Giving Credit where Credit Isn’t Due

It’s almost impossible to rent a car without a credit card, but it is doable . . . for some people. Just not me. I tried. It would have been easier to deal with this move out of the house where I am living if I had wheels, but no luck.

To rent a car with a debit card, you have to be able to pass a credit check. The catch here is that if you can pass a credit check, you probably already have a credit card. For me to pass a credit check with my history of paying cash, I would need to have a job. They don’t care that I’ve spent the past ten years taking care of sick, old, and dying relatives. It’s not a paying job.

walkingEven if I were to get a secured credit card, where I have enough money in a separate account to equal to the limit on the card, they could refuse me, and according to the person I talked to, they probably would. No house. No apartment. No job. Not exactly a stable customer from their standpoint.

One solution to the not-being-able-to-pass-a-credit-check situation is to get a secured loan, say for $500. I put $500 in a savings account to secure the loan at 1% interest. They lend me $500. I put that money in another savings account, also at 1% interest, and I use that account to pay off the loan, for which they charge me 18% interest. Since all of this is reported to the credit bureaus, it helps establish credit.

Still, I’d be paying them so I could use my own money. Huh? This makes sense? And if I do all this, maybe, someday, I’ll be able to rent a car. It seems as if there is ever such an emergency, it would be cheaper to buy a junker and then resell it for pennies on the dollar. At least I’d have gotten something for my troubles.

To be honest, I never believed in credit. Still don’t. I hate being in debt. And I always figured if I didn’t have the money now to get what I needed, there was no reason to believe I would have the money at a later date. And if I did believe I’d get the money at a later date, then it made more sense to wait.

The onset of debit cards has made credit cards mostly unnecessary, except when it comes to renting a car. Luckily, there are alternatives when one finds oneself temporarily without a car — namely feet and friends.

Luckily I have enough of both to handle the current situation.

There is another problem, though. Without credit, it’s almost impossible to rent an apartment. But I don’t want to think about that now, and anyway, I’m not ready to settle down.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

9 Responses to “Giving Credit where Credit Isn’t Due”

  1. Constance Says:

    I don’t like the credit card trap.
    I used to have a lot of credit cards when you could claim the interest on your taxes. Now, I only have 2 for Emergencies.
    Only problem is, most places won’t take checks anymore. I liked keeping track of my money that way.
    You are now being forced to use an ATM, which I will not use, or a credit card, which I do not like using. I don’t like having a lot of cash on me. I felt safe using checks and could keep records of what I spent.
    I do not like being in debt to someone else.

  2. Constance Says:

    My son tried to get credit for the dentist. He could not get it either. Checked his Credit Rating and he does not have one. Never has used a credit card or got a loan.

  3. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    Unfortunately, one also can’t pay for most airline flights with cash or stay at most hotels for cash. It’s too bad.

  4. Holly Says:

    What about a prepaid card?

  5. Kathy Says:

    I experienced this when I went through my divorce. I had to build my own credit. I started with $500 in a Secured Credit Card and then I got a store card and went from there. It is frustrating and seemingly senseless to go through that. I hope you get your car back soon!

  6. Coco Ihle Says:

    I hate to say this, but I think it is important to establish a credit rating in this world these days. I only have two credit cards and I don’t use them a lot ( and I pay off my balance each month), but I have established good credit throughout the years and it has saved me in emergencies several times.

  7. mickeyhoffman Says:

    That’s why I originally got a credit card, because I knew I was going to have to rent a car. Then once I got the card, I only used it once the bank had a fit. Really. They took it away after about three years. I don’t know if that still happens.


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