Ron Klein invented the credit card strip in the 1960s after being approached by a department store to help solve a problem.

The store wanted a simpler way to find out which customers posed a credit risk – which back then involved consulting credit card companies, a huge book with negative account numbers and a lengthy manual process.

Ron took inspiration from newly-released reel-to-reel tape recorders and figured out how to record the information merchants needed from it. It didn’t take long for the word to spread before American Express picked it up in 1970.

Ron made no money from this invention, but continued to put his problem solving skills to use and went on to create his own company that helped developed several businesses.

Key achievements

  • Developing the Bond Quotation and Trade Information System for the New York Stock Exchange.
  • Klein was the founder and CEO of Technitrend Inc., as well as General Associates Inc, which developed a system that enabled up-to-the-minute bond quotations and trade information.
  • An avid cycler, Ron was a medal winner of the Sarasota County Senior Olympics and the Florida State Championship Senior Olympics. In 2003, he was Athlete of the Year in Sarasota County

Lessons for your store

  1. Turn tragedy into opportunity – Ron read 18 volumes of the Encyclopedia of Britannica, cover to cover, after contracting a mysterious hepatitis infection that left him house bound for a year and a half.
  2. Create your own luck–Ron is a motivated go-getter who who isn’t afraid to take advantage of situations.
  3. You’re never too old – Even at 80, Ron continues to invent and work.