The history of money: How the way we pay has changed

Digital payments may represent the future of money, but a walk through history shows how Americans have progressed from beads to banks to bitcoins

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Where we are:
68% of consumer transactions are cashless
Source: Federal Reserve, 2015 

3.6 Average number of ways we pay bills each month
Source: Fiserv, 2016 

46% of us have made a payment via smartphone
Source: Pew Charitable Trusts, 2016

How we got here:

1787
The U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to coin money and prohibits the states from doing so.

1790
Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, proposes the first national bank. It lasts for only 20 years.

1800

1850

1863
The U.S. dollar is established as the sole currency under President Abraham Lincoln.

1865
In a precursor to store credit cards, department stores begin using celluloid charge pieces.

1900

1913
Creation of the Federal Reserve, the country’s central banking system.

1934
The $10,000 bill is introduced into circulation. (That amount is equivalent to $180,000 today, when adjusted for inflation.)

1946
The first bank card is issued, allowing bank customers to buy on credit.

1950
Diners Club claims to create the first credit card after its founder forgot his wallet at a business dinner. A year later there are 20,000 cardholders.

1969
The first ATMs appear.

1980s
Credit card companies begin introducing loyalty programs, a precursor to rewards cards.

mid-1990s
Personal check usage peaks, and e-commerce and online payments begin their ascendancy.

2000
80% of U.S. banks offer online banking.

2009
Most large banks offer mobile banking apps. The cryptocurrency Bitcoin is introduced.

2010
Debit cards are the most popular form of payment.

2011
Wallets go digital (Link: What is a digital wallet?: https://bettermoneyhabits.bankofamerica.com/en/personal-banking/what-is-a-digital-wallet), allowing people to use a debit or credit card via their smartphones.

2015
Chip credit cards become the new global standard, providing enhanced security when used at chip-enabled terminals.

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