Thursday, February 23, 2006

Damn Credit!

Credit sucks!You can't get much done here unless you have it.You can't get cable, utilities, cell-phone, landline, get a car from a dealership, enjoy certain offers, shop on most websites among other things. Seeing as I'm a simple African for me credit=debt. I hate being in debt!I remember how it used to feel when you've borrowed money from someone and you dont have it and are reduced to sneaking around and making pathetic excuses ie there's this deal I am waiting to come through. Add to this the fact that when you are in debt to someone you are in their power. That's why bank managers are so smug as they know how many people's souls they own!
What I dislike is that every business here in the States tries to lock you into some sort of contract or the other. Some will offer you dirt cheap gym membership, a free phone, cheap CDs/DVDs, frequent flier miles, cheap magazines etc; but the catch is that you have to sign up with them for a year or more.I have vowed that I will only have contracts for neccesary things like a lease, cell phone, medical insurance, car insurance and AA. The Acolyte likes to roam free and doesn't want to answer his phone to find out that it's Bill (pun intended) calling from the Collection Agency X as I have lagged behind on my credit card bills. I try to keep things simple, I buy what I need as opposed to what I want first and that's how I keep out of trouble.But it also helps to live in the bundus, I mean the place where I could spend the most money here is Walmart!
When I was leaving Kenya credit cards had just come into vogue and I was least concerned. A debit card worked just fine for me then as it works now. I heard that debit cards are coming back in as Kenyans have seen how destructive credit cards can be and would rather the devil that they know in the form of debit then the angel they don't.
By the way, I got a post paid phone here without a credit history at all in my second month here. Usually you have to put down a deposit because according to those kubaffs bad credit is better then no credit!So a week later T-mobile send me a letter saying that they can't hook me up as I have no credit history but I already had the handset and phone number!So two weeks down the line they realised that no-one can get in the way of the Acolyte and sent me a welcome package (O.K I got lucky I admit it!).So other then rent my cell phone is my other regular expense. That's me, I try to keep my life as simple as possible.
Anyway seems these bloodsuckers don't waste time!Less then a year here and it has come!Yes I have just received my first credit card offer in the mail.Seems these idiots don't know who they're dealing with.......


Whispering Inn said...

Yeah dude, your creditworthiness is muy importante!

The Fiscal One said...

hmmm see I kinda like the credit thing. It rewards you for good spending habits but I also know that it can bite in you in the behind if you're not careful... If you're also intending to buy a house or big purchase that won't be put on the debit card, then it makes sense to start building up your credit history sooner, rather than later. I have some pretty good credit cards (O% interest ...) and I always pay off any balance at the end of the month--- that way, credit worthiness goes juu but interest payments stay nil....

acolyte said...

@ whispering inn
Yeah here it's very big deal.I wonder how long it will take till the folk at home catch on?
@ mutumia
What if you don't spend much like me?No rewards?But I feel you about why you need it if you want to buy something like a house.But I still believe that if I must have credit cards I will use them for neccesities!Not mwenjoyo!

Whispering Inn said...

Folks at home are already catching on big time.

The infrastructure for heavy credit card use is already taking shape with credit reporting companies coming up.

However, almost all the credit cards are issued by the major banks and they (banks) tend to issue the cards exclusively to their customers.

The requirements to get one are also rather prohibitive - verifiable employment with maybe 5 years mimimum tenure at present company, lots of disposable income, home ownership and other assets - all meant to shield the banks from risk exposure.

In the US, credit cards are an absolute necessity. Go with what Mutumia said - build your credit history and guard it jealously from your own misuse and from fraudulent use.

You need good credit history to get a job, buy a car, buy a house, rent an apartment if you're not ready top buy a house, buy insurance etc etc.

Your credit IS your character.

acolyte said...

@ whispering inn
Seems like getting a credit card at home is going to be the preserve of the rich and famous coz few people can meet all those terms esp with the present state of the Kenyan economy.Well it seems pende nisipende I may just have to get a credit card.But like I said it will be for neccesities like grocery shopping and nuthin else!Ati good credit to get a job now that's just plain wrong!

guessaurus said...

Aco it is the same here, credit checks and references to get anything from a phone down to a house - bad credit is a pain.

Having said that, I agree the credit card companies, and the banks are real happy when you are in debt - like when I finished uni, I tore up my credit card coz I had maxed it - you know being a student, broke, with a credit card? Well, when I went to the bank and asked them to cancel it, they increased the a credit by £3000 - yes, I had another three grand to do whatever I wanted with - but I said no, I will just happily pay the balance and walk - I havent had a credit card since - a debit card will do for me thanks very much - and seeing that my money management skills went out of the window (ok they dont exist) then I know I can only spend what I have :D

Acolyte said...

@ Guess
Due to some bad decisions my big sis all but obliterated her credit.All she does now is cash and debit cards!I see that you are indeed a strong woman coz an extra 3k pounds?Damn that's alot of money!

mutumia said...

Plus--- you don't also need a credit card with a large balance... Mortgage companies look at how you pay off your debts-- which makes sense... so when I was in grad school, I got a $500 credit card and it didn't really matter how much I overspent-- $500 is raisable. That said, I've been known to put groceries and whatnot on my credit card when I'm tracking my spending to see where my $$$ goes BUT!!! at the end of the month--- those bills are paid the hell off... Hakuna cha minimum--- I look at total outstanding balance owed and pay it off like I owe the mafia nah'mean? One of my credit cards was cancelled before as the company wasn't making any finance interest $$$ from me.

I know--- I know--- greedy capitalist pigs!

Acolyte said...

@ mutumia
Seems that ppl dont realise that by paying minimum only they are compounding the problem!Poor gal, the company axed your card for paying your bills on time.If you ask me the businesses here are more morally bankrupt then the ones back home, here people aim to screw you as hard as they can!

Milonare said...

I also hate debt but I love the things that debt buys... Thank the stars that I don't have easy access to a credit card otherwise

I would have to rename my handle to PAUPER and look for a new acronym like PAid UP but no ExtRas LOLOLOL

acolyte said...

@ Milo
This credit card thing can destroy you if you have no discipline.If I am bila I may have to call myself brokealyte!