The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

5 February 2007

"We built this." - Citi

As conspiracy theories go, this has to be one of the best:

[T]he Patriot Act is a government plot written by the credit-card companies to force all Americans into eternal debt slavery. My eureka moment (or "awakening," in conspiracy-theorist terms) came when I tried opening a savings account at a local bank.

I already have a savings account, of course, but I'm fed up with my current bank because they keep making bonehead mistakes that take forever to fix. So I figured I'd switch to another one just down the street. Unfortunately, itís illegal for me to open a new bank account right now because I donít have the required paperwork. Specifically, the Patriot Act requires a person opening a savings account to have two forms of ID but I only had one with me — a driverís license.

Here's where it gets convoluted:

[F]or a second form of identification, I can use a credit card. So can you. We've all seen news stories about toddlers or housepets being issued credit cards in their names. Hell, I once had a VISA gold card issued to me and maxed out before I even knew I had it.

Legally, I need no proof of identity to get into credit-card debt, yet credit-card debt (or at least acquiring the means to get into it) counts as one of the forms of ID the government requires before I'm allowed to save money rather than owe it.

This sounds like a good argument for a Swiss bank account. Then again, if you want to deal with, say, Credit Suisse, you might as well go to Singapore.

Posted at 7:43 AM to Common Cents