A couple of weeks ago I had a credit card scare. It was another night of having trouble falling asleep which ended up being a good thing because I received a text from my dad around midnight saying I needed to call my bank asap because there was a possible fraud on my account. So I called, took care of things, activated a card I’d failed to activate before I left, and then had set a time to call back the following day to reset the pin on the newly activated card… and the fraud papers were in the mail. When I called back they said that the card I’d called about with fraud showed that they decided it wasn’t fraud, and the charges we originally determined were fraud were no longer on there… and the card I thought I’d activated wasn’t in the system (in fact, it wasn’t even that bank… it was another bank). So, I’m not sure what went wrong, but I’m glad everything worked out because I had some online shopping to do (it’s almost summer which means swimsuit season!!! Plus, gotta get rid of this TERRIBLE tan line I now have from the really bad- oops- burn from last week).
Anyways, just as I was placing an order for a swimsuit in America, one of my students walked in my room (she’d just finished her math lessons with my host dad). She saw my credit card and asked what it was, so I explained it to her. It was the first time she’d ever seen one, and it was a hard concept for her to grasp. For me, however, it is a hard concept not to grasp NOT having a credit/debit card since I’ve had once since I opened my first bank account… I think when I was 15? 16? (I can’t remember). But it makes sense why credit cards aren’t as widely used here… first of all, it’s the village. I don’t think the mini-stores/bars that are here even accept cards. But also, my host mom told me a story… when her kids were growing up, they created accounts at the post office (because here the post office somehow acts like a bank) and they saved money for their kids so that they could have money to get life started once they finished school and got married. She said they had a nice sum saved up- but then Moldova became independent, and as soon as that happened all of their money that was supposed to be safe in the bank disappeared. Since then she doesn’t trust putting what money she has in the hands of anyone else but herself and her husband, and it makes sense. I think this was such the case for many people here, which is also why credit cards aren’t very widespread (and also why people are “poor”, but not in debt).
However, like someone told me over the weekend… “It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or if you’re poor if you have your family near… because they mean more than money can ever buy”. (This was probably said by my host mom, but I can’t remember now).