The history of BankAmericard began in 1958, when Bank of America introduced the first multi-purpose credit card. The new card, known as BankAmericard, changed the way credit cards were used by allowing cardholders to make purchases at multiple retailers. Before then, credit cards were only issued by specific retailers or for a particular purpose, such as dining. BankAmericard was also the first card to offer revolving credit. This allowed customers to pay down their balances in monthly installments instead of having to pay off the entire balance every month.
The BankAmericard idea quickly caught on with other financial institutions. By 1966, Bank of America began licensing its BankAmericard to banks nationwide. This became the first nationally licensed credit card program.
In 1970, Bank of America joined a group of BankAmericard licensee banks to form National BankAmericard, Inc. Its purpose was to better administer the BankAmericard program across the U.S. The new network adopted the name Visa in 1976 and eventually spun off from Bank of America. Visa is now the country’s largest credit card network.
Bank of America currently issues a credit card called the BankAmericard credit card. It was launched in 2017 on the Mastercard network. This card is frequently confused with the Bank of America Cash Rewards and Travel Rewards credit cards, both of which used to have “BankAmericard” in their names, too. Bank of America dropped the BankAmericard name from its Travel and Cash Rewards cards in August 2017.
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