Dual Currency Credit Cards: Pros and Cons for Frequent Travelers

Princess Anaviso

Princess Anaviso

Last updated July 24, 2023

Using a credit card for local transactions isn’t that complicated—but using one outside the country is a different story. You have to deal not only with converting foreign currency back to Philippine peso but also with paying foreign currency transaction fees ranging from 1.75% to 2.50%, resulting in a more expensive credit card bill.

Luckily, you don’t have to apply for a new credit card abroad just to pay for overseas transactions in your preferred foreign currency. You have an easier option: get a dual currency credit card in the Philippines the same way you would get a regular credit card. If you fly or shop on international sites regularly, this is the best tool to better manage your overseas spend.

Even more good news? There’s more than one option to choose from. Read on to find out why should you get a dual currency credit card and which card should you get.

What is Dual Currency Billing in Credit Cards?

dual currency credit card philippines - what is dual currency billing

Dual currency billing is a credit card feature that allows you to pay for your purchases and transactions abroad in your preferred currency (the default is usually US dollars).

Normally, when you use your credit card abroad or on international sites, your purchase is converted to peso before it gets credited to your credit card statement. This can result in a more expensive credit bill and a big headache, especially if you engage in a lot of foreign transactions.

A dual currency card aims to solve this problem. If you use one for your regular overseas spend, it will credit your international spend as is.

To illustrate, if you buy a phone case worth US$59.99, your card will reflect US$59.99 as is with little to no conversion fees added. This makes the dual currency card a must-have for frequent travelers, businessmen, and avid shoppers of world-class brands.

With a dual currency credit card in the Philippines, you get two billing statements: one for your peso account and another for your dollar account. Your local and international transactions are separate from each other. You can easily pay for your purchases abroad through your dollar savings account. 

A dual currency card also works in countries outside the US and automatically converts your purchases into US dollars.

Pros and Cons of a Dual Currency Card

dual currency credit card philippines - pros and cons

Not sure if a dual currency credit card in the Philippines is for you? Check out these advantages and disadvantages to help you decide.

👍 Pro: Convenience

It’s not sensible and convenient to carry around a thick wad of cash while traveling to a different country. While cash is still king in many locations worldwide, a multi-currency credit card offers convenience in terms of transacting with shops and restaurants, especially in touristy countries. Also, if you’re always flying out for work, you don’t want to be stuck at the money exchange counter every time you land.

👍 Pro: Access to Travel Perks

Since most multi-currency credit cards in the Philippines are targeted toward frequent travelers, these cards are usually packed with premium travel perks and privileges.

Some of the benefits you can get include air miles rewards programs, booking and reservation benefits, ticket fare and hotel discounts, access to airport lounges worldwide, travel insurance, and other travel-related features not found on regular credit cards. 

👍 Pro: High Credit Limit

Aside from targeting frequent travelers, banks also want to appeal to potential cardholders who own both peso and dollar bank accounts. This is why a dual currency credit card in the Philippines usually has a higher credit limit compared to other credit cards. Some even have separate credit limits for peso and dollar spendings. 

So if you’re planning to own a USD credit card anytime soon, you can expect it to keep up with your spending appetite.

👍 Pro: Access to More Rewards

Because you have two separate streams of transactions with a dual currency credit card, you have two sources of loyalty points, making it easier for you to earn and redeem more rewards. You can also enjoy credit card promos here and abroad—usually on top of the travel perks you already have—with a dollar credit card.

👍 Pro: Better Financial Management

If you already own a dual currency debit card, getting a dual currency credit card makes more sense. You can now organize your financial statements and pay them with US dollars or any other currency.

You also have the option to pay both statements in peso if you prefer—just be prepared to pay a minimal foreign currency transaction fee. 

👎 Con: Limited or Specific Use

Since a dual currency credit card in the Philippines caters to a specific purpose, getting one isn't advisable if you’re not a frequent traveler or shopper abroad. If you travel only once a year or just plan to buy one item from an online store overseas, stick to a regular credit card without any dual currency features.

👎 Con: Fluctuating Exchange Rates 

While you can still save on foreign currency transaction fees if you use a dual currency credit card, you still have to deal with fluctuating exchange rates. If you don’t have a dollar bank account, just get a regular credit card with travel perks and online spend privileges.

7 Best Dual Currency Credit Cards in the Philippines

Convinced? Then let’s skip to the good part—comparing credit cards! Here are the best dual currency card options you can currently apply for in the Philippines.

💳 Security Bank Platinum Mastercard

Security Bank Platinum Mastercard

Platinum cards usually offer the most premium benefits, and this Security Bank dual currency credit card is no different.

This credit card lets you pay for international transactions in US dollars, gives you access to exclusive credit card welcome gifts, and awards you complimentary lounge access annually in more than 1,000 airports worldwide.

You also get access to Mastercard’s global concierge service for booking and reserving hotels and restaurants.[1]

💳 Security Bank World Mastercard

Security Bank World Mastercard

Another great option from Security Bank, this credit card also offers dual currency billing that centralizes all of your international transactions in US dollars. It gives you access to the Mastercard global concierge, airport lounges, and Security Bank credit card promos here and abroad. 

Plus, it comes with free travel insurance of up to US$100,000 that comes with COVID-19 coverage. For online purchases, you also get US$200 purchase protection.

💳 PNB-PAL Mabuhay Miles Platinum Mastercard

PNB-PAL Mabuhay Miles Platinum Mastercard

If you’re looking for a dual currency credit card in the Philippines and love earning miles, these next credit cards from PNB should definitely be on your radar.

Aside from dual currency billing, the PNB-PAL Mabuhay Miles Platinum Mastercard comes with free 2,000 Mabuhay Miles right off the bat, an additional 10,000 miles when you spend at PAL, and an exclusive year-round PAL online discount, along with access to PNB credit card promos.[2]

💳 PNB-PAL Mabuhay Miles World Mastercard

PNB-PAL Mabuhay Miles World Mastercard

PNB also has a higher-tiered version of their platinum card called the PNB-PAL Mabuhay Miles World Mastercard. Just like the Platinum Mastercard, this credit card also comes with dual currency billing, free air miles, and PAL discounts. 

In addition, it also gives you access to a 24/7 global concierge service, access to airport lounges with Mastercard Airport Experiences (MCAE), and priority check-in at PAL Business Class Counters.[3]

💳 PNB Diamond UnionPay

PNB Diamond UnionPay

If you’re a frequent traveler to Asian countries, then this credit card may be more suited to your needs. Purchases made in certain locations in Asia are converted to US dollars.

Plus, you get premium travel perks on par with its counterparts from PNB. Earn rewards points for Cash Credits and Mabuhay Miles. This card also comes with access to World Assist, a travel and medical concierge service accessible 24/7, along with exclusive perks and discounts from UnionPay TravelMate Asia partner merchants.[4]

💳 PNB-La Salle Green Hills Alumni Association Platinum Mastercard

PNB-La Salle Green Hills Alumni Association Platinum Mastercard

Did you know that you can take your school pride to the next level, especially if you’re a proud alum of La Salle Greenhills? This dual currency card is a no-brainer if you’re from this prestigious school.

It comes with dual currency billing, free travel insurance of up to ₱3 million, free purchase protection insurance, and a 3% fuel rebate on participating Caltex stations. Plus, you can earn rewards points for Cash Credits and Mabuhay Miles.

💳 Bank of Commerce World Mastercard

Bank of Commerce World Mastercard

Bank of Commerce’s high-tier credit card offers dual currency billing in US dollars, plus all the other premium perks that come with World-branded credit cards.

Benefits include access to Bank of Commerce credit card promos, luxury hotel and resort privileges, access to Mastercard’s global concierge service, lounge access to over 1,000 airports in over 500 countries, and travel insurance of up to ₱5 million.[5] 

Final Thoughts

Ready to make the most out of your overseas spend? Then consider getting a dual currency credit card in the Philippines. 

Don’t just look at the flashy features—weigh the pros and cons, find the benefits that matter to you the most, and consider your needs and budget. Above all else, pick the one that you think will give you the most seamless experience. 

Happy travels!

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Princess is a seasoned writer with over seven years of experience in digital marketing and corporate communications. She took master's degree units in Creative Writing at the University of the Philippines Diliman and graduated with a bachelor's degree in English Language and Literature from Saint Louis University. Beyond writing, she enjoys reading novels, watching series, and crocheting. Follow Princess on LinkedIn.


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