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Timeline

  • Test marketing begins.

    The first purchase with a Discover card was for $26.77 on Sept. 17, 1985, by a Sears employee from the Chicago area at a Sears store in Atlanta. Test marketing continued in Atlanta and San Diego prior to the national rollout.

  • Discover card launches nationally.

    Dean Witter Financial Services Group, Inc., a subsidiary of Sears, Roebuck and Co., launched the Discover card in a national campaign highlighted by the "Dawn of Discover" television commercial during Super Bowl XX.

  • Discover network signs its 1 millionth merchant.

    Vincente's Restaurant in Wilmington, Delaware begins accepting Discover cards.

  • Dean Witter, Discover & Co. becomes a new publicly traded company.

    Dean Witter Financial Services Group, Inc., spins off from Sears on March 1, 1993, into an independent publicly traded company known as Dean Witter, Discover & Co. with the stock ticker symbol DWD.

  • www.DiscoverCard.com launches.

    DiscoverCard.com debuts in September 1995. Today it offers card applications and provides options to pay bills, redeem rewards, receive e-mail reminders and earn extra rewards through our online retail partners.

  • Novus is born.

    In 1995, Discover Card Services, Inc. changed its name to NOVUS Services, Inc., distinguishing the company's network functions from the Discover card. NOVUS Services, Inc. eventually was renamed Discover Financial Services, Inc., on Feb. 1, 1999.

  • Dean Witter, Discover & Co. merges with Morgan Stanley Group, Inc.

    The merged company is initially referred to as Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Discover & Co.

  • Discover Platinum Card announced.

    On Dec. 22 the company introduced Discover Platinum, a premium card featuring new ways to increase rewards, low balance transfer and annual percentage rates, no annual fee, expanded credit lines and enhanced services.

  • Discover launches the Morgan Stanley Card in the United Kingdom.

    The launch marks the company's first international expansion.

  • Greenwood Trust Company becomes Discover Bank.

    Greenwood Trust Company incorporated in 1911 and was acquired in 1985. The Greenwood Trust Company name was changed to Discover Bank on Aug. 1, 2000 and represents the company's only banking branch.

  • Discover card launches the industry's first keychain credit card.

    The Discover 2GO Card was recognized as one of the "Best Products of 2002" by editors and reporters from Business Week and USA Today.

  • Discover gift cards introduced.

    The launch of these prepaid stored value cards was announced on Oct. 15, 2003. They can be redeemed wherever Discover network cards are accepted and can be ordered with personalized embossing and include a greeting card.

  • Gas and miles rewards cards introduced.

    The Gasoline Card (renamed Open Road in 2007) awards 5% Cashback Bonus on gas purchases. The Miles Card by Discover card allowed redemption with as little as 2,500 miles for non-flight reward options.

  • Paperless statements introduced.

    Discover introduces the option for paperless statements to minimize the impact on the environment and reduce clutter for customers.

  • Landmark U.S. Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit resolved.

    The resolution of the U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit against Visa and MasterCard for anticompetitive practices cleared the way for financial institutions to issue cards on competing networks.

  • DFS acquires PULSE payments network.

    This acquisition enabled PULSE and its more than 4,000 member banks, credit unions and savings institutions to join with the Discover network and its 4 million merchant and cash access locations.

  • Discover signs agreement with Wal-Mart and GE Consumer Finance.

    The new co-branded Wal-Mart – Discover card to be issued by GE.

  • First China UnionPay card transaction in the U.S.

    On Dec. 5, 2005, executives from the People's Bank of China purchased a necktie in New York with a card issued in China, marking the first acceptance of a China UnionPay bankcard in the United States. This transaction marked the beginning of a strategic alliance between China UnionPay and Discover Financial Services for reciprocal card acceptance.

  • Discover Financial Services completes acquisition of major U.K. card issuer.

    Discover Financial Services acquired Goldfish, a leading rewards card issuer in the U.K. Discover sold its Goldfish portfolio in March 2008.

  • Discover Debit launches.

    On Feb. 13, 2006, Discover Financial Services became the first credit card services company to compete directly with Visa and MasterCard in the rapidly growing signature debit market.

  • Discover and largest card issuer in Japan sign reciprocal card acceptance agreement.

    Discover Financial Services announced on Aug. 23, 2006, its reciprocal card acceptance agreement with JCB, the largest card issuer and acquirer in Japan, which helps lead to increased card acceptance for both companies.

