Charge coins and plastic credit cards are the pieces that most collectors desire. But what about credit cards made from paper? Why aren’t collectors interested in them? Is it because no one wants them, or is it because they’re so rare that few collectors know they exist?
Few collectors realize paper credit cards exist. The few who do know recognize how rare they are. Those few collectors also understand how frustrating it would be to specialize in older paper cards. It would take years to build anything that even resembled a nice collection.
Why are paper credit cards rare?
There are two major reasons why older paper credit cards are rare. The first is that most were issued before 1960. Back then, there wasn’t the limited liability, for unauthorized charges, that we enjoy today. This helped keep the demand for credit cards down. Therefore, a small number of cards were issued.
Second, companies that issued paper cards had no intention of them lasting. The cards were meant to be used for a short time period and destroyed. Most cards were torn up and thrown away upon expiration.
Most popular paper credit cards
When it comes to collecting older paper credit cards, don’t concern yourself with conditions. Go ahead and acquire any that you can. They are so difficult to locate that it could take years to find another specimen. Some are so rare that they might be unique!
The most popular paper card today is the 1958 American Express. This is an extremely important card. Any collector who’s striving for a complete set of American Express cards must have one. Anybody forming an American Express type collection needs a paper card. Anyone collecting only the first year of issue cards will need one. And of course, any collector specializing in paper cards will desire one for his collection.
Why is the 1958 paper AmEx credit card so popular?
Let’s look at some clues to determine how rare the 1958 American Express card is. Take into consideration that the company who issued it doesn’t have one in their archives. Since American Express doesn’t have one then it’s safe to assume there aren’t any hoards.
I think you get the idea of how rare older paper credit cards are. But don’t feel bad if you don’t own any. There’s currently an opportunity in forming a collection of temporary paper credit cards that are issued today. A modern temporary card is just as rare as an older paper credit card (I’ve never seen a temporary credit card in any collection!).
Rarity of temporary cards
A temporary card is what’s issued when you’re shopping and don’t have the store’s plastic credit card with you. It’s generally valid for one day. Most shoppers make sure temporary cards are destroyed once they get done shopping. That’s why they’re rare!
How to acquire temporary cards
1. Ask a store for a temporary paper credit card
Here’s one way to get a temporary card. When you’re at a store that you have a credit card for, go to the credit department. Ask the clerk if the store gives temporary credit cards. If the clerk says “yes” then tell him you want one. He’ll give you a temporary paper credit card with your account number written on it.
One nice thing about finding a store that issues temporary cards is that each time you visit the store you can get another one. Sometimes you’ll even receive a bonus. That’s because some companies will contact you after they’ve issued you a temporary card. What they’ll want to know is if they can send you some additional plastic credit cards. Obviously, from their viewpoint, you might need more cards since you’re using a temporary one.
2. Apply for a credit at a store
Another way to acquire a temporary card is when you apply for credit at a store. Often a store can approve your credit while you wait. Upon approval, sometimes a temporary paper card is issued. Ask if the store provides this service before you fill out the application.
3. Look or wait for a store to offer instant credit
A final method for obtaining a temporary card is when a store is offering instant credit. Instant credit is when you show a salesperson your valid major credit card and driver’s license. Then you’re given immediate credit. Sometimes you’ll be issued a temporary card so you can start charging immediately.
As you can see, temporary cards are intended to be used for a short time period. They’re made from paper so that they can be easily destroyed, which most people do.
A free collection of temporary paper credit cards can be formed. It will take some time though, but you will have a rare collection.
The credit card with a home-equity line of credit is a reality. Some bank credit cards have changed their line of credit from an unsecured to a secured debt. The security is your home! This new card is being passed off, on an unsuspecting public, under the guise as a way to beat the new tax law that eliminates the deduction on credit card interest rates. By attaching debt to home-equity the interest would still be deductible.
The truth of the matter is that banks are taking staggering losses with credit card loans. They have to do something to protect themselves before the next economic recession. Their solution is to let the consumer take the risk by putting up his home as collateral.
Stay away from this type of card!
Copyright 1986 by Greg Tunks