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Can Expats in the Philippines Get a Credit Card? Yes—Here's How

Rouselle Isla

Rouselle Isla

Last updated September 26, 2023

Have you been living in the Philippines as an expat for some time now and plan to stay longer? Getting a Philippine credit card for foreigners is critical to managing your finances. It will make living in your second home easier and safer than always paying in cash.

Learn more about credit cards for expats in the Philippines in this comprehensive guide. 

Why You Should Get a Credit Card for Expats 

credit cards for expats - why should you get one

Credit cards are beneficial, even if many transactions in the Philippines are cash-based. You can use a credit card in big malls, upscale hotels and restaurants, gas stations, pharmacies, and other businesses with a Visa or Mastercard signage. 

Moreover, you can use your credit card for electronic transactions such as online shopping, booking flights and hotels, and utility bill payments.

Even if you already have a card from your home country, getting a locally-issued credit card for practical reasons makes sense. Some businesses in the Philippines, especially smaller ones, don't accept international credit cards as a payment mode. If you have American Express, Discover, or Diners Club, you won't be able to use it as much as a Visa or Mastercard.

An expat credit card is also less expensive to use than an international card. You won't have to pay a foreign transaction fee for every purchase charged to a locally-issued credit card.

Best Credit Cards for Expats in the Philippines

Can a foreigner apply for a credit card in the Philippines? Yes, you can apply and be issued a credit card for foreigners if you apply at a bank that issues it: 

  • Bank of Commerce
  • BPI
  • China Bank
  • Equicom Savings Bank
  • HSBC
  • Metrobank
  • Philippine National Bank
  • PSBank
  • Robinsons Bank
  • UnionBank

Check out some of the credit cards you can apply for as a foreign resident in the Philippines: 

Credit Card Key Features
UnionBank Rewards Credit Card
UnionBank Rewards Credit Card - Aug 2023
APPLY NOW
  • 1 point per ₱30 spend
  • 3x points for shopping and dining in the Philippines and overseas
Metrobank World Mastercard®
metrobank WORLD MASTERCARD
APPLY NOW
  • Up to 50% off on dining deals
  • 1 rewards point for every ₱20 spend 
  • 2x rewards points for every ₱20 international spend
HSBC Platinum Visa Rebate
HSBC_VISA_PLATINUM
APPLY NOW
  • 5% cashback on travel transactions
  • Free travel insurance
  • 6% rebate on the first Caltex fuel purchase plus a 3% fuel rebate all year round
BPI Gold Mastercard
BPI-Gold-Mastercard
bpi gold
  • 1 BPI Point for every ₱35 spend
  • 0% installment plans
  • Free travel insurance of up to ₱10 million
PNB-PAL Mabuhay Miles NOW Mastercard
pnb pal mabuhay miles now
COMPARE NOW
  • 1,000 Mabuhay Miles welcome gift
  • 5% discount on select international flights with PAL all year round when you book at the official PAL website

 

Here's a closer look at these cards and more: 

💳 UnionBank Rewards Credit Card

UnionBank Rewards Credit Card
  • Minimum monthly income requirement: ₱15,000
  • Annual fee: ₱2,500
  • Interest rate: 3%
  • Late payment fee: ₱1,000 
  • Overlimit fee: ₱500
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200

With the UnionBank Rewards Credit Card, you can earn rewards points for every ₱30 spent. Plus, earn 3x rewards points for your shopping and dining expenses here and abroad. 

Moreover, your UnionBank credit card comes with security and protection, and you can access your UnionBank credit card account anytime via UnionBank Online. 

Read more: 


🎁 Free Welcome Gift: No Annual Fee for Life Plus Maximum Rewards for U!

moneymax unionbank rewards credit card no annual fee promo

Eligible card: UnionBank Rewards Credit Card

Promo period: Until February 29, 2024

Say goodbye to annual fees forever and hello to next-level rewards with your new UnionBank Rewards Card! Just apply via Moneymax and get approved within the promo period, and then meet the ₱20,000 spend requirement within 60 days from your card approval date.

This Moneymax UnionBank Rewards Credit Card No Annual Fee Promo runs until February 29, 2024 only. Per DTI Fair Trade Permit No. FTEB-178773 Series of 2023.

Note: The promo is exclusive to applicants who do not have an existing principal credit card issued by UnionBank and/or Citi.


💳 Metrobank Titanium Mastercard® 

Metrobank Titanium
  • Minimum monthly income requirement: ₱15,000 
  • Annual fee: ₱2,500 (waived if you apply until February 29, 2024, and meet the annual spend requirement of ₱180,000)
  • Interest rate: 3%
  • Late payment fee: ₱1,000 or unpaid minimum amount due, whichever is lower
  • Overlimit fee: ₱750
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200 per transaction

With the Metrobank Titanium Mastercard® you earn 1 rewards point for every 20 spend. You also earn double rewards points when you use it for online, department store, and dining transactions. 

Pay in affordable installments of up to 24 months, and enjoy worry-free shopping with its E-Commerce Protection. 

Read more: Is This Rewards Card Worth It? Metrobank Titanium Mastercard Review

💳 Metrobank Platinum Mastercard®

Metrobank Peso Platinum Mastercard
  • Minimum monthly income requirement: ₱58,333
  • Annual fee: ₱5,000 (waived if you meet the ₱400,000 minimum annual spend until October 31, 2023)
  • Interest rate: 3%
  • Late payment fee: ₱1,000 or unpaid minimum amount due, whichever is lower
  • Overlimit fee: ₱750
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200 per transaction

With Your Metrobank Platinum Mastercard®, you can enjoy up to 50% discount on premium dining offers and up to US$200 worth of eCommerce Purchase Protection. Moreover, you earn 1 rewards point for every ₱20 you spend. 

💳 Metrobank World Mastercard®

Metrobank World Mastercard
  • Minimum monthly income requirement: ₱333,333
  • Annual fee: ₱6,000 (waived for a ₱600,000 minimum annual spend until October 31, 2023)
  • Interest rate: 3%
  • Late payment fee: ₱1,000 
  • Overlimit fee: ₱500
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200

The Metrobank World Mastercard® lets you enjoy up to 50% deals on luxury dining offers. Your online purchases also get automatic insurance via the Mastecard E-Commerce Protection.  

It’s a great credit card for foreigners as it has lounge membership to more than 500 airport lounges in over 1,000 airports. 


🎁 Free Gift from Moneymax: ₱2,500 eGift, Xiaomi Redmi Soundbar, or JBL Wave Beam True Wireless Earbuds 

moneymax metrobank credit card promo - giftaway egift xiaomi redmi soundbar jbl wireless earbuds

Eligible cards: Metrobank Titanium Mastercard®, Platinum Mastercard®, and World Mastercard®

Promo period: Until February 29, 2024

How do you get a Metrobank credit card welcome gift? Simple! Just apply and get approved for any eligible card through the Moneymax website.

Choose from a ₱2,500 eGift voucher via Giftaway, a Xiaomi Redmi Soundbar (worth ₱2,499), or JBL Wave Beam True Wireless Earbuds (worth ₱3,799) as your free special gift.

This Moneymax Metrobank eGift/Xiaomi/JBL promo runs until February 29, 2024 only. So hurry and apply now!

Per DTI Fair Trade Permit No. FTEB-184526 Series of 2024. Terms and conditions apply.

Note: Applicant must be an existing credit cardholder in good standing for at least nine months.


💳 HSBC Red Mastercard 

HSBC Red Mastercard
  • Minimum monthly income requirement: ₱16,667
  • Annual fee: ₱2,500 (waived on the first year)
  • Interest rate: 3%
  • Late payment fee: ₱1,000 or the unpaid minimum amount due, whichever is lower 
  • Overlimit fee: ₱800
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200

You can use the HSBC Red Mastercard at more than 27,000 establishments in more than 160 countries. Earn 4x Bonus Points when you dine and shop online or overseas, and get a 6% rebate on your first Caltex fuel purchase. 

Related: Moneymax Reviews: Enjoy 4x the Fun with HSBC Red Mastercard

💳 HSBC Gold Visa Cash Back

HSBC Gold Visa Cashback
  • Minimum monthly income requirement: ₱16,667
  • Annual fee: ₱2,500 (waived on the first year) 
  • Interest rate: 3%
  • Late payment fee: ₱1,000 or the unpaid minimum amount due, whichever is lower 
  • Overlimit fee: ₱800
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200

Another excellent option for a credit card for expats is the Gold Visa Cash Back from HSBC. 

Earn a 5% cash back on your dining transactions and 0.5% on all your other spending. Plus, you receive a 3% cashback on your Caltex fuel purchases.  

💳 HSBC Platinum Visa Rebate

HSBC CC Blog Visual CTA - HSBC Platinum Visa Rebate

 

  • Minimum monthly income requirement: ₱41,667
  • Annual fee: ₱5,000 (waived on the first year) 
  • Interest rate: 3%
  • Late payment fee: ₱1,000 or the unpaid minimum amount due, whichever is lower 
  • Overlimit fee: ₱800
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200

Here’s another rebate credit card from HSBC. It lets you earn a 5% rebate on your travel and online shopping spend. You also get a 1% rebate on insurance and 0.5% on all other spending.

Moreover, you can get up to ₱10 million in travel insurance coverage when you charge your travel expenses to your HSBC Platinum Visa Rebate card.  


🎁 Free Gift from Moneymax: Giftaway Credits, Infinity Audio Clubz 250, or JBL Tune 520 BT

moneymax hsbc credit card promo - giftaway infinity jbl

Eligible cards: HSBC Red Mastercard, Gold Visa Cash Back, and Platinum Visa Rebate

Promo period: Until February 29, 2024

Not an HSBC credit cardholder yet? Apply for an HSBC card through Moneymax during the promo period (and get approved subsequently) to receive an exciting free welcome gift! Choose from free Giftaway credits worth ₱2,500, Infinity Audio Clubz 250 worth ₱2,599, and JBL Tune 520 BT worth ₱3,349. 

This Moneymax HSBC Giftaway/Infinity Audio/JBL promo runs until February 29, 2024 only. So hurry and apply now!

Per DTI Fair Trade Permit No. FTEB-184120 Series of 2024. Terms and conditions apply. 


💳 BPI Gold Mastercard

BPI Gold Rewards Card
  • Minimum monthly income requirement: ₱40,000
  • Annual fee: ₱2,250 (waived on the first year) 
  • Interest rate: 3%
  • Late payment fee: ₱850 or the unpaid minimum amount due, whichever is lower 
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200

Earn 1 BPI point for every ₱35 spend on your BPI Gold Mastercard. You can also avail of its 0% installment plans with terms of up to 36 months. Moreover, you can withdraw up to 70% of your credit limit when you do a cash advance. 

Read more: 

💳 PNB-PAL Mabuhay Miles NOW Mastercard

PNB PAL NOW
  • Minimum monthly income requirement: ₱10,000
  • Annual fee: ₱1,000 (waived for the first three years) 
  • Interest rate: 3%
  • Late payment fee: ₱1,000 or US$20 or the unpaid minimum amount due, whichever is lower 
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200

If you’re a frequent flyer, you can benefit from having a credit like the PNB-PAL Mabuhay Miles NOW. Aside from receiving 1,000 Mabuhay Miles as a welcome gift, you also enjoy an all-year online discount at Philippine Airlines. 

How to Choose a Credit Card for Foreigners

What, then, are the best credit cards for expats in the Philippines? Asking your Filipino colleagues and friends this question might leave you with confusing answers. Even your fellow expatriates might give you so many recommendations that you'd have difficulty picking the right card.

Only you can determine the card that will be most useful throughout your stay in the Philippines. Why? Because only you know exactly what you need in a credit card.

Will you use a card frequently for shopping, groceries, fuel, travel, hanging out in bars, or dining in restaurants? List down the expenses you'll most likely charge to a credit card. The best credit card offers the highest rewards—at the lowest cost—for your largest spending categories.

👉 Tips on Choosing a Foreigner Credit Card

  • Compare credit cards. Make your hunt for the right credit card for foreigners a quick, hassle-free experience with the help of a credit card comparison site like Moneymax.
  • Get a cashback credit card that provides the highest rebates if you're looking for a card to cover your daily expenses (groceries, dining, medicines, utilities, etc.).
  • Go for a credit card with great rewards for overseas purchases and with no foreign transaction fee if you often travel back and forth between the Philippines and your home country for business or leisure.
  • Get an air miles credit card if you frequently book flights and hotel accommodations and want to save money on your future bookings.
  • Choose a shopping credit card that offers rewards and discounts on qualified purchases if you use a credit card primarily for shopping in major malls like SM and Ayala Malls.

How Can Expats Apply for a Credit Card in the Philippines?

credit cards for expats - how to apply

You can apply for a credit card if you're between 21 and 65 years old and a regular employee or business owner in the Philippines.

The application procedure and credit card requirements for expats are the same as those for Filipinos. However, banks require foreigners to submit additional documents as proof of identity and legal status.

Generally, banks require these documents from expats applying for a credit card in the Philippines:

  • Accomplished credit card application form
  • Valid ID (passport, company ID, etc.)
  • Certificate of Employment/Employment Contract
  • Payslips or income tax return (ITR)

Moreover, you must have a landline phone (in your residence, work, or business) to qualify for a credit card.

Check for the credit card’s minimum gross annual income requirement, which is usually at least ₱120,000 to ₱180,000 a year for a basic card. Your gross annual income must be at least ₱420,000 to qualify for a premium credit card.

📋 Additional Credit Card Requirements for Expats

Present the original copy and submit a photocopy of any of the following documents. Ensure that your documents are valid for at least one year before you file your credit card application.

  • Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) or ACR I-Card[1]
  • Immigration Certificate of Residence (ICR)
  • Work permit and Philippine visa
  • Embassy certification or accreditation papers (for diplomats and embassy officials only)

📋 The Credit Card Application Process in the Philippines

You can apply for a credit card personally at any branch of the issuing bank. The bank staff can immediately answer your questions and address your concerns if you talk to them in person.

Alternatively, you can opt for a credit card online application, which is much faster and more convenient. You can apply for a card through the provider's website. Or for more convenience, you can get a credit card through Moneymax. Compare and find the best credit card using this free comparison platform!

Is It Safe to Use Credit Cards in the Philippines?

credit cards for expats - is it safe

You've probably heard horror stories from fellow expats about credit card fraud. Even if you feel relatively safe here, it’s natural to be concerned about credit card security. 

Credit cards in the Philippines carry modern security features such as EMV chip technology and one-time password (OTP) to prevent fraudulent activities. But even with these security features, you must still be a responsible cardholder and know that credit card fraud happens anywhere.  

Watch out for these common credit card scams:

  • Theft - Stealing of credit card from your wallet or bag
  • Skimming - Copying of your personal information from a seemingly valid credit card transaction to make fake cards for unauthorized transactions
  • Identity theft - Scammers posing as bank personnel to get your personal information and make unauthorized transactions using the stolen data
  • Email phishing - Fake emails purportedly from the bank that ask for your credit card information for unauthorized transactions
  • Card replacement scam - Scammers posing as bank personnel who ask you to turn in your credit card for an account upgrade

 

✅ How to Protect Your Credit Card in the Philippines 

Be very careful when using your credit card to avoid getting scammed. Here are some tips:

  • Use your card only in safe and reputable establishments like big shopping malls, hotels, and dining establishments, just to name a few.  
  • Never lose sight of your credit card during transactions.
  • Don’t give your personal and credit card information, especially your birthdate, card number, expiry date, and CVV number, unless you're sure you're transacting with a legitimate, secure website.
  • Prepare a backup card or cash in case you need money and lose your primary credit card.

 

✅ How to Report Credit Card Fraud and Theft in the Philippines

If your credit card gets lost or stolen, or if you notice transactions on your card you didn't make, report the incident immediately to the issuing bank. Banks in the Philippines have 24/7 toll-free hotlines you can call to have your card blocked and prevent further unauthorized transactions.

Here are the customer service hotlines of the major credit card issuers in the Philippines:

Banks Hotlines (Metro Manila) Hotlines (Outside Metro Manila)
BPI 889-10000 1800-188-89100
HSBC 8858-0000 1800-1-888-8555
Metrobank 88-700-700 1800-1888-5775
UnionBank 8841-8600 1800-1888-2277

 

Final Thoughts

Whether you're an expat on long-term employment or a foreign retiree, a credit card for expats in the Philippines is a valuable tool to keep your finances in order. But use your credit card wisely and safely to reap the benefits of owning one. 

Compare credit cards with Moneymax

Source: [1] ACR I-Card (Bureau of Immigration)

Rouselle has over eight years of writing experience in the personal finance niche. She has written feature stories, articles, and how-to guides on various personal finance and trending lifestyle topics. Before that, she briefly worked in banking and was a licensed life insurance advisor. When not writing, Rouselle likes to read books and binge-watch films and series. Follow Rouselle on Linkedin.

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