  • Discover joins industry effort to form security standards.

    Discover network unites with Visa, MasterCard, American Express and JCB to form the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council, which was designed to manage the ongoing payment account security throughout the transaction process.

  • Discover Business card launches.

    Discover Financial Services launched the Discover Business card in June 2006 as a single payment solution for small business owners.

  • Discover signs its first merchant acquiring agreement.

    On July 14, 2006, Discover Financial Services and First Data Corp., a global leader in electronic commerce and payment services, announced First Data, the first of many industry-leading acquirers, to offer Discover network card services to small-and mid-sized merchants as part of a strategic initiative to increase acceptance.

  • Morgan Stanley announces Discover spin-off.

    During a fourth quarter earnings report on Dec. 19, 2006 Morgan Stanley CEO John J. Mack announced that Morgan Stanley would spin-off Discover Financial Services into an independent publicly traded company in the third quarter of 2007.

  • First Discover network card transaction in China.

    David Nelms, Discover Financial Services CEO, purchases a bronze horse with his Discover card on Nov. 8, 2006, marking the first transaction using a Discover network card in China.

  • New Discover Motiva card is first to offer rewards for good credit management.

    management. On March 13, 2007, Discover announced the launch of the Discover Motiva card, the credit card that gives cardmembers cash rewards for making six on-time monthly payments in a row.

  • Discover More card replaces Discover Platinum card.

    The Discover More card, previously known as the Discover Platinum card, was introduced in April 2007.

  • Discover Financial Services begins trading on the NYSE as DFS.

    Discover Financial Services becomes an independent public company on June 30, 2007, and begins trading on the NYSE for the first time on July 2.

  • Discover commissions consumer spending survey.

    On July 18, 2007, Discover released the results of a new monthly index – The Discover Spending Confidence Monitor – that queries about 15,000 adult consumers every month on their spending intentions and capacity.

  • Discover acquires Diners Club International.

    The acquisition of Diners Club International in July 2008 put Discover on the path to global acceptance. The integration of networks allows Discover cardholders to use their cards globally on the Diners Club network. Established in 1950, Diners Club International is credited with creating the first multipurpose charge card in the world.

  • Discover wins $2.75 billion in damages to settle antitrust lawsuit against Visa and MasterCard.

    Discover sought damages for imposing rules that prohibited member banks from issuing credit and debit cards over Discover network. Discover received $2.75 billion in the October 2008 settlement, the third largest reported antitrust settlement in U.S. history.

  • Discover offers a biodegradable card.

    In December, Discover started offering the only biodegradable consumer credit card in the market. The card is made of biodegradable PVC, a substance that allows 99% of the card plastic to be safely absorbed when exposed to landfill conditions.

  • Discover introduces the Spend Analyzer tool.

    In February, Discover introduced Spend Analyzer, an innovative, easy-to-use online tool that provides cardmembers with a visual representation of their Discover card purchases for the past 24 months.

  • Discover launches www.ItPaysToDiscover.com.

    Discover launched a new interactive website in November: ItPaysToDiscover.com. The site combines all of the ways that cardmembers can maximize their Cashback Bonus rewards.

  • iPhone app available to Discover cardmembers.

    In November, Discover introduced its Discover app for iPhone and iPod Touch users, which allows cardmembers to manage their accounts on the go.

  • Alliance with Korea's BCcard adds network volume.

    Discover announced in January a network-to-network acceptance alliance with BCcard, a leading Korean payments network.

  • CardBuilder tool unveiled.

    early 2010, Discover launched an interactive tool that helps prospective cardmembers build their own cards. Applicants select terms, rewards preferences and card design.

  • Discover acquires major originator of student loans.

    Discover acquires The Student Loan Corporation expanding Discover's market presence and origination capabilities in private student loans.

  • Discover signs strategic partnership with Softcard to build nationwide mobile payment network.

    Discover and Softcard announced a strategic partnership to build a mobile payment network that utilizes mobile phones to make point-of-sale purchases.

  • Discover sponsors its first Orange Bowl.

    Discover begins its sponsorship of college football's Orange Bowl in Florida, which will include the 2013 BCS National Championship.

  • Discover enters a float in the 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena.

    Discover wins the Grand Marshal's Trophy for its "A State Fair to Remember" float. The award honors excellence in creative concept and design.

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