Credit Cards? They Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Credit Cards

What they do need are Green Cards.  You know, Permanent Resident cards that show they’re in the country legally?  Wait, before I get even more ahead of myself, here’s the story that’s got me so miffed:

Bank of America Corp. has begun offering credit cards to customers without Social Security numbers, typically illegal immigrants, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

In recent years, banks across the country have been offering checking accounts and even mortgages to the nation’s fast-growing ranks of undocumented immigrants, most of whom are Hispanic, the paper said, adding these immigrants generally have not been able to get major credit cards.

The new Bank of America card is open to people who lack both a Social Security number and a credit history, as long as they have held a checking account with the bank for three months without an overdraft, the Journal said.

Bank of America tested the program last year at five branches in Los Angeles, and last week expanded it to 51 branches in Los Angeles County, home to the largest concentration of illegal immigrants in the U.S., the Journal said.

Have you ever tried to open a bank account without a Social Security number?  I haven’t, but it’s always the first thing they ask for, besides a driver’s license–which you can’t get without a social security number.  Which begets the obvious question: how do they do it?  After some debacles when I was younger, it took years to fix my credit to where I could even get a credit card.  I should’ve just pretended to be an illegal alien, right? 

So.  What’s in your wallet?

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8 thoughts on “Credit Cards? They Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Credit Cards

  1. Hey we’re talking about America here. They may not be citizens but they’re consumers, and as far as any government or corporation is concerned, that’s far more important. Oh and they work for cheap. Yah to economics, boo to human rights.

    Let’s not complain too much when the underclass catches a little break, mmmkay?

  2. Mmft. Yes, we are talking about America. And our government subsidizes these banks. The fees we pay are supposed to help with that whole “FDIC insured” thing, remember?

    Not only should employers who fail to enforce immigration laws be heavily fined, so should banks who profiteer off of this breaking of the law.

    I don’t really blame the illegals for coming here. I’m sure I’d do the same thing if I saw how much better it was here than back home. But that’s not the point at all. Banks, insurance companies, you name it, all benefit from the economic infrastructure that we, the taxpayers, have subsidized. And since at least 25% of my pay gets taken from me before I ever see it, I think I have a right to bitch. If you want to work here, then pay for the right to work here like the rest of us. And if you are a company, bank, or other entity that enables and/or profits from an illegal situation, then you should be fined out the nose.

  3. I’m a natural born U.S. citizen and I can’t open a savings account at the Chase bank down the street without proof of who i am and that I am a legal resident. Something to do with the Patriot Act or something. Glad to see that a credit card can be obtained so easily.

  4. I would say if you want them to pay for the right to work here, you should give them the ability to pay for the right to work here. I’ll admit that I’m no expert on American immigration law, but I’m sure declaring income tax would throw a pretty big target on them. Not to mention that I’m sure they’re usually paid less to begin with, simply because of their status.

    Regardless I can see your point. It’s certainly not good, from a social/political perspective, to have “free riders.”

    I know in Canada in the construction industry they (at least sometimes..read one article) still pay income tax…somehow…I dunno.

    For me the bottom line is they ain’t getting it easy. Whether they’re paying income tax or not, and whether they’re getting credit cards or not, on the whole they’ve got it pretty tough.

    Just out of curiosity, what part of the country are you in Jamie?

  5. Which begets the obvious question: how do they do it?

    Let the website of the Peoples’ Republic of San Francisco answer your question, Jamie.

    If you want to know how to lay your hands on a matricula consular, the last I heard, it was a matter of buying a Mexican birth certificate for $10 and paying the consulate $26 or so. As anti-illegal immigration activists will happily tell you, some of them enjoyed it so much, they went back for three different ones. 😉

    And if you want to know why banks are doing this, it’s quite simple, as laid out here; as they pointed out, immigrants were remitting upwards of $30 billion dollars to Mexico annually at an average cost of 7.32% — a total of nearly 2.1 billion in fees — and banks were doing less than 3% of that business.

    It’s a slam-dunk business model. Wells and BoA, just to name two, already have a huge network of ATMs and bank linkages in Mexico; this exponentially multiplies both the amount of funds AND the amount of transfer, withdrawal, interest, and other fees they can charge.

  6. Well, banks for years have been giving people ineligible for SSNs checking accounts and even home mortgages based on individual taxpayer identification numbers issued by the IRS. I imagine this is an outgrowth of that. The PATRIOT Act even specifically outlines procedures for getting a checking account without a SSN.

    Bank of America credit policy is probably such that all you need is the checking account to get the card (and this probably applies to US residents and legal aliens as well as illegal or ineligible aliens). The problem isn’t the bank, really, but the IRS that gives these kinds of entry points into the system.

  7. Actually, they are getting it fairly easily. Maybe not on great terms (these cards carry a yearly fee, an interest rate of 21% or up and can only be used to charge around $500), but the ITINs are fairly easy to get. The IRS also has a history of offering disclosure protection from the INS for illegals applying for ITINs.

    Basically, ITINs mean that an illegal can not only get a checking account and now a credit card, but can also file income tax to receive a refund with impunity because the IRS has effectively circumvented immigration law and policy.

  8. That’s big business for you. Anything to make a buck.
    Oh and disregard the other reply. I still can’t get use to wordpress with the comments on top unlike blogger with the comments where they’re suppose to be….. After the post!

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