later throughout the world, for many years eclipsing the BankAmericard or Interbank MasterCharge networks abroad. Amoco gasoline also issued its own co-branded Diners Club cards for a time called, American Torch Club, as well as Sun Oil Company with its version called Sun Diner Club Card.

Diners Club International, the franchisor that holds rights to the Diners Club trademark, was acquired in 1981 by Citibank, a unit of Citigroup, as well as many of the largest franchises worldwide, although a majority of its franchises abroad remain independently owned.



Search Credit Cards