Nothing Like Your First: Top 12 Credit Cards for First-Timers

Venus Zoleta

Venus Zoleta

Last updated October 01, 2022

Adulting is both a scary and exciting journey, especially for those who plan to start building their credit history and achieve financial independence. For this, credit cards for beginners are one of the best financial tools you can use. 

Applying for a credit card sounds intimidating and complicated, but there are credit cards specially designed for beginners who don’t have a credit history yet. These cards may have low credit limits or limited perks, but they surely serve their purpose of helping you financially throughout your adulting journey. 

So here’s what you need to know about credit cards for beginners to help you choose your best budgeting and spending partner.

Features to Look For in Credit Cards for Beginners

credit cards for beginners - important features

Most credit cards come with a lot of benefits, including discounts, privileges, and even sign-up bonuses. Since this is your first time applying for one, let’s trim down your options. But first, here are the things you should look for when choosing the best credit card for beginners in the Philippines.

Low Annual Fee

Consider credit cards with annual fees not exceeding ₱2,000 so you can save money. Ideally, choose one with no annual fee for life. If you get approved for a card that doesn’t waive the annual membership fee, then find out how you can waive the fees. 

Most credit card issuers set conditions so you can do away with the annual fees. For example, you may need to meet a minimum spend requirement, enroll a biller, or get a supplementary card. It’s good to ask your credit card issuer first before submitting your credit card application.

Low Credit Card Fees

If you're looking for the best credit card for first timers, focus on the two most common fees: the late payment fee and the over limit fee. You get charged an overlimit fee when you spend more than your credit limit, while a late payment fee is charged when your payment is not posted on time. To avoid these fees, pay all your credit card dues on time and keep your credit card usage low. 

Other fees  you should keep note of include foreign transaction fees (if you’re traveling abroad), annual percentage rates, and balance transfer fees.

Your Desired Credit Card Perks

Most credit cards for beginners in the Philippines don't offer as many privileges as the premium types of cards. Still, you can find the best credit cards for starters with perks that appeal to you, whether you want a card with rewards on shopping, travel, dining, or any other spending category.

According to HSBC Senior Vice President and Head of Marketing Anya Katigbak-Cajucom, online comparison platforms like Moneymax can also help you assess depending on your need.

"If you're a first timer, they can provide you with the list of where you can apply for first-timer cards," Anya advised.

"Having a good relationship with the bank would also weigh in, and it's a big difference when you do have a relationship with the bank. Each bank, depending on the relationship, can provide you with your new card."

 

Security Features

As online transactions surge, credit card fraud in the country also increased by 21% since the pandemic.[1] Credit card firms are calling out telecom companies to curb SIM-related fraudulent schemes. However, it’s undeniable that the big chunk of blame in cases of fraud goes to credit card issuers. 

When choosing credit cards for beginners, find out which bank implements the best security measures. 

VisaMastercard

Chip Technology

Chip Technology
Zero Liability PolicyZero Liability Policy

Anti-Phishing Initiatives

Identity Theft Resolution
Account Information Security ProgramSecureCode
Verified by VisaTokenization

Some of the best security features you should look for include:

  • Chip Technology - An embedded microcomputer technology that stores information and can’t be counterfeited
  • Zero Liability Policy - Available in both Mastercard and Visa credit cards. It ensures cardholders will not be responsible for paying fraudulent charges made with the credit card. 
  • Anti-Phishing Initiatives - Visa's anti-phishing measures encourage cardholders to report emails and websites posing to be connected with Visa. 
  • Identity Theft Resolution - This refers to a measure in which cardholders can easily cancel a compromised credit card.
  • Account Information Security Program - A program that eliminates unnecessary information and data storage in compliance with the PCI Security Standards Council.[2]
  • SecureCode - An added security feature at the end of every online transaction that asks for a code to be sent to your mobile number
  • Verified by Visa - A global authentication program that lets Visa verify the identity of the card user in real-time
  • Tokenization - This replaces your Mastercard account number with a token that can be used safely for all contactless payments. 

