Carte Blanche Corporation stock certificate 1966 (credit cards)
Uncommon financial piece. Great vignette of a seated classical female figure holding a globe in front of city and rural scenes. Unusual mono-color cert (vignette and border in blue). Issued and not cancelled. Dated 1966.
Carte Blanche began in 1958 when the Hilton Hotels travel & entertainment card was renamed. Hilton sold Carte Blanche to First National City Bank in 1966. Regulatory challenges forced First National City Bank to sell Carte Blanche to Avco in 1968. In 1978, Citicorp (parent company of First National City Bank which was renamed Citibank) reacquired Carte Blanche without regulatory opposition.
The 1960s- and 1970s-era Carte Blanche cards were considered more prestigious worldwide than their competition, the American Express and Diners Club cards, though its small card member base hindered its success. Carte Blanche was the first to implement a "Gold Card" program, as a means to recognize cardholders who were frequent users and paid their bills on time. In 1981, Citicorp acquired the Diners Club card, and by the mid-1990s the Carte Blanche card was being phased out in favor of Diners Club.
Parent company Citigroup (also known as "Citi") was formed in 1998 with the merger of Citicorp and the Travelers Group. Citi issued a premium Diners Club card in 2000, naming it the Diners Club Carte Blanche card. It was an upper-level charge card on par with the American Express Platinum Card. The card carries a US$300 annual fee as of April 2015 and offers an extensive menu of perks. Diners Club requires payment from individual cardholders in full within 30 days; corporate accounts can pay within 60 days without penalty. By 2005, the classic Carte Blanche card had been phased out, and only the Diners Club Carte Blanche card remained.
The origin of the company came from a French phrase. "Carte blanche" (literally white/blank card) is defined complete freedom to act as one wishes or thinks best. From the late 17th century: French, literally ‘blank paper’ (i.e., a blank sheet on which to write whatever one wishes, particularly one's own terms for an agreement).