In Sweden we have a credit history. Not too surprising, but at the same time nothing that we ever think about. We take it for granted. We want to buy a new apartment? Sure, says the bank, no problem! We want an extra credit card? Why not, says the bank, is SEK xxx high enough credit limit?
Now we are in Hong Kong. And we try to get what we regard as normal services from a local bank.
But we have no credit history. We have no history what so ever.
So the bank requires us to give them proof of address, e.g. a utility bill with our name and address on. Not more than two months old. An original. We don't get utility bills in Sweden, we try to explain. Empty eyes stare at us. We get e-invoices to our internet bank, we try to comply. Is it OK to print those? Still empty stares. Eventually, they accept. Grudgingly.
So we got our payroll accounts. And ATM cards. And we got checks. Checks? Checks!
But the ATM cards are just that. ATM cards. There are a few places where you use them to pay with, mostly grocery stores. At restaurants, you can't use it. So we asked for MasterCard/Visa.
No problem, said the bank. As soon as you have your first salary deposited, you can apply for a credit card.
Duh? Why? And it dawned on us: We have no credit history.
After some fuckups at the bank, we went to another. Welcome, they said! Of course you can have all your needs and requirements fulfilled here! MasterCard/Visa, too, we asked. Yes, naturally, they answered, as soon as we have seen three months salary at your account.
We have no credit history.
And then we draw a parallel to all the refugees fleeing from their war torn countries, from lives in relative economical stability to, often, more affluent countries. Like Sweden. But they have no economic history. They have no history what so ever. We have a good pay check coming each month, steady as clockwork. We even have a little tucked away at home. We manage without a credit history quite well. But the refugees? Not so much.
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