Ancient Egypt was the first civilization to document its use of leavened bread about 8,000 years ago. However, experts suggest that bread was an important part of culture as many as 30,000 years ago. The invention of bread is credited with creating the first instances of towns as we know them today. Prior to the advent of bread, humans were nomadic hunters and gatherers feeding off animals and wild grain. When the farming of grain became important, people started settling together in communities.
I received a cookbook for Christmas that teaches the art and science of making high-quality bread at home. Since then, I have been experimenting with different baking techniques and thoroughly enjoying the process. I am amazed at how the simple and basic ingredients of flour, water, salt and air (where the bacteria strains that make the yeast hover), and heat can create such a delicious and complex flavor. Plus, my house has never smelled so good!
While enjoying that journey, I have also been on the journey of creating Barclaycard Ring. The concept is to bring the credit card back to its basic elements and create the opportunity for customers to get involved in its evolution. I like the idea that we can provide a simple service (in this case, an easy transaction) at a low cost and also bring people together in new ways—much like bread did so long ago. Perhaps credit cards will never be the same again.
Jazz giant Lester Young popularized the use of the word “bread” as slang for “money,” connecting these two very fundamental elements of the human experience. I’m not trying to suggest that credit cards are as important as bread or that credit cards are money, but credit cards do play a role making our lives easier when making purchases. The results of a study, commissioned by a payments organization, suggests that electronic payments (credit and debit cards in this case) are responsible for generating at least 5% of the global economic growth (measured in GDP growth rate) from 2003 to 2008. That’s an impressive testament to how credit cards help facilitate purchasing and foster a better way of doing things.
Barclaycard Ring is moving the credit card a step further in its evolution. Join the Barclaycard Ring community. We may not be able to break bread together, but we can enjoy a good conversation about how to build something better.