Top Credit Cards for Beginners in the Philippines

CREDIT CARD

FEATURES & BENEFITS

CITI SIMPLICITY+

Simplicity_visa

 

Apply Now

 

  • Monthly income requirement: PHP 20,833
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Free annual fees for life
  • No late payment fees
  • No overlimit fees

Note: This product is sold by Union Bank of the Philippines, using certain trademarks temporarily under license from Citigroup Inc. and related group entities.

AUB EASY MASTERCARD

credit cards for first-timers - aub easy mastercard

 

 

  • Monthly income requirement: PHP 21,000
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Free annual fees for life
  • 0% interest on new purchases
  • Flexible credit card payment due date

AUB CLASSIC MASTERCARD

credit cards for first-timers - aub classic mastercard
Apply Now
  • Monthly income requirement: PHP 21,000
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Free annual fees for life
  • 0% interest on new purchases
  • Earn 1 reward point for every PHP 20 spend

METROBANK M FREE MASTERCARD

credit cards for first-timers - metrobank m free mastercard
  • Monthly income requirement: PHP 15,000
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Free annual fees for life
  • 0% installment on partner stores
  • Pay instantly with Bills2Pay

METROBANK ON VIRTUAL MASTERCARD

credit cards for first-timers - metrobank on virtual mastercard
Apply Now
  • Monthly income requirement: PHP 15,000
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Waived annual fee on the first year
  • Earn 1 rewards point for every PHP 20 spend
  • Get approved and receive your virtual card in 48 hours

RCBC BANKARD FLEX VISA

credit cards for first-timers - rcbc bankard flex visa

 

  • Monthly income requirement: PHP 20,833
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • 2x rewards points on dining, clothing, travel, and transportation spend
  • With free travel insurance
  • 0% interest on installment purchases

UNIONBANK CLASSIC VISA

credit cards for first-timers - unionbank classic visa
Apply Now
  • Monthly income requirement: PHP 30,000
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • 1 rewards point per PHP 35 spend
  • 0% interest on installment purchases
  • Automatically charge your bills

Know more about the top credit cards for beginners below.

Citi Simplicity+ Card

credit cards for beginners - Citi Simplicity+ Card

Citibank's Simplicity+ is a no-frills credit card that's easy to qualify for and affordable to own. First-time cardholders are less likely to incur high credit card fees, as the Citi Simplicity+ doesn't come with an annual fee, late payment fee, and overlimit fee.

Plus, they get 10% back on interest charges when making timely payments of at least the minimum amount due. Definitely one of the top recommended credit cards for beginners.

📌 Citi Simplicity+ Features and Benefits

  • 10% back on interest charges if you pay at least the minimum balance on or before the due date
  • 0% installment on purchases for up to 24 months
  • Deals and discounts in the Philippines and in 90 other countries

💳 Citi Simplicity+ Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: No annual fee for life
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Late payment fee: None
  • Over credit limit fee: None (Transactions are declined once the credit limit is exceeded.)

✅ Citi Simplicity+ Application Requirements

  • Minimum monthly income: ₱20,833.33
  • At least 21 years old
  • Active landline or mobile number
  • Valid ID
  • Valid TIN/SSS/GSIS/UMID number
  • Latest one-month pay slip/Latest ITR (BIR Form 2316)/Certificate of Employment
  • Bank statement of payroll account showing the applicant's one-month salary

Note: This product is sold by Union Bank of the Philippines, using certain trademarks temporarily under license from Citigroup Inc. and related group entities.

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Read more: Moneymax Reviews: Keeping It Simple with a Citi Simplicity Card

AUB Classic Mastercard

credit cards for beginners - AUB Classic Mastercard

Another AUB credit card with waived annual fees for life is the AUB Classic Mastercard. Comparing it with the AUB Easy Mastercard, this credit card's only difference is that it has more minimum amount due options.

📌 AUB Classic Mastercard Features and Benefits

  • Choose your preferred payment frequency, due date, and minimum payment due
  • 1 rewards point per ₱20 spend

💳 AUB Classic Mastercard Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: No annual fee for life
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Late payment fee: ₱187.50 (weekly payment option) / ₱375 (semi-monthly payment option) / ₱700 (monthly payment option) or the unpaid minimum amount due, whichever is lower
  • Over credit limit fee: None (Transactions are declined once the credit limit is exceeded.)

