Back when I was a kid I was always intrigued by these magical things called credit cards. Â It seemed you could use this little slip of plastic to buy things, which seemed pretty cool to me. Â I had visions of going out and buying everything I’d always wanted, but of course, I never realised at the time that at some point you had to pay for the things you’d bought.
One of the main reasons why I got the impression that credit cards let you buy things effectively for free was the adverts for one particular brand of credit card – Access. Â These adverts were animated, thus increasing their appeal to me, and featured a rather timid, worried looking pound sign called Money, who went about various everyday tasks. Â When it came to paying the bill, Money was always a bit short, so along came access, his flexible friend (as the slogan for the card stated), to settle the necessary payment on Money’s behalf. Â Perhaps now you see why I thought credit cards were so wonderful back then!
The Access card has long since gone (although you might still see the logo in some shops where they still haven’t updated the stickers on their windows) but it was basically a credit card using the MasterCard system. Â It was created by a consortium of UK banks including NatWest, Midland, Lloyds and the Royal Bank of Scotland, as a competitor to Barclays popular Barclaycard, which was part of the Visa payment system.
I’ve included one of the adverts for Access below, which is notable for featuring the voice talents of the late comedian Frankie Howerd, who oohs and aahs his way through the ad as only he could. Â He plays the part of Ticket, a theatre ticket who looks uncannily like him.