When was the term "credit card" first used in common parlance?
Edward Bellamy in his utopian novel Looking Backward mentions the use of a credit card by the citizens of the United States in the year 2000. His 19th century protagonist wakes up after a Rip Van Winkle-ian 113-year-long nap to find Americans using what is actually a publically funded debit card. Bellamy's book was published in… 1887!
The history of commerce based on credit has a longer history than you might think. It's a history of change, sometimes drastic. While some countries are still more cash-oriented than others, the West has generally adopted a model of short term debt allowing easy access to spendable capital.
Before the late 19th century, we lugged around pieces of paper, scrip, coins, or even gold dust to exchange for goods and services. Sometimes we paid in kind- a couple of chickens for a tooth extraction or a loaf of bread for a belt buckle. In other far flung places folks assigned commercial value to special stones or seashells.