✅ AUB Classic Mastercard Application Requirements

  • Minimum monthly income: ₱21,000
  • 21 to 65 years old
  • At least one-year regular employment status/profitable business operation/professional practice
  • At least one home or office landline number and mobile number
  • Valid ID
  • Latest ITR/Certificate of Employment/one-month pay slip (for employed)
  • Latest ITR (BIR Forms 1701 and 1701Q)/financial statements/DTI business name registration (for self-employed)

Read more: Moneymax Reviews: Is AUB Gold Mastercard the Gold Standard?

Metrobank M Free Mastercard

credit cards for beginners - Metrobank M Free Mastercard

If you want the best credit card for beginners, the M Free Mastercard makes the ideal choice. You can easily qualify for this credit card because it requires a monthly income of only ₱15,000. Also, Metrobank doesn't charge an annual fee on this card, so you can save money in the process.

📌 Metrobank M Free Mastercard Features and Benefits

  • Discounts, freebies, and other deals at M Here partner merchants
  • 0% interest on installment purchases for up to 24 months

💳 Metrobank M Free Mastercard Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: No annual fee for life
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Late payment fee: ₱1,000 or the unpaid minimum amount due, whichever is lower
  • Over credit limit fee: ₱750 per occurrence

✅ Metrobank M Free Mastercard Application Requirements

  • Minimum monthly income: ₱15,000
  • 18 to 70 years old
  • Valid TIN/SSS/GSIS/UMID number
  • Home or office landline number and mobile number
  • At least six-month regular employment/At least two years in the current business
  • Valid ID
  • Latest ITR/Latest three-month pay slips/Certificate of Employment (for employed)
  • Latest audited financial statement/Latest ITR (for self-employed)
  • Proof of income or employment and Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR)/Immigration’s Certificate of Residence (ICR)/visa (for foreign residents)

Read more: The Great Credit Card Welcome Gift List in 2022―Don’t Miss Out!

Metrobank ON Virtual Mastercard

credit cards for beginners - Metrobank ON Virtual Mastercard

Are you a frequent online shopper? If yes, then the Metrobank ON Virtual Mastercard is a good choice for you. Apart from the low monthly income requirement, this credit card for beginners has a low annual fee, making it ideal for those who want to spend less on their credit card bills.

📌 Metrobank On Virtual Mastercard Features and Benefits

  • Earn 1 reward point for every ₱20 spend
  • All virtual card that you can use right away for online purchases
  • Get approved and receive your virtual card in as fast as 48 hours
  • 0% interest on installment purchases for up to 24 months

💳 Metrobank On Virtual Mastercard Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: ₱500 (free in the first year)
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Late payment fee: ₱1,000 or the unpaid minimum amount due, whichever is lower
  • Over credit limit fee: ₱750 per occurrence

✅ Metrobank On Virtual Mastercard Application Requirements

  • Minimum monthly income: ₱15,000
  • 18 to 70 years old
  • Valid TIN/SSS/GSIS/UMID number
  • Home or office landline number and mobile number
  • At least six-month regular employment/At least two years in the current business
  • Valid ID
  • Latest ITR/Latest three-month pay slips/Certificate of Employment (for employed)
  • Latest audited financial statement/Latest ITR (for self-employed)
  • Proof of income or employment and Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR)/Immigration’s Certificate of Residence (ICR)/visa (for foreign residents)

PNB Classic Visa

credit cards for beginners - pnb classic visa

This PNB credit card is one of the ideal credit cards for beginners because it has a low annual fee and requires a monthly income of only ₱10,000. It's also a good credit card for travelers, as the card comes with travel insurance and purchase protection insurance.

