The history of the development of the first online credit authorization system in the US took place in 1972 while I was a Treasurer and Director of a major New England department store.
I saw the need for an improved system that would speed the authorization of sales throughout the Gilchrist chain of stores. Accordingly, I commissioned a local firm to develop a proprietary system to that end. After about a year of development, late nights, weekends, and endless software and hardware design sessions in 1973 Gilchrist Department Store introduced the first and only electronic transaction authorization system in the world. It was the precursor to what we all now take for granted when we make credit card purchases.
The system communicated over telephone lines at 300 BAUD, a creeping pace in today’s environment. However, transactions that previously had taken from 10 to 20 minutes to authorize took mere seconds. The effect on efficiency. customer relations and operating economies was astounding.
As a result of the success, I was asked to become a director of MasterCard of New England and to speak at major bank conferences regarding the success of the system.