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Secret History of the Credit Card

The average American family today carries 10 credit cards. Credit card debt and personal bankruptcies are now at an all time high. With no legal limit on the amount of interest or fees that can be charged, credit cards have become the most profitable sector of the American banking industry: more than $30 billion in profits last year alone.

This documentary examines how the credit card industry became so pervasive, so lucrative, and so powerful.

Credit cards are a relatively recent invention. Until the 1980`s, they didn’t play a prominent role in American life.

When this film was produced, 145 million Americans carried credit cards. Of these:

  • 55 million paid in full every month
  • 90 million carried balances
  • 35 million paid the minimum required

Watch the full documentary (56 minutes)

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