Mexico has a credit bureau, and it’s totally disconnected from credit bureaus in the United States. When you move over the Rio Bravo, you leave your credit history behind.
Depending on your deadbeat quotient, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. For me, it was bad.
Unlike above the border where credit bureaus are a dime a dozen, there seems to be just one credit bureau in Mexico, which makes more sense to me.
That’s my latest credit score above from the Buró de Crédito. I am more reliable than 85 percent of other Mexicans. That score should have me tying with 100 percent because I have never missed a payment here or paid late.
I would have a higher score were I addicted to debt, if I made car payments, had a mortgage, etc. All I have is a couple of Visa cards. Both are paid in full, monthly.
For my first 14 years in Mexico, I had two U.S. credit cards that were paid automatically in full every month via a connection with my U.S. bank, Banamex USA, the American outpost of the Mexican financial behemoth Banamex.
In 2014, a U.S. law known as FATCA caused Banamex USA to unceremoniously cancel my checking account, leaving me with no way whatsoever to pay my U.S. credit cards.
I use credit cards 99.9 percent for online purchases, and my credit score is inching up slowly. For easy access to your credit bureau score, the Buró de Crédito requires an account with them, which costs about 200 pesos a year.
After a few weeks of sleepless nights after Banamex USA zapped my only U.S. bank, I was back in business with the Mexican banks and credit cards.*
FATCA also threw a wrench into my PayPal account.
PayPal is not the same everywhere. Previously, I had the U.S. version. I canceled it and opened a Mexican PayPal which, like Mexican credit cards, works anywhere.
Again, everything is back in order, working smoothly, and I now have almost no financial ties with the United States, which puts a smug smile on my Mexican mug.
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* We have three credit cards. One with my name from HSBC. Another with my name from Bancomer, plus a third, piggybacked on my account, with my wife’s name and a different card number. She’s never used it. She’s as averse to debt as I am and has never used a credit card in her life.
(NOTE: The United States is the only nation in the world that wants to suck tax earnings from what its citizens earn in other countries while living in those other countries. In other words, if you move to Ghana, open a store, earn a few Ghana bucks, Uncle Sam wants a cut! Freaking incredible.)