You’re out of cash. And out of town. Master Charge [1973]


It’s hard to imagine, I suspect, a time when you couldn’t just wave a bit of plastic at Wal-Mart and they’d give you anything in the store.  This 1973 ad for Master Charge is a relic of a by-gone era…

1973 Master Charge

1973 Master Charge

Ad Text:

Relax – You’ve got Master Charge
Vacation? Business trip? Whenever you travel, and you need money, you can get it with your Master Charge card. it’s good for cash at over 14,000 banking offices across the U.S. And, if you like, you can stretch out your payments.

It’s amazing to think that today there are probably 14,000 places in Indiana alone that will take my Visa card.  What a long way we’ve come in almost 40 years.  OK.  Fine.  It’s not all that impressive progress… but it is progress… or IS it….?

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “You’re out of cash. And out of town. Master Charge [1973]

  1. menia

    …and that’s ho everything started.I love all these ads..Well done!!

  2. Hats.

    I think it’s progress. As long as you can wrap your brain around the fact that it is real money, and thereby handle your debt, the ubiquitous easy of being able to pay for anything, anytime, anywhere so easily is a good thing. Keeping cash for the extremely rare occasions when I need actual cash, has become difficult and inconvenient…

    What I find interesting here is that like they’ve done again with cell phones, they gave what is now a huge industry an initial boost when it was new, by selling it on how it can get you out of a jam. Out of town and out of cash. Or for cell phones, car broken down far from help… Seems like if your new product can in any way help people with a real problem, even if that turns out to be only a tiny part of what it’s useful for, that that is a really good way to sell it and get it off the ground. Appeal to fear, when people cannot see the road you built for them,

    • Yeah, personally I don’t really believe the negative image of credit cards. I remember having an argument long ago with someone who seemed to think that credit cards caused debt. I argued, of course, that was silly. Easy access to something doesn’t directly cause you to misuse it. SO I’m with you, cash is a pain.

      You make a good point too about how they’ve gotten us to start using such a thing. Perhaps it’s really more a matter of cost? Cellphones have come down crazily in price. Perhaps credit cards did too in the beginning? I don’t know but it does seem that the masses have to be poked into adopting technology… well, ok, 30 years ago… now we jump up and want to do every new thing that comes along.

  3. Credit card companies just beginning to sink in their claws…

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