Knowledge of Payments Promotes Growth in Boutique Fitness Businesses: History of Payments

5 min read


Fitness business owner on computer

Fitness business owner on computer

The payments world is often confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. Its roots are simpler than you may think, and will make payments easier to understand. Learn below how three key innovations have led to the payments world of today. And finally, discover how you can save time, increase revenue, and maintain positive member relationships through Zen Planner’s Full Service Billing solution.    

To know where we’re going, it’s useful to look back at where we’ve been. Reliable, optimized payments solutions are essential to any member-based health, wellness, and fitness organization. Before we dive into the Xs and Os of increasing revenue, let’s take a look at the history of payments and relevant terms.  

The Overdraft: In 1727 The Royal Bank of Scotland allowed a merchant, William Hog, to withdraw £1,000 extra pounds than were in his account. This, in turn, laid the foundation for modern legal definitions of loans, interest, and credit. These are all cornerstones of our economy, and credit is a key factor in payments. Imagine if it was only possible to collect payments after your members demonstrated to their bank, to your bank, and all third-party processors that they have enough money in their account! In this dystopian reality, monthly recurring payments would not exist. Just one payment would take far too much time to process without the concept of credit laid in 1727.  

The EFT: The first Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) was sent by Western Union in 1871, establishing their position as a trusted money transfer entity. The EFT effectively made it possible for someone to be in two places at once. Until this point, being physically present was a requirement to purchase a good or service. This innovation continued to evolve into funds transfer through telegraph in the early 20th century, to the first “online” purchase by Mrs. Jane Snowball in 1984, and finally to integrated online payments. Without the concept of EFT, you would need to have members physically present to process any payment.  

The Credit Card: Credit cards basically began as science fiction. The utopian novel Looking Backwards, by Edward Bellamy published in 1887 mentions the idea of credit cards as a method of payments 11 times. This idea stuck. What began as paper cards and slowly evolved to the first plastic credit card released by American Express in 1959 has become a staple of modern payments systems. In addition to being physically easier to handle than money and checks, each credit card transaction is the beginning of an EFT and also relies on the concept of credit that began with Mr. Hog’s overdraft in 1727! Furthermore, the credit card developed a robust concept of encrypted data and began an eternally unfolding arm’s race of payments security.   

This compelling history can offer more than an entertaining read. Knowing and understanding the roots of modern payments helps create proactive solutions that resolves problems before they arise. As central pillars of payments culture, these three innovations are also central to Zen Planner’s Full Service Billing payments solutions. Learn how you can take advantage of this history and Full Service Billing to save time, increase revenue, and maintain positive member relationships. 

About the Author: Kelli Sweeting

I'm Coach Kelli, a devoted CrossFit gym owner with 15 years of experience managing my facility, along with owning yoga studios and wellness centers. Beyond the fitness world, I have a passion for cooking, cherish moments with my children and family, and find joy in spending time outside. Having experienced the highs and lows, I'm dedicated to leveraging my expertise to help you grow and succeed on your fitness journey.