In the 1960s, when the oldest of the 50 million members of Generation X were children, the credit card industry came close to collapse.

Fierce competition and interbank warfare had led to market saturation. Pre-approved cards were being mass-mailed to any lists banks could lay their hands on. Some of those underage Gen Xers, as well as welfare recipients and family pets, got cards. Losses skyrocketed, and fraud ran rampant.

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