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10 Brand Names Gone, But Not Forgotten

Diners Club Card
If you were a somebody in the '60s and '70s, you probably flashed a Diners Club card when picking up the check.

You may not see too many folks paying with the card any more, but it holds an important place in history for creating the massive credit card industry we have today. For many of our older readers, it was likely the first charge card they ever had.

The origins of the card began when a man named Frank McNamara had dinner in a New York restaurant but left his cash in another suit. The embarrassing situation gave him the idea for a "charge card" that could be used for payment. In 1950, Diners Club International launched the first such card of its kind, with members required to pay off the balance upon getting their monthly statement.

Over time, American Express (AXP) horned in on its market and there was additional competition from a new breed of "revolving credit" cards offered by the likes of Visa (V) and Master Card (MA).

Those feeling nostalgic for their first charge card can take some solace in the fact that Diners Club, though rarely seen, still exists, owned by Discover Financial Services (DFS), which bought Diners Club International from Citi (C) for $165 million in 2008.

Its current website, perhaps trying to rekindle its cachet, describes Diner's Club as "a globally recognized brand serving the payment needs of select and affluent consumers, offering access to more than 400 airports lounges worldwide, and providing corporations and small-business owners with a complete array of expense management solutions."

It even has its own online gift shop, if you are inclined to brag about being "select" and "affluent."

Thus far, we haven't seen a similar reissue of the Players' Club Gold Card, once marketed with machismo by the late Telly Savalas.

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