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It’s Getting a Bit Ridiculous, and I’m Getting a Bit Used to It

I hate to be one of those typical annoyed foreigners who bitches and bitches about his inability to get a credit card in Korea, but good grief. A couple of places told me no right when I tried to apply, because I’m a foreigner. Okay, fine…

Then I was allowed to apply at another place, and told I would be getting a card, and then I was told at the last minute that, oh, no, sorry, we can’t give you one and we can’t tell you why either.

But then a friend of mine told me I could get one easily through Korea Exchange Bank — that they have them set up exactly for people like me, working here but from another country. Easy, I was told. No problem, I was told.

And if I’d applied a few weeks ago there, I would probably have that card by now. But I just got a call explaining that, as the representative put it, “Some foreign professors got a card and then left the country without paying it off, and so this other team within our organization changed the regulations so that only people on multiple-year contracts can have a card. It’s a stupid regulation, and my team is working on getting it changed again, but right now we can’t issue you a card.”

Now, the guy was very nice, and I appreciated him calling to explain, as well as the fact he gave me is direct number and asked me to call a month from now to see whether they’d gotten the regulation changed. But I was really annoyed, at the same time. In a country with as high a credit-card defaulting level as this one, where homeless people have credit cards and a massive number of people have ridiculous credit card debt, I would be very surprised if the average rate of unpaid credit-card debt of foreigners, on a ratio basis, even approached that of the average rate of unpaid credit-card debt for Korean citizens. It seems to me this wouldn’t even be considered, though: it’s as if, “Oh, some more foreigners didn’t pay their credit cards off, let’s ban them for all new foreigner applicants.” But it’s not the same when, say, a few construction workers, or unemployed housewives default on their credit card payments. No, then it’s just, “Oh, boy. We have a problem! Um, want another credit card? And by the way, your unemployed college student offspring can have one too, if you like, in your name!”

I am at the point where it’s no longer insulting, though. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I see through the personal insult that so many see in it, to the point that it’s just a symptom of a narrowminded society. I’ve chosen to live in that narrowminded society, to deal with that as part of my daily life, so as a grownup the only thing I can do is either find a way around it, or just accept it.

Ah well, there’s still Samsung to approach — several people I know have gotten cards via Samsung — and if that fails, Lime was talking about issuing a card to me under her name, since she has a card. Ad it’s not that I can’t get access to a credit card now, since she has one, but it’s more a desire to be responsible for the payment and for my own spending and so on… I don’t want always to have to depend on her to pay things for me, even if I always pay her back. That’s the same reason I don’t want to have her as a guarantor for a card issued to me, or to have to make all my phone account arrangements through someone else. The phone, at least, was doable, though almost everyone I asked spouted their personal, ignorant opinion that it wasn’t. Maybe the card will be doable, too, soon, or elsewhere.

In the meantime, I am astonished at how much patience I have for crap like this. Much more than I used to even a year ago.

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