Getting a Supplementary Card for Your Loved One? Here’s What You Need to Know First

Published: September 17, 2021 | Updated: September 21, 2021 | Posted by: Janine Daquio | Credit Card


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You’ve been a credit cardholder for a few years now, and you’ve experienced firsthand how credit cards can help you manage your finances efficiently. So naturally, you’re thinking of getting a supplementary credit card for your loved one to see if it can help them, too. 

While there’s nothing wrong with extending your credit line through supplementary credit cards, you should be aware that having supplementary cards may affect your account. Don’t get one if you’re not sure how supplementary credit cards work. You should also know the difference between a principal card and a supplementary card before making a decision.

Read this guide about supplementary credit cards in the Philippines first before you decide on getting one for someone you love. 

What is a Supplementary Credit Card?

A supplementary credit card is a secondary card issued under a credit card account that the principal or primary cardholder can give to a family member (child, spouse, sibling, or parent), partner, or trusted friend.

Supplementary cards allow principal cardholders to extend their credit card benefits to their loved ones who are not qualified for a credit card due to age, lack of stable income, or poor/no credit history.

How Does a Supplementary Credit Card Work?

Supplementary cards in the Philippines vary from one credit card provider to another. However, they work the same way in general.

Supplementary Credit Card Features

As a credit cardholder, you already know the features of your card, which supplementary credit cards also usually have. Here are some of them: 

1. A Different Card Under the Principal Cardholder’s Account

Supplementary Credit Card Features

A supplementary card comes with its own credit card number, CVV number, and expiration date. The card also bears the supplementary cardholder’s name. These details are different from those of the principal card.

Even if that’s the case, supplementary cards enrolled under a principal credit card account are all treated as part of that account. This means credit limits, balances, and billing statements are consolidated into a single account.

2. Same Benefits as the Principal Card

Typically, supplementary cardholders enjoy identical privileges associated with the principal credit card.

For example, if a principal credit card comes with free travel insurance and airport lounge access, then all supplementary cards under that account also have the same benefits.

Also, supplementary cards may earn credit card rewards with the same points system as the principal card.

3. Shared Credit Limit with the Principal Card

Supplementary cardholders don’t get a separate credit line from the principal cardholder. Rather, all supplementary cards under one account—regardless of the number—share the same credit limit. Because a supplementary card’s spending limit is part of the principal card’s total credit limit, it can never be higher than that of the primary card.

For example, if a primary credit card has a credit limit of PHP 50,000, all supplementary cards under that account share the same spending limit. This means the total monthly balance of all the cards under an account should not exceed that amount.

In case a principal or supplementary cardholder makes a credit card transaction beyond the credit limit, all the other cards are affected—either their next transactions will be declined or the principal cardholder will be charged an overlimit fee for every transaction beyond the credit limit.

To enable principal cardholders to manage the spending of their supplementary cardholders, some credit card providers give them the option to set a monthly credit limit per supplementary card.

If the principal cardholder doesn’t assign a spending limit, the default credit limit of a supplementary card will be similar to the primary card’s.

4. Supplementary Credit Card Rates Similar to Principal Card 

The interest rate charged on a supplementary card is usually the same as the rate on the principal cardholder’s account.

For example, if the principal cardholder fails to pay the total outstanding balance for the month (which includes the supplementary’s credit card purchases), the carry-over amount for the next billing cycle will incur interest. If the primary cardholder’s account has an interest rate of 3.50%, then the unpaid balance will be charged that rate. Always keep tabs on your credit card balance to know how much you can still spend for the month.

5. Transactions Consolidated Into One Billing Statement

Supplementary Credit Card Features

The transactions of all supplementary cards under one account are added to the primary cardholder’s monthly billing statement.

This means the principal cardholder can track all the supplementary card transactions and is responsible for making credit card payments to the bank. Of course, you as the supplementary cardholder should pay for the transactions made using the card, unless you’re a student or stay-at-home spouse who’s financially dependent on the principal cardholder.

Principal Card vs Supplementary Card: What’s the Difference?

1. Simpler Supplementary Card Application Requirements and Process

It’s easier to get a supplementary card than a primary credit card because the application requirements and procedures are a lot simpler.

The age requirement, for instance, is more lenient for supplementary vs primary cardholders. Even teenagers as young as 13 years old can own a supplementary credit card.

No income documents or credit checks are required to qualify. You don’t even have to be earning an income to get a supplementary card. It’s because the principal cardholder bears the responsibility for all the transactions made using the supplementary cards under their account.

2. Low Supplementary Card Annual Fees

Supplementary credit cards in the Philippines have either free or lower annual fees than principal cards. Annual fees on supplementary cards are usually half of the annual fee of their primary card.

Some banks such as BPI, Metrobank, and RCBC offer waived annual fees on the first supplementary card of all or select credit cards.

3. No Rewards Points Redemption for Supplementary Cardholders

supplementary credit card - principal card vs supplementary card

In terms of credit card rewards, principal cardholders earn additional points or cashback from the credit card purchases made by their supplementary cardholders. All rewards points—including those earned from the supplementary cardholder’s transactions—are credited to the principal cardholder’s account.

Unfortunately, you can’t redeem your rewards points or convert them to air miles on your own if you’re using a supplementary card. The points go to the principal card’s account. But the bank may allow you to make a redemption as long as you get an authorization from the primary cardholder.

However, you may benefit from the combined rewards if the principal cardholder shares the credit card reward with you. For example, points earned from your total purchases can accumulate faster, allowing you to redeem free flights for your annual family trip.

Who Should Get a Supplementary Credit Card?

Supplementary cards are more suitable for some people than others. A supplementary card is perfect for the following types of people:

  • Students, aging parents, and stay-at-home wives and husbands who depend on a principal cardholder (parent, adult child, or spouse) for financial support
  • People who lack credit history and want an easy way to get their first credit card
  • Freelancers, unemployed people, and others who lack financial documents that banks usually require
  • Couples and families who want to accumulate credit card rewards faster and monitor each other’s spending

Supplementary Credit Card Options in the Philippines

Once you’ve decided to get a supplementary card, start shopping around for options. Here are the supplementary credit cards in the Philippines you can choose from.

AUB Supplementary Card

  • Maximum supplementary cards per account: No limit
  • Age requirement for supplementary cardholder: At least 14 years old
  • Credit limit: Assigned by the principal cardholder
  • Annual fee: No annual fee for life

Note: Supplementary cards are not available for the AUB Easy Mastercard. For other AUB credit cards (Classic, Gold, and Platinum Mastercard), you can enroll as many supplementary cards.

BPI Supplementary Card

supplementary credit card -BPI Supplementary Card
  • Maximum supplementary cards per account: Six [1]
  • Age requirement for supplementary cardholder: At least 13 years old
  • Credit limit: Shared credit limit with the primary cardholder with an option to assign a spending limit per card
  • Annual fee:
    • 1st supplementary card: No annual fee for life
    • 2nd to 6th supplementary card: 50% of principal card’s annual fee

Related article: BPI eCredit Card: What Online Shoppers Must Know Before Getting One

Citibank Supplementary Card

  • Maximum supplementary cards per account: Seven
  • Age requirement for supplementary cardholder: At least 16 years old
  • Credit limit: Assigned by the principal cardholder (minimum of