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Extra Credit

Ever been curious about the emergence of the credit card industry? Frontline and the New York Times have joined up to develop a documentary about the secret history of the credit card. The program has come at a good time, too. In Shell Beach, California, Walter Cavanagh holds the record of possessing the most active credit cards.

His total? 1,496 active cards, 1,495 of which are secured in a safety deposit box — and one that he pays off every month. He has an additional 2,000 cards that are doubles — or were issued by now-defunct companies. How many credit cards do you have in use at one time? How do you use them differently?

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