Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Take my money, damn it!

Update #1: July 4, 2008 - More than two weeks later... I STILL ain't got the card. Hmph!

I am a rather pissed off islandista right about now. For the past SEVEN WEEKS now I have been trying to apply for a credit card.

Yes, seven weeks. Am I credit risk you may ask? Do I have a crippling addiction or bad credit or a poor job record or a low salary or a conviction for identity theft?

Nay - far from it. I have a great credit rating, I have a good job, making good money and since I finished my first degree 5 years ago I have been out of work a grand total of 2 months. The first was after I finished my first degree - within a month after finishing uni, I had 3 job offers. The second was after finishing my graduate degree - I already had a job offer which I came home for (and had left another job for), I had a part-time job and I was just waiting for the HR at my new job to sort out the details of my contract and send them so I could get going.

Yet... YET! I realise I have to jump through all kinds of hoops to get credit because banks and lending agencies in this region seem to be so damn conservative.

Take my credit card experience. I have finally... finally decided to get into the 21st century (20th really) and get a credit card because it has become aggravating (and a bit embarassing) having to beg my mum to use her credit card every time I want to buy something online. Which is often in this day and age - everything is bought online now - books, clothing, my computer, airline tickets, carnival costumes. If I could do it all with my debit card, I so would because I am not hype about the idea of credit cards, truth be told. I don't like the idea of spending money I technically do not have. Anyhoo ... I am a pretty good manager of my money (some might even say thrifty) so I figured that I should put my fears to rest and get a card.

Because I had only been in my present job for 10 months when I applied for the card instead of the magic number of 12 months I had to get a guarantor, in the form of my mother. How mortifying! Especially since I had been continually employed for the last 18 months before I applied - and I had not been fired, I quit one job to take up a better paying job. This, I thought was a wise move - the kind of thing that makes lenders salivate at the prospect of putting you in their debt.

Moreover I had been employed by the same place for 2 straight years before that with the year break being for study. So in all I had been gainfully and continually employed for three and a half years before I applied for the card.

Yet ... hoops. Because I had not reached the magic number.

So I found out about the need for a guarantor about 2 weeks after I had applied - when I thought my application was merrily winging its way to the card centre.

So I skipped through that hoop, dragged my poor mother to the bank, made her late for work and got the guarantor sign formed with all the pomp and circumstance as if it were a $50 000 student loan I was getting rather than a credit card with the minimum possible balance. stupppppsssssssssse...

Another two weeks elapsed. I called to check on the progress of the card  only to find out it had "only just been approved" (brr?) and 'sent back down' to the initial officer I dealt with and sent to the far away card centre "just yesterday" (wha?!). This time, a month and some has gone. The clothes I had squirrelled away in virtual baskets from Forever 21 and Old Navy and ASOS are probably not even in style anymore!

Yet I wait. And today I get a call. The card centre has my application (ah good!) but they need more stuff (wtf?). An ID card and stamp duty.

I mean ... yuh couldn't tell me that beforehand? I got to go in town again? Y'all feel this is really how I want to spend my lunch hour?

But this is not the first time I have had to jump through hoops. I am in the process of getting a car right now and when I went to get my financial clearance, the nice accountant man cautioned me that since I had not been shackled to one employer for at least 3 years I might need to pay a higher deposit ... like twice as much (all kinda claat).

For a CAR you know. Tangible collateral that you could take back if tings get funny. THREE YEARS you know. What person in their mid-20s has worked at the same place for 3 years straight? Moreover, in this globalised day and age, with so much competition for talent and a global talent shortage (and we in the Caribbean have an even more serious talent shortage than the rich northern countries bitching about it - cos they are the ones scooping up our people) who really stays loyal to one employer for a long time? All that does is make them complacent.

One good thing though - the Caribbean could never have a credit crisis like in the US. Bankers and lenders frighten to put people in debt - they does have to think long, long and hard, hard about it. Silly me, I thought was the whole meaning of their existence.

It's ridiculous. They should be begging to get me in debt. I'm young, well educated, childless for now, making good money - I ent got a ting to spend my money on. You would feel they would be delighted that I approach them for something that will make them money.

But no, we have to have a dozen hoops for people to hop through first.

No comments:

Post a Comment