Business: A War of Cards and Checks

Bringing more—and cheaper—services for charge-it customers

Already 590 million of them fatten Americans' wallets and purses, and the easy, pay-later access to goods and services that credit cards offer extends to such exotica as Nevada divorces, surgical work and, in some areas, bail money. Now the ever inventive credit card companies are poised for a new phase of expansion. Growing twice as fast as in recent years, the amount of purchases billed on cards so far in 1978 is up 40%. Americans spend $16 billion a year on cards, and the total is expected...

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