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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