Apply for a goldcard in Indonesia and next thing to arrive at your door won't be a piece of plastic. It is likely to be a private investigator checking out the veracity of a credit application.

"The bank will hire a private investigator to check out where you live and to go to your office to see if you really are the managing director or just the tea boy," said an Asian banker. "Shoe leather, as you say, is the best alternative we have."

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