What was the first installment plan in American business?

The first installment plan in American business was introduced by Isaac Singer’s partner Edward Clark in 1856.

Customers could buy a sewing machine for five dollars down, paying the rest in monthly installments of three to five dollars, including interest.

Singer was criticized for charging high interest, but the company’s sales took off.

In 1857, Clark came up with another American retail institution: the trade-in allowance, offering 50 dollars for old sewing machines.