I applied for a lower-rate credit card the other day on the phone, thinking that would be easier than online because whenever I apply for something online I end up on the phone with someone eventually anyway. I figured I’d just cut to the chase.
A nice man named Tom with a southern drawl led me through the process. Towards the end, he said he would ask some questions about my history to verify that I was who I said I was.
“Which of the following addresses have you ever lived at?” [Yes, you and I both know that’s a grammatically incorrect question, but I was not going to interrupt him and put my 6.9% APR at risk]
My heart started to beat faster. I’ve lived in my current house for 18 years and plan to be here forever or longer, if I can manage. My general memory for things is three years at best. I might be in trouble.
Tom rattled off an address I didn’t recognize. “Nope, I never lived there.” Then another that had no familiar ring. And it was in Indianapolis. I’ve never lived in Indiana. But wait, ex-husband #2 did.
“Uh, I think that may be where my ex-husband lives,” I noted. Apparently, when it comes to credit, neither death or divorce do you part.
Tom continued to list addresses.
“Yeah, that was mine, I think,” I said brightly. Then, “Nope, that was my most recent ex’s mother’s address. He lived with her for awhile before…”
I trailed off because I could hear the sound of Tom typing at the other end. Probably something about how someone who had been through two husbands couldn’t be trusted with her own credit card.
He then changed tacts and started asking about vehicles I had owned. Really, is that fair? Except for the Honda Accord which I loved like a dog (and after 15 years of hauling canines, it may well have been one), I don’t know the make and model of anything I’ve driven. I’m a girl — ask me about the brand of make-up I wear or what scent I prefer in my shampoo.
I made some guesses and Tom typed some more.
“Just one more set of questions,” Tom said. “Other than a house, can you name one major purchase you and Ian made?”
Ian, I wondered, who is Ian? It took me a full minute to realize who he was talking about.
“Oh, you mean Ivan, my first ex-husband.”
I could hear poor Tom trying to stifle a chuckle. I jokingly said “Ian” and I didn’t purchase anything big because he was cheap. Tom didn’t laugh; he just continued typing.
“Well, that’s it, ma’am. Your application will be processed and if approved, will arrive in 2-3 weeks.” He exhaled slightly and I thought I heard him whisper, “Don’t hold your breath.”