My credit report

new-imageMY LATEST credit report arrived in the Yule email.

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 opened accounts at HSBC-Mexico and BBVA Bancomer. I now have credit cards from both. Getting one from Bancomer was easy. Getting one from HSBC was like pulling teeth.

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.

* * * *

* 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.)

11 thoughts on “My credit report

  1. One of these days I may join you in completely dumping my American bank accounts. The only reason I keep my northern credit cards (that are paid from a northern bank account) is because I earn Alaska Airlines miles when I use them. And that is nothing to sneeze at. When I take international flights, I use my air miles to purchase a first class ticket — and save over $10,000 on each ride. To me, that is worth keeping the cards. When I get too crippled to travel, I will move everything down here.


    1. Señor Cotton: It is a liberating feeling, but you are quite right. Those airline savings are nothing to sneeze at. I would do the same as you in the same situation.

      I’ve never flown first class in my entire life.


        1. Señor Cotton: I have not made a long-haul international flight since 1978. To Europe. And the chances of my ever making another are almost zero. I like it just fine where I am, and planes have gotten too tight for my long legs.


        2. Señor Cotton: Returning to the topic at hand, both HSBC and Bancomer had extremely small limits on my credit cards at the get-go, which I understand due to my being an unknown quantity. However, the limits have been raised significantly over time, and not much time at that. It pays to pay your bills in a timely manner.


        3. You are not given a steaming, moist towel if you fly coach. And First Class food is occasionally better than just acceptable. We’ve only flown in Business First on United.

          Oh, yes, you get a free pass to the United Club lounge. Free wifi, continental breakfast, daily newspapers, comfortable seating. There’s also a cash bar, but I have never indulged there.

          Don Cuevas


          1. Señor Cuevas: Clearly, you are a higher-class man than I am. My … let us call it thriftiness … will always keep me in steerage.

            I missed an opportunity to fly first class for free once back in the 1970s. I was hired to work at the San Juan Star. They told me to fly down and they would repay me for the plane ticket. I flew steerage, of course, and when I got to the newspaper I learned they would have paid for a first-class flight. Damn! Now they tell me.


  2. How would one get their Social Security checks? I thought they had to be deposited in a U.S. bank?


    1. Beverly: Your comment went to the moderation pile again. I have no idea why. Hopefully, it will resolve itself.

      To your question: Social Security payments are not restricted to U.S. banks. Mine is direct deposited to my Bancomer account. As it sails through cyberspace and over the border, it morphs from dollars to pesos.

      I also have a corporate pension from the Hearst Corp. When Banamex USA dumped me, I had quite a struggle to get Wells Fargo, which handles Hearst pensions, to send it over the border. They had never done it, only to U.S. banks. I raised enough hell, however, that I became their first pensioner to receive payment outside the U.S. I had to pull them into the 21st century. It was a rough ride at first, but they finally came around. There was no other option. Mailing a physical check here, which is what they wanted to do, is not realistic.


    2. P.S.: Even if I wanted to open a U.S. bank account, I cannot do it. They require a U.S. address, which I lack. They also want things like U.S. driver’s licenses, etc. Don’t have that either. When Banamex USA closed my account, my first reaction was to try to open a U.S. account elsewhere. Had no luck with that whatsoever. It’s next to impossible. There likely are some sneaky ways to do it, but I’m not very sneaky. Turned out not to be necessary.


    3. P.S. again: Interestingly, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City has a large Social Security department. When I went there a decade ago to get my SS payments going, I was the only Gringo. Everybody else waiting was Mexican. What the meaning of that is … I do not know.


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