Credit Where Credit’s Due

Five months in, and another landmark should arrive in the post here at some point over the next week, with the arrival of my first American credit cards. This is something I’ve unconsciously resisted, having been brought up with a Scottish Presbyterian upbringing view, that any kind of debt inevitably leads to immorality, an eternity in hell, and possibly even Papism. I managed to get through my student years without accumulating a single penny of debt and, even now, it’s something of a badge of honour that I have always paid off the entire balance on my credit card each month. Thus, the suggestion that I acquire more debt (ok – potential debt) is something I viewed with a jaundiced air.

However, the steady and inevitable loosening of my British ties makes it probably inevitable, assisted by my current credit card company giving the impression that I might as well be on the surface of the moon, as far as customer service goes. You and I may think we’re in the third millennium, but the Royal Bank of Scotland might as well be scratching away with ye olde quill pens, before popping their epistles onto a galleon, going by the speed of their customer service department. A simple query about my credit card, submitted by email, took almost a month to get a response – which arrived here in Scottsdale by snail-mail, written on papyrus. I am tempted to run up an enormous debt, safe in the knowledge that I would probably have died of old age before they actually noticed.

So, Chris is now apparently arranging credit for me. I’m not quite sure how she’s doing it, since I don’t have any actual income here at the moment, have only lived here for a short space of time, and effectively possess no credit record at all. Perhaps this is actually a good thing, and they treat no credit record as a totally clean one? The good thing is, this will actually be an American card with an American address – and will thus be usable by PayPal.

As regular readers will be aware, I’ve had a few recent clashes with them. I finally received an admission that their rejection of my credit card was not, contrary to all their previous claims, because I didn’t know my own address, but was because I was using a British credit-card in the United States. [My bank confirmed that PayPal never even attempted to verify my credit-card] I’ve now set up an international account with them, using my old Tulse Hill address, which it accepted quite happily. How long this will last, I don’t know – I expect a PayPal-sponsored SWAT team to come crashing through the door any morning now, and arrest me for fraud.

Even more ironically, while making such a fuss over the precise wording of the address on my credit card statement, thanks to our business PayPal sent us one of their debit cards, which we could cheerfully wave around all over the place. I refuse to use it on principle, figuring that this is too much like climbing into bed with the devil. When Satan comes a-calling, he brings an unlimited line of credit. There are those who reckon that the Mark of the Beast, as described in Revelations, is actually the barcodes you seen on almost every product nowadays. Personally, I reckon it’s more likely to be your PayPal login id.