Stanley A. Dashew, the inventor and entrepreneur who helped revolutionize the credit card industry, died of natural causes Thursday in Los Angeles, according to a family spokesman. He was 96.
Dashew developed a plastic material that could be embossed using a machine he and a group of engineers developed. The machine was equipped with a keyboard that could emboss plastic cards with a customer’s name, account number and an expiration date.
He and his team also built an early point-of-sale terminal that captured all the information contained on the card and print out a receipt to be signed by the customer. Bank of America, Chase Manhattan Bank and American Express would all use his technology.
Dashew’s work led to the creation of the BankAmericard and the introduction of the Unicard — the predecessor of VISA and considered to be the first plastic bank card system. When pitching his machine to American Express, Dashew embossed the names of each board member on a sample card, along with the date and the catchphrase, “Member since …”
He sold Dashew Business Machines to Howard Hughes’ Hughes Tool Co. The company subsequently went bankrupt in 1965.