Vision - To be the global market leader and the premier provider of payment systems for affluent individuals, frequent business travelers and companies for whom they travel.
In the beginning there was cash1. In 1949 there was Frank McNamara, short of cash, after having just finished a meal at Major's Cabin Grill in New York, New York. This event, a slightly embarrassing situation Frank was able to finesse his way out of, would be the seed that grew into the multi-billion dollar charge card industry, with Diners Club leading the way. In February, 1950 Frank would return to Major's Cabin Grill with his partner Ralph Schneider. Upon being presented the bill, he presented in return a small cardboard card with Diners Club Card printed on one side and signed for his meal. This meal is still known, at least in the credit card industry, as the First Supper.
The First Supper and the first personal charge card were not enough for Diners Club. Since then they have racked up a string of Firsts in the industry. They were the first with an international charge card, in 1952 their card was accepted in France, Canada and Cuba. In 1955 Western Airlines became the first airline to accept Diners Club, within 10 years every major domestic airline had followed suit. In 1975 they introduced the first corporate charge card. In 1984 they introduced the first relationship-marketing program with Club Rewards®2. The list goes on3.
Today, Diners Club is accepted in more than 200 countries by nearly 9 million merchants. Their card can be used in more than 900,000 ATMs and is issued in 68 local currencies. In 2000, the year of their 50th anniversary, their cards were used to charge more than $35 billion worth of purchases.
Some Facts and Trivia
- Diners Club is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois and helmed by M.V. Rajamannar (Raja) who serves as President and CEO of Diners Club North America.
- Financially backed by Citigroup after being acquired by Citicorp in 1981.
- Inspired the 1962 Hollywood release, The Man From The Diner's Club starring Danny Kaye.
- The Ideal Toy Corporation followed shortly thereafter with a Diners Club board game.
- Call Diners Club and a human being will answer the phone. (After reading a press release dated 2002 I gave them a call see if it was still true. It was. Refreshing.)
1 Okay, yeah, cash was preceded by beads, big rocks, barter...
2 They won 7 straight Freddie Awards for this program.
3 Really? That interested? Direct yourself to www.dinersclubnewsroom.com and follow the links. There is a timeline of events which includes first to offer confirmed hotel reservations and first charge card in Russia.