📌 PNB Classic Visa Features and Benefits

  • Up to ₱1 million travel insurance
  • Up to ₱250,000 purchase protection insurance
  • 0% interest on installment purchases for up to 24 months

💳 PNB Classic Visa Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: ₱300 (free for the first year)
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Late payment fee: ₱1,000 or the unpaid minimum amount due, whichever is lower
  • Over credit limit fee: ₱500

✅ PNB Classic Visa Application Requirements

  • Minimum monthly income: ₱10,000
  • 21 to 65 years old
  • Filipino citizen or foreign resident in the Philippines
  • At least one-year regular employment status/two-year profitable self-employment status
  • Valid ID
  • Latest three-month pay slips/Latest ITR/Certificate of Employment (for employed)
  • Latest ITR/Latest audited financial statements/DTI or SEC registration papers (for self-employed)

EastWest Practical Mastercard

credit cards for first timers - eastwest practical mastercard

The Practical Mastercard is perfect for newbies on a tight budget who are looking for a credit card for beginners with a low interest rate. The annual fee is quite affordable and can be paid every month, quarter, or year—whichever payment term works best based on your budget.

📌 EastWest Practical Mastercard Features and Benefits

  • Option to pay the annual fee either monthly, quarterly, or annually
  • 0% interest on select items and installment terms

💳 EastWest Practical Mastercard Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: ₱1,400 (free for the first year)
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Late payment fee: 8% of the minimum amount due
  • Over credit limit fee: ₱500 per occurrence

✅ EastWest Practical Mastercard Application Requirements

  • Minimum monthly income: ₱10,000
  • At least 21 years old
  • Filipino citizen or foreign resident in the Philippines
  • Home landline or mobile number and business/office landline
  • Valid ID
  • Latest ITR, Certificate of Employment, and latest three-month pay slips (for employed)
  • Latest ITR and latest audited financial statement (for self-employed)
  • ACR with permanent status/visa/embassy certification (for foreign residents)

RCBC Bankard Flex Visa

credit cards for beginners - RCBC Bankard Flex Visa

Ideal for traveling millennials, the RCBC Flex Visa card comes with usual travel perks like travel insurance and airport lounge access. It allows earning rewards points faster in two out of four spending categories (dining/clothing/transportation/travel). You can choose to double your credit card rewards in different categories per billing cycle. A convenient option to consider when looking at the best credit cards for beginners.

📌 RCBC Flex Visa Features and Benefits

  • 2x rewards in two preferred spending categories
  • Travel insurance
  • Free Skyview Airport Lounge access
  • 0% interest on installment purchases for up to 36 months

💳 RCBC Flex Visa Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: ₱1,500 (free for the first year)
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Late payment fee: ₱850 or the minimum amount due, whichever is lower
  • Over credit limit fee: ₱600

✅ RCBC Flex Visa Application Requirements

  • Minimum monthly income: ₱15,000
  • 21 to 65 years old
  • Mobile number and office landline number
  • Valid ID
  • Latest ITR/Latest one-month payslip/Certificate of Employment issued within the last six months (for employed)
  • Latest ITR/audited financial statement (for self-employed)

UnionBank Classic Visa

credit cards for beginners - unionbank classic visa

If you want a simple first credit card for your day-to-day purchases, this UnionBank credit card might be just what you need. A notable feature of the UnionBank Classic Visa card is its free life insurance, which pays up to ₱400,000 for the cardholder's outstanding balance upon his/her death or permanent disability. This eases the burden of the cardholder's family should any unfortunate event happen.

📌 UnionBank Classic Visa Features and Benefits

  • 1 rewards point per ₱35 spend
  • Exclusive discounts, freebies, and other perks on shopping, dining, leisure, and services nationwide
  • 0% interest on installment purchases for up to 36 months
  • Up to ₱400,000 life insurance

💳 UnionBank Classic Visa Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: ₱1,500
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Late payment fee: ₱750
  • Over credit limit fee: ₱500

✅ UnionBank Classic Visa Application Requirements

  • Minimum monthly income: ₱30,000
  • 18 to 60 years old
  • Filipino citizen or foreign resident in the Philippines
  • At least one-year employment/profitable business operation
  • Two valid IDs
  • Latest ITR/Latest pay slips/Certificate of Employment (for employed)
  • Latest ITR/audited financial statement (for self-employed)
  • ACR (for foreign residents)

Read more: Moneymax Reviews: Visa or Mastercard? Pick a Side with UnionBank Gold

Maybank Standard Mastercard

credit cards for beginners - maybank standard mastercard

Make hassle-free transactions wherever you are in the world with Maybank Standard Mastercard. This credit card is accepted in 270 countries and 20 million locations. Secured with EMV-compliant chips and one-time password security measures, Maybank Standard Mastercard is your safe payment partner for online transactions.

