Saturday, August 6, 2011

A cashless system!

There are lots of things that don’t occur to you before you pack up your life into a sea container and ship it across the Atlantic. In the UK I had a job, a mortgage, a credit card, a car and car insurance in my name. I existed on lists. Special government lists that the Tea Party fear so much over here! Some people I have spoken to believe that store cards are sinister ways for special Government agents to track your every move. Can you imagine wading through all those Wal-mart receipts to spot a dodgy US citizen! I didn’t mind being on lists – I feel sure I wasn’t on any black lists. I occasionally forgot to pay my mail order Next bill but that was as far as my financial misdemeanours went. I don’t even have credit card debts. Ironically this means that people don’t like to lend you money – you pay it off and they don’t get much interest! It seems my prudence has cost us in America too!
We put in an application to rent a house in Houston. We did it in hubby’s name. He has a very good credit rating in the US. Everyone apparently has a number – over 700 is good, under 500 is very bad. When we got to America we were told to take out store cards, buy some stuff, pay monthly for a couple of months and then pay them off – this gives you a good credit score. Mad isn’t it? If you don’t borrow money and have no debts you are a bad risk! He passed the credit check requested by our perspective landlords, thanks to some stylish Dockers (is that a contradiction in terms?) from ‘Belk’ paid for monthly over two whole months. That and a very used and abused American Express card (well they give 2% cash back for all purchases- It shouldn’t cost them anything. They expect you to pay huge amounts in interest and must hate us when we pay it off every month and take their money instead!). The FBI, CIA and NFL will be watching us very carefully. FFS!
The perspective landlord wanted to do a credit check on me. Why? I’m not paying the rent! I am a kept woman these days! I had something worse than a bad credit rating. I had no credit rating at all. That really confuses them. I have no number! I have no debt in my name in America. I don’t really exist here (financially or otherwise)! No one it watching me! I have a social security number but as I do not (and cannot) work it doesn’t count for anything. Our rental application was turned down. We offered to pay the whole year’s rent in advance. It was still turned down. I was clearly too much of an unknown quantity. I pay. Where is the fun in that? There seems to be no logical explanation for their refusal. Our realtor decided the refusal verged on discriminatory as they would not actually give a reason.
There is one other possibility. This may seem more credible: ‘Is it because I is British?’ The house was owned by a family trust. The name was distinctly German. We have a surname reminiscent of Bomber command in World War 2. It seems to bizarre to even contemplate but why would you turn down a year’s rent in advance? Given the chance I would have explained that Dresden really wasn’t a family outing! Did they hear hubby’s dam buster ring tone on his phone? Whatever the reason (and there seems to be no reasoning!)  I was gutted. The house was beautiful and it meant a week’s house hunting came to nothing and we have to go back again. It will be harder this time because I have a bench mark. It is really hard when looking for a house to rent. It needs to be a neutral as possible otherwise you really feel like you are living in someone else’s house (which you are!).
On the plus side it now gives me an excuse to go shopping with money I don’t have so I can get a credit score. I think I will spend the weekend opening store cards and buying shit I don’t need. The shops already have Halloween stuff in and I have even seen some tinsel. I could do my Christmas shopping on credit. Why not? Everyone else does!
Once I have run up a credit debt of $10,000 I can apply for Government aid to help me pay off my debts. ‘They’ (them sinister government agents) advertise on the TV here every night. People who have massive credit card debts are poor victims. They need help. It wasn’t their fault they went shopping (a lot) with money they didn’t have to buy things they didn’t need and couldn’t afford. It is the American way! What better use of tax payers’ money than to offer these poor debtors some official help? Ahhh but then I am not American. So I don’t think I will qualify for help. Or maybe I qualify for some sort of special ops help – in American terms I must pose something of a quandary – no credit score, no debts and willing to pay, up front, in cash, in advance? Call the FBI!


  1. You could buy stuff and send it to me!!!!!!

  2. I'll have some of your rubbish as well. Credit rating is daft, there was talk about not issuing new credit cards to people who pay them off straight away.