Card Networks

*This course is eligible for 1.2 AAP or APRP Continuing Education Credits


The concept of a “credit card” has been around for over 150 years. Evolving from a paper ledger allowing for customers to purchase goods and pay later, to the mechanisms to access checking accounts, through a debit card. Now, new and innovative payments that take advantage of these existing card network rails.  Amy Morris, a Senior Director at Nacha who works with payment system rules, previously working at Visa, gives a brief history of the popular card brands used today.

The course explains the different types of card brand models and how they shaped card network evolution, bringing us to the most common brands we know today. She explains the events in history that have had significant impact on card brands, as well as the shifts in corporate structure that American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa have made over the last 75+ years, and how the private label model continues to inspire innovation in the payments industry.

Questions answered by this course:

1. What are the differences between card networks and how does card transaction processing work?

2. What is the role private label cards have played in innovation?

Prerequisites (if any): None 

Level: Beginner

Learning Outcomes:

  • Define the different types of card networks
  • Identify the origins of the most recognizable card brands today
  • List important events that have shaped the card industry and organizations

Skills Covered in this Course: Payment Cards, Credit Cards, Debit Cards, Payments Technology


Amy K. Morris, Nacha


It is often difficult to imagine how card usage all started and the rate at which growth has taken place.  That in itself makes it even harder to believe credit card processing started out at a snail’s pace from an end to end perspective.  Sometime ago there were manual card imprinters to capture an image of the card to submit for payment.  In addition, upfront card authorization and approval were not part of completing a credit card transaction.  Today, processing a card transaction appears to happen in fraction of second.

This course will explain the card technology and its evolution as a whole.  The instructor will provide an overview of the technological advancements while connecting the dots with evolution over time.  By the end of this course one should have a clear understanding of where card processing started and how it progressed to what we see today.

 Questions answered by this session:

  • 1.What are the significant card technology advancements since the beginning?
  • 2.What are the impacts of credit card evolution?

Prerequisites (if any): History of Card Networks

Level: Beginner - this course would be ideal for individuals who are looking to continuing to expand their understanding of card history and its evolution.

 Learning Outcomes:

  • Able to explain, at a high level, the evolution of credit card evolution
  • Identify key milestones in Credit Card technology
  • Describe historical impacts to advancement in Credit Card processing

 Skills Covered in this Course: Credit Cards, Payment Technology


Aaron Baskerville, Discover

Keyword(s): AAP/APRP


History of the Card Networks - Part 1
History of the Card Networks - Part 2
History of the Card Networks - Part 3
Technology & Evolution
APRP Credit Form