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A credit card also differs from a cash card, which can be used like currency by the owner of the card.

In 1938, several companies started to accept each other's cards.

In the 1940s, oil companies in the United States used them to sell fuel and other oil based products to a growing number of automobile owners. It was a 2½" × 1¼" rectangle of sheet metal related to Addressograph and military dog tag systems.

These charge coins were usually given to customers who had charge accounts in department stores, hotels, and so on.

A charge coin usually had the charge account number along with the merchant's name and logo.

The charge coin offered a simple and fast way to copy a charge account number to the sales slip, by imprinting the coin onto the sales slip.

This sped the process of copying, previously done by handwriting.

or embossed bank card number complying with the ISO/IEC 7812 numbering standard.

The card number's prefix, called the Bank Identification Number, is the sequence of digits at the beginning of the number that determine the bank to which a credit card number belongs.

This sometimes led to a case of mistaken identity, either accidentally or intentionally, by acting on behalf of the charge account owner or out of malice to defraud both the charge account owner and the merchant.

Beginning in the 1930s, merchants started to move from charge coins to the newer Charga-Plate.

Bellamy used the term credit card eleven times in this novel, although this referred to a card for spending a citizen's dividend from the government, rather than borrowing.