While housing and utilities overseas are covered for diplomats, certain expenses like cable fall under our responsibility. Throughout my first tour in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a monthly adventure awaited me – paying my cable bill. Although there’s the convenience of using a cell app for this purpose, it never quite worked for me due to persistent technical difficulties. At that time, I only had a debit card, which posed challenges whenever I attempted to pay online for most things in Brazil.
Despite these hurdles, the reality remained – I had to pay my cable bill. After all, I wanted to watch T.V. and, more importantly, have internet in my house. So, what was I to do?
I opted for the old-fashioned way of paying my cable bill. In Brazil, one method involves visiting the Loterica, a place that sells lottery tickets. However, this process isn’t as straightforward as swiping your debit or credit card. No, it entails a bit more.
Upon receiving the monthly bill from the cable company, my first step was heading to the ATM to withdraw the required amount in cash. The Loterica also required a physical copy of the bill to locate your information in their system. So, I had to visit a nearby print shop to get a hard copy of the bill. Fortunately, there was a print shop just a few feet away from the Loterica I typically went to.
Armed with cash and a physical copy of the bill, I provided my CPF number to the attendant. In Brazil, a CPF number, equivalent to a U.S. Social Security number, is necessary for most transactions. This 11-digit number is essential for Brazilians and residents to fulfill their tax obligations directly or indirectly in Brazil.
In 9 out of 10 instances, following this procedure resulted in a receipt confirming the successful payment of my cable bill. However, there were occasional hiccups when they couldn’t locate me in the system or some other issues.
Paying my cable bill in Brazil always kept me on my toes.
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