Money Trivia Quiz

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7. Charging ahead

The Charga-Plate, a product of the Charga-Plate Group of New York, was promoted from about 1935 into the 1950s as a way of helping consumers with their money. What did the Charga-Plate allow one to do?

A) Divide a shared restaurant, beverage, or entertainment bill
B) Keep one’s coins and keys germ-free
C) Run a tab at a department store
D) Validate bank transactions without visiting the bank

Your answer — B) Keep one’s coins and keys germ-free — was incorrect.

A precursor of credit cards, the Charga-plate was an embossed metal card, often kept in a leather pouch. From the perspective of merchants, its purpose was to minimize book-keeping. It was followed by the Diner’s Club International charge card, which began in 1950 with 200 members, and just 27 restaurants that accepted it as payment. In 1958, American Express launched their international charge card, a little piece of cardboard whose charges had to be paid in full each month. The 1960s saw the arrival of plastic credit cards; magnetic strips were added in the 1970s. In 2015, as this quiz goes to press, smart-phone electronic card programs seem to be about to make credit cards obsolete.

Click “Question 8” below to continue the quiz.

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