Tuesday, January 06, 2009

For my ex-pat friends

This is for all of my friends and colleagues who still reside overseas. The rest of you are welcome to read along for a laugh....

This past week, I have been trying to do a bit of business in the US. Business that I haven't done for more than 12 years or so. I tried to buy a car.

I was delighted when we were at the finance guy's office and he ran a credit report on us and we found out that our credit is excellent. Our credit report numbers are WAY above the national average. That is good.

Then the floor dropped out from under us.

He said that despite having this great credit score, we don't have any credit HISTORY. He said that the only thing on our report was one credit card for each of us. (Sally and me) I told him that I had bought (financed) numerous cars and a house. He said that it was long enough ago that it had "rotated" off our report and as far as they were concerned, we were starting over, just with a really good credit score.

He said that GMAC was actually willing to loan us the money for the car, but we would need a 20% deposit and would be charged FIFTEEN PERCENT interest! He said that he wasn't even going to offer us that "deal" and suggested another route.

All of this to say, "If you currently live overseas and have done so for a while, when you go to buy something in the US, either expect to buy with cash, or be prepared to have an exorbitantly high interest rate because all of your credit history will be just that; HISTORY!


Tim Tillinghast said...

I have often worried about this. The flip side is that I went to a big concert once on furlough with a sort of "fair" at the back area. There was a booth where they were helping people figure out how to get out of debt. They called me over and asked my situation.
Do you have any credit card debt?
No, I only use it for unusual things and pay it off each month.
Car payment?
No, I have a really ratty car given to me by Wycliffe.
House payment?
Nope, no house.

They kind of looked at me flabbergasted and then said there was nothing they could do to help me.

Of course, I may be LIVING in that beat up car when I reach retirement!

Teesa said...

We faced the same thing when we came back. I had thought about this before we returned and made Bill open up a credit card for himself, just to give him some credit history.

It helped a little - our interest on my car isn't nearly as high. Then we were able to buy a house without any problems.

It's amazing how American's credit defines us.

tto said...

Thanks for the heads up. I have not lived in the US since 94. I bet my credit is really out of date.


Anonymous said...


If you are willing to pay, twenty percent interest, maybe I can help you out.


J. Guy Muse said...

Wow, what an encouraging post! :)

We too have wondered what steps we might take to make ourselves look a little more credit-worthy than we actually are after 20+ years overseas. Any ideas, welcome!

Morgan said...

We have wondered about this ourselvees. We have lots of great credit history from the first years of our marriage before we went overseas, but since then, we have only had our two credit cards (one for each of us that we pay off monthly) and one car (and even that was 3 or 4 years ago now). But what can you really do?

to-obey-is-better said...

And we wonder why the world is in a financial crisis?

I can't fathom how someone with good credit isn't getting the breaks....they'd rather loan to someone in deep debt.

Oh, well...thanks for posting this....gives us something to think about as we get ready to head back that way this year...


Rick Boyne said...

Tim - Same exact scenario.

Teesa - I KNOW!!!!! The finance guy said that if we hadn't been in the ministry, GMAC wouldn't have even come up with an offer!

Trey - It caught us completely by surprise. I didn't want that to happen to my "pals".

Ron - Thanks, friend. But it wouldn't help our credit history anyway! (With friends like you...)

Guy - Sorry, I don't have any ideas, but I'll keep thinking about it. Maybe you could buy something from a department store using their credit department?? Praying for your medical clearance!

Everetts - I dunno. I really dunno.

Jennifer - Spot on! Bad credit gets the loans! What insanity!

Anonymous said...

A pastor told of giving this advice to someone facing tough economic times; "just open your Bible and put a finger on a page anywhere, then do what the verse says."
A few months later he happened to see the person getting out of a new Mercedes. When he asked, the person said they had just purchased a new home and had already furnished it completely.
The minister asked what his Bible had opened to. The person replied "Chapter 13!"