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Where the bloody hell is my credit card?

These bloody Australians won’t give me a credit card.

I am most aggrieved. Last week, I applied again, online, on the off chance, and got an automated rejection with the reassurance that the bank would explain all in a letter to follow. Last week the promised letter arrived (it cast no light on the reason for the rejection), followed today by an application for a Visa debit card.

Which is nice of them, but since I already possess one of their ATM Maestro cards, I don’t really see the point.

This is not the first time I have applied. When I first opened a bank account, my personal banker was terribly eager to sign me up for one; presumably, credit-card sales are one of her KPIs. After I was rejected (something I expected, given that I was a recent immigrant), she informed me that I’d need to have worked in the country for at least three months for them to even consider anything.

This did not stop her from trying to get me to apply for a credit card, again, two weeks later. I reminded her, politely, that I was unlikely to succeed.

So, back to spending on my South African credit cards and servicing debt at 24% (27,3% on the Clicks credit card). Happy times. I’d love to do without them, really. But this week I am planning to buy a washer/dryer and a fridge online and in order to do that, I have to pay with a credit card.

There was a time when I didn’t have quite such a toxic relationship with plastic. I still think fondly of the good times, when I paid my credit cards off in full every month. It made sense because overall it was the cheapest way to make purchases, even taking the annual fee into consideration.

That’s long since past. Once debt starts piling up, it’s hard to whittle it away. Moving to Australia, with the air tickets and the need to pony up many, many thousands of rondts in order to pay the bond on a rental apartment, put my cards under considerable strain.

Now that I am moving to an unfurnished place, which, not unexpectedly, requires furnishing, out come the credit cards again. I had looked at hiring furniture, but it works out cheaper over six months just to buy things from Ikea or Seconds World, or, indeed,

My plan is to pay off my South African credit cards as fast as possible, but as long as I keep using them, that’s going to take longer than I’d like. As it is, transferring currency into my South African bank account costs $32, more than R200, every time, which I resent.

In the Panglossian best of all possible worlds, I’d wean myself off credit cards altogether. One day. In the meantime, where the bloody hell is my Aussie credit card?


  • During the day Sarah Britten is a communication strategist; by night she writes books and blog entries. And sometimes paints. With lipstick. It helps to have insomnia.