One day in the late 1950s, or so the story goes, newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin walked into the Manhattan offices of Diners Club with a big problem on his mind.

"Fat Thomas," a local bookmaker whose colorful antics were frequent fodder for Mr. Breslin's widely read articles, had been arrested after using a Diners Club credit card that had been reported stolen.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.