Infographic: What's the History of Consumer Credit? Or How Did We Go From $0 to $12.4 Trillion in Debts?

Sep 04, 2017
Credit Scores, Credit Cards, Credit Reports

For those history buffs out there, I stumbled across the exhaustive infographic from Visual Capitalist (see below) that takes us all the way back to 3500 BC for the birth of consumer credit. 

Questions for students:

  • What was the purpose behind the first consumer loans? Why do you think this occupation needs access to credit?
  • What was the level of the first maximum interest rates? How does that compare with interest rates on credit cards today? Why do you think there were higher interest rates on grain vs. silver?
  • Where did the earliest forms of credit reporting take place? 
  • What consumer product drove the development of the consumer credit market in the early 1900s? 
  • What financial product in the 1950s drove the need for a better system to understand the creditworthiness of customers? 
  • What year was the credit score introduced and what were the two most important criteria used to calculate it?
  • Beyond lenders, who else is looking at consumer credit reports today? 
Looking for an engaging activity that teaches students the impact of credit scores on their lives? Check out this popular NGPF Activity, Calculate: Impact of Credit Score on Loans
Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist