If you’re a freelancer, stay-at-home mom, college student, fresh graduate, or just someone without a stable income (or no income at all), you know how hard it is to qualify for a credit card.
Most credit cards in the Philippines require proof of income such as payslips, certificate of employment, income tax return, and DTI or SEC registration papers (for business owners.)
Don’t have any of these documents? No problem. You can still enjoy the perks of a credit card minus the hassles of securing income documents by choosing one of these alternatives: secured credit cards, supplementary credit cards, and prepaid cards.
All these financial tools share the same functions and benefits that credit cards provide, except that they don’t require income documents and conduct background checks. Unemployed or self-employed Filipinos with no fixed income or zero/poor credit history can easily get such credit card alternatives.
A secured credit card is one and the same as a regular credit card. Check the “Secured vs. Unsecured Credit Cards” section of this guide to find out the pros and cons of both secured and regular cards.
For secured cards, banks require collateral in the form of a savings or time deposit account. The credit limit is a percentage, from 80% to 95%, of the deposit amount. To maintain the credit limit, you must keep the deposit for over at least one year. You may request the bank to convert your secured credit card to a regular card after 12 months.
Because of the collateral, it’s easy to get approved for a secured credit card without having to submit any income document. Any missed credit card payment or unpaid balance is deducted from the cardholder’s bank account.
|Secured Credit Cards||Available Cards||Minimum Deposit||Credit Limit|
|AUB Secured Credit Card||Any AUB credit card||PHP 25,000 for AUB Easy Mastercard (higher for other AUB credit cards)||80% of deposit|
|BPI Express Start||Any BPI credit card||PHP 10,000 (savings account) / PHP 50,000 (time deposit)||90% of deposit|
|Metrobank Save and Swipe||Any Metrobank credit card||PHP 12,000||90% of deposit|
|RCBC Bankard InstaCard||Any RCBC Bankard||PHP 10,000 / USD 2,000||95% of deposit|
|Security Bank Fast Track||Any Security Bank Mastercard||PHP 15,000 (savings account) / PHP 100,000 (time deposit)||80% of deposit|
Simply go to a branch of your bank and tell the staff that you’re applying for a secured card. The bank will require you to open a deposit account (if you don’t have one with the bank yet), fill out an application form and a Deed of Assignment form, and present a valid ID.
Most banks in the Philippines issue supplementary cards as an extension of the credit they offer to their primary (or principal) cardholders. A bank may offer from three up to seven supplementary cards to their credit card customers.
Supplementary cards are usually passed on to family members, especially those who aren’t qualified for a regular credit card due to age or lack of income. Supplementary cardholders can be a primary cardholder’s unemployed spouse and siblings, children (at least 13 years old), and aging parents.
Like regular cards, supplementary cards are meant for cashless transactions. They also earn rewards, qualify for promos, and share the same credit limit with the primary card. However, the primary cardholder has the full control of how much each supplementary cardholder can spend.
You can’t apply for a supplementary card by yourself. Banks allow only the primary cardholder to file the application for supplementary cards. So if you want one, ask a family member who owns a credit card to enroll you as his or her beneficiary. If no one in the family has a credit card yet, you may try to ask anyone who might be qualified for a credit card to apply for one and sign you up for a supplementary card.
Once someone agrees with your request, you go together to the bank to apply for a supplementary credit card. Both of you will complete and sign the application form. You also need to present your photo-bearing valid ID.
Prepaid cards have become a popular alternative to credit cards and debit cards nowadays. All these financial tools allow convenient cashless transactions in any establishment that accepts Visa or Mastercard.
Before you can use a prepaid card, you have to reload it with money. Topping up a prepaid card several times may be inconvenient, but it can be an advantage in the sense that you won’t overspend unlike when you use a credit card. With a prepaid card, you’re limited to spending the amount you’ve loaded into it. And unlike debit cards, you don’t need to open a bank account to get a prepaid card.
Prepaid cards have these features in common:
|Prepaid Cards||Card Network||Unique Features||Fees||Maximum Reloading Amount||Validity Period|
|BDO Cash Card||Mastercard||N/A||One-time card fee: PHP 150|
Reload fee: PHP 15
|PHP 10,000 / PHP 25,000 /|
|Displayed on the card|
|BDO Visa Travel Money Card||Visa||One-time card fee: PHP 400|
Reload fee: PHP 100
|USD 12,000 or equivalent in other foreign currency||5 years|
BPI Amore Visa Prepaid
|Visa||One-time card fee: PHP 200|
Monthly maintenance fee: PHP 100
|PHP 100,000||4 years|
|BPI ePay Mastercard||Mastercard||N/A||One-time card fee: PHP 300|
Periodic fee: PHP 99 (charged at the start of the third and fourth year)
|PHP 100,000||4 years|
|BPI Express Cash||Mastercard||N/A||N/A||PHP 20,000||2 years|
|BPI More Fun Visa Prepaid Card||Visa||Customizable card design||One-time card fee: PHP 300 / PHP 350|
Additional fee: PHP 100 for delivery outside Metro Manila
|PHP 100,000 per month||18 months|
BPI My ePrepaid MasterCard
|Mastercard||Link to a PayPal account||One-time card fee: PHP 500 (Metro Manila) or PHP 600 (outside Metro Manila)||PHP 100,000||2 years|
|EastWest Prepaid Card||Visa||N/A||One-time card fee: PHP 100||PHP 100,000||N/A|
|EastWest Travel Money Card||Visa||One-time card fee: PHP 500|
Reloading fee: USD/EUR/GBP/AUD 5, HKD 50, or JPY 500
|Equivalent to USD 12,000 combined currencies||N/A|
|GCash MasterCard||Mastercard||One-time card fee: PHP 150|
With beep: PHP 210
|PHP 12,000||5 years|
|GCash American Express Virtual Pay||American Express||Annual fee: PHP 250||GCash wallet cap||Displayed on the card|
|PayMaya||Mastercard/Visa||One-time card fee: PHP 150||PHP 50,000 /|
PHP 100,000 per month
|PSBank Prepaid Mastercard||Mastercard||N/A||Reload fee: PHP 10 (via PSBank branch)||PHP 100,000 per month||N/A|
|Smart Money||Mastercard||N/A||Reloading fee: PHP 2.50 (via mobile banking)||PHP 50,000||5 years|
|UnionBank EON||Visa||N/A||Annual fee: PHP 100 / PHP 200 / PHP 350||PHP 5,000 up to|
|YAZZ Card||Visa||Comes with PHP 50 initial load||One-time card fee: PHP 300|
Reloading fee: PHP 20
You can visit any branch of your chosen bank or use its online application facility. Present a valid ID and complete an application form. As for non-bank prepaid cards, you can buy them directly from their respective websites or partner retailers.
Which of these credit card alternatives suit your needs best? Have you tried applying for one? Share your thoughts or experience with us!