The 1970s has a poor reputation for economic collapse, labor unrest, racism, embarrassing music, and the list goes on. So was the decade as horrible as it has been made up to be?
We are all tired of the dreaded ‘When I was a child..’ story that our parents repeatedly tell us, and although it is hard to comprehend, they were once young. So much has changed since they were children, and each generation is more distinct than the previous. Let us travel back to the 1970s when the parents of today’s youth grew up. Since then, things have changed dramatically, and fashion, music, and technology have all evolved significantly.
People nowadays refuse to leave their homes without their cell phones, and play at an online casino rather than ones made of brick-and-mortar. An iPhone is a must-have, and Instagram is at the center of their social lives, but none of this existed in the 70s.
VCRs, the first video game, and the Walkman were the most famous inventions of the 1970s which illustrates how far we have come. Today people rely on technology to socialize where they used to spend time with one another face to face. Our reliance on technology has undoubtedly been one of the most significant changes in society since the 1970s.
Many industries have changed since the 1970s, and banking is no different. Use your imagination and picture yourself living back in the year 1970, the stock market is in shambles, it has dropped by about 50% in the last 20 months, and for the first time in nearly a decade few people want to invest in stocks. Weak economic growth leads to increased unemployment, which finally approaches double digits. Despite all of this, banking seemed a more pleasant and straightforward experience than it is today. Let us take a look at how people did their banking in the 70s compared with today’s ever-evolving system.
Debit Cards (70s) - The debit card has been in use since 1966 when it was introduced by the Bank of Delaware. By the 1970s several other banks were experimenting with similar concepts, and as ATMs sprung up across the country in the 1980s and 1990s, debit card usage increased with usage reaching over 300 million transactions in 1990.
Debit Cards (Today) - For many people who don't like to pay on credit, a debit card is their preferred payment method. You can withdraw cash from ATMs, pay with your card at the register, and pay online or over the phone. Some debit cards allow you to make one cashless payment of up to £100, and several cashless payments of up to £300, before a PIN is required. By merely placing your card against a reader, using contactless technology, you make your payment. The contactless symbol on your card, and at vendors, indicates whether you can use this kind of payment for your transaction and should your debit card lack this feature, your bank should be able to assist you.
Credit Cards (70s) - As the use of bank and non-bank credit cards grew in the 1970s, so legislation adapted to resolve consumer complaints within this rapidly expanding business.
Credit Cards (Today) - The way we use credit cards has changed over the years, but their popularity has never waned.
Cheques (70s) - The sort code, account number, and cheque number were all included on the cheque by 1970, and cheques were being made of significantly stronger paper to adapt to automation. Industry standards for paperweight, layout, and typeface were established, and the clearing department of the bank became fully automated, allowing it to process 1,600 cheques per machine every minute.
Cheques (Today) - Although not used as much, people do still use cheques today. The most significant shift in cheque processing since automation, is the introduction of picture capture technology, which allows cheques to be deposited directly into a bank account using a cell phone. If deposited as images before 4pm, these cheques are available by noon the next day.
Over Counter (70s) - Over-the-counter banking was the most popular form of banking in the 1970s. Many believed it was the safest way to bank and also enjoyed the personal, face to face service it offered. For many a trip to the bank would almost become a social outing.
Over Counter (Today) - While this service is still available today, it is being replaced by online and telephone banking. In addition, many of our queries are now answered by chatbots, which means the service has become a lot less personal than it was in the 1970s.
Despite the lack of technological advancements, the 70s were a great time to be around. People appeared closer, happier, and healthier because they didn't have any gadgets or technology in their homes. In addition, they had more family time and engaged in more physical activity because of this. It makes one wonder; if we didn't have smartphones, tablets, and 24-hour television, would we be happier?