American Express started their own credit program in 1958.
Like the original Diners Club Card,
it was first a charge card intended to fund travel and entertainment expenses and bills were due in full at the end of each month.
In 1959, American Express introduced the first card made of plastic.
The issuing bank then launched their corporate credit card program for commercial customers in 1966.
In 1958 Bank of America introduced the first true general-purpose credit card,
BankAmericard, that was most similar to the credit cards we use today.
It was initially made of paper, but soon became plastic.
It had a $300 spending limit and cardholders could carry balances month-to-month, for a fee.
It could be accepted by any merchants willing to take it.
Until this point, banking and financial services in the U.S. were largely conducted locally, not nationally.
To better compete with the growing credit card industry,
in 1966 Bank of America began licensing its cards to be used by other banks, expanding its reach around the nation.
To strengthen the network, by 1970 Bank of America joined a group of banks
to form National BankAmericard, Inc. which was later renamed Visa in 1976.