Thursday, June 26, 2008

International credit card

      An international credit card is a credit card issued by a financial institute outside of the US. I learned it today; well, to be exact, I was asked to verify my "international" credit card today.

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      I did an online purchase over the weekend. I checked my order status from their website many times yesterday and it showed they're still verifying my credit card information. I figured they were just slow given they closed over 60% of their retail stores not long ago nationwide. I felt a bit uneasy, but what could I do? (Yeah, canceling my order did cross my mind.)

      This morning I checked it again online and it showed a different message--they wanted me to call them to verify my credit card information, so I called. The first rep I talked to asked me if my credit card was an international credit card. This was the first time I was asked this kind of question but it wasn't hard to understand anyway, so I said "No". Then he asked what country I got it from (it felt like the joke--"How many kids do you have?" "Two." "How wonderful! Are you married?")

      "The United States," I replied. I guess there was nothing further he could do at that point, so he told me he'd transfer me to the credit department. The transfer didn't take long. The lady from the credit department was a cheerful one, which helped to ease my nerve. She explained their record showed I was holding an international credit card and it did sometimes happen, and then she asked, again the question, what country I got it from.

      What could I say? I mean, the issuing bank is a big one in the US (and I assume it also shows on their record), and I did all the credit card application for this particular card years after I came to the states, and now they're telling me it's not? Anyway, I told the lady so and said I had no idea why it showed on their record that my credit card wasn't domestic. She acknowledged my explanation and asked the phone number on the back of my credit card. She told me to hold and a moment later she said "You're right and we're wrong. It's not an international credit card." Apparently she called the issuing bank of my credit card.

      The rest was just formality. She made sure the address I gave them was correct, apologized for the inconvenience, and then bid me goodbye. After I hung up the phone, I checked my online record again and it showed "Verified online". At least this part is quick.