These posts, indeed, bring memories back. Believe it or not, I had no idea what credit card is till the age of 23 ( I was born, brought up and lived my first 23 years in former Soviet Union). When I arrived to Israel in 1991, an immigration officer said that I should open personal bank account which baffled me very much. When year later I got phone call from my bank and was offered credit card I had very vague idea what rep was talking about and probably because of my financial illiteracy they gave me a huge CL.
It was the late 80's and someone told me start with a gas card. I did and Mobil sent one off. Then Texaco, Exxon, Sunoco, Shell... (Gas cards were easy!) Then, I think it was Citibank Visa, followed by Amex Green. At that point, I was "in". If I applied, I got one. The limits kept increasing. The MBNA and Citi cards had lines of 20-$28,000. Then I really blew it.
Quicken Card Mastercard $5k limit at 18. followed by associates, G&M or something like that, Neiman Marcus, Express, Banana Republic, Lazarus, Amex Blue the week it came out. (so many poeple applied it took them about month to process it, but when it arrived, worth the wait $5900) oh the days of good credit!
My first card was Sears. Don't remember the limit but first purchase was a stereo with a turntable for those LP's. Made 1 minimum payment. When the next month's bill came I saw the cost of paying with credit card and PIF. If only I had kept that up!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kept that card through a bankruptcy. Sears made the mistake of claiming that the items that were purchased were secured and in a class action suit our $1000 account balance was brought to $0.00 and Sears paid us $1500 in settlement as well. Then had some hard times and card balance was charged off. Card rolled off my account in September and FICO's dropped because even though it was a charge off, the history was from 1982. Thanks to what I have learned here, they have now rebounded. On the topic of the raised numbers that wore off--I remember goint to get gas and the numbers on my Texaco card being worn down. The attendant put another card under mine to raise it up enough so the numbers would imprint. When that no longer worked they took a pencil and did a rubbing over the card to imprint.
My family never used credit cards until I was in high school. I wanted a computer so my mother applied for and got a Lechmere card w/$1000 CL. (anybody else remember Lechmere? It was like Best Buy, only it sucked).
Anyway, my first cards were in Spring 1988 after filling out two applications in my college cafeteria lobby-first was the Citibank Visa w/$500 CL (the account number only had 13 digits) and my mother co-signed on a Chemical Bank MC w/$750 CL. I thought that was all the money in the world. I wound up having them both charged off in 1991 when the recession hit me hard.
My mother got a Chemical Bank MC on the same applicaiton w/$1000 CL. She still has the same card today (now Chase) with a $50,000 CL. She PIFs every month and I think she said her highest balance ever was $300.
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