Barron Hilton, the hotel magnate, organized the team to start in
the AFL in 1960 in Los Angeles. Fans were asked to submit names.
The club's nickname was submitted by Gerald Courtney of Hollywood.
Hilton selected 'Chargers' in part because it coincided with the
arrival of the new Carte Blanche charge card.
Another view from Les Land:
For background purposes I was the first Business Manager of the Chargers- from inception -1960 thru their 1963 Championship season.
As regards the selection of the name, my recollection and understanding is that Barron Hilton selected it because he liked the USC cheer of "CHARGE", and was influenced to some extent by his friend Tom Eddy, who was a graduate of USC; Tom was Barron's front and leg-man during the early formative years. I have never heard Barron indicate that the name was derived because of the credit card name "Carte Blanche".
Barron Hilton was named to the Chargers Hall of Fame in 1980.