Secret History of the Credit Card

November 23, 2004 / 56m

Season 2004: Episode 5


The average American family today carries eight 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. FRONTLINE and The New York Times examine how the credit card industry became so pervasive, so lucrative, and so politically powerful. [Explore more stories on the original website for Secret History of the Credit Card.]