Wednesday, May 25, 2005

 

Establishing Credit

As an immigrant here in the States the first surprise after several decades financial solvency in my home country was that nobody here would trust me to pay a bill.

I couldn't even get a cellphone as I had no "credit history" attached to my Social Security Number. Correction, I could get one... but they wanted a $500 deposit up front.

Then after being here for a few months, I started to get what looked like credit card offers. Reading between the lines, they look like credit cards but are in fact only good to buy overpriced junk from specific catalog shopping operations.

Finally I managed to secure a pre-paid credit card to start building my credit, where you have to put down a deposit first, which becomes your credit limit. The application was tough to fill out, because it was in Spanish.

Now, I am in the position where I am getting about ten credit card offers a week.

My wife, on the other hand, who has been here for fifteen years and always maintained excellent credit, goes one better. Last week, she was sent (at our old address) a shiny new Mastercard, without ever having applied for it or even wanting one. Fortunately, the new homeowner forwarded it to us, and did not use it to go on a spending spree.
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