📌 Maybank Standard Mastercard Features and Benefits

  • 0% interest on installment terms with EzyPlans
  • Installment plan options for retail transactions and outstanding balances

💳 Maybank Standard Mastercard Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: ₱2,000 (free for the first year)
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Late payment fee: ₱850 or unpaid minimum amount due, whichever is lower
  • Over credit limit fee: ₱750

✅ Maybank Standard Mastercard Application Requirements

  • Minimum monthly income: ₱16,250
  • 21 to 65 years old
  • Filipino citizen or foreign resident in the Philippines
  • At least two years of employment/profitable business operation
  • Two valid IDs
  • Employed: Latest ITR/Latest pay slips/Certificate of Employment
  • Self-employed: Latest ITR/audited financial statements

Security Bank Next Mastercard

credit cards for beginners - Security Bank Next Mastercard

The credit card that comes free for life, Security Bank Next Mastercard is your way to easy installment plans. You can automatically convert your big purchases into installment plans with an add-on monthly interest rate of 1%. 

📌 Security Bank Next Mastercard Features and Benefits

  • Access to the Marhaba Lounges at NAIA Terminal 1 and Terminal 3
  • Up to $200 coverage with Mastercard E-Commerce Purchase Protection
  • Waived annual fee

💳 Security Bank Next Mastercard Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: No annual fee for life
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Late payment fee: ₱1,000 or unpaid minimum amount due, whichever is lower
  • Over credit limit fee: ₱500 per occurrence

✅ Security Bank Next Mastercard Application Requirements

  • Minimum monthly income: ₱50,000 (₱45,000 for existing credit cardholders)
  • 21 to 65 years old
  • Must have a home and/office landline number, mobile number, and email address
  • Should have a good credit standing

PNB Ze-Lo Mastercard

credit cards for beginners - PNB Ze-Lo Mastercard

PNB Ze-Lo Mastercard lets you enjoy numerous perks for fewer fees. A perfect credit card for beginners, the PNB Ze-Lo will not let you pay a single centavo for late payments, annual fees, and overlimit occurrences. 

📌 PNB Ze-Lo Mastercard Mastercard Features and Benefits

  • No late payment fees, annual fees, and overlimit fees
  • Low finance charge at 1.88%
  • No annual fee for life for all supplementary cardholders

💳 PNB Ze-Lo Mastercard Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: No annual fee for life
  • Interest rate: 1.88%
  • Late payment fee: None
  • Over credit limit fee: None

✅ PNB Ze-Lo Mastercard Application Requirements

  • Minimum monthly income: ₱10,000
  • 21 to 65 years old
  • Employed: Certificate of Employment or ITR, two valid IDs with signature, proof of billing (for those who don’t have an account with PNB) 
  • Self-employed: Latest ITR, audited financial statements, valid IDs, and proof of billing
  • Foreign nationals: Alien Certificate of Residence, valid passport, and proof of billing, etc. 

Final Thoughts

Credit cards are useful tools and are not as bad as you think. These credit cards for beginners will enable you to build your credit history, which will help you in applying for loans and mortgages in the future.

As long as you pay the full balance each month and avoid hidden charges, you’re on the right track to getting your first credit card. More importantly, always compare credit cards in the Philippines to get the best card for your spending needs.

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Sources:

Venus leads the blog content strategy and optimization at Moneymax as the Head of Editorial Content. She has 15+ years of experience in content marketing, corporate communications, and public relations. Venus graduated cum laude with a Journalism degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman. Before joining Moneymax, Venus had written informative guides and articles, specializing in personal finance and digital marketing. She also invests in stocks, mutual funds, VUL, and Pag-IBIG MP2. A hardcore Hallyu Tita, she enjoys bingeing K-dramas on Netflix while bonding with her rescued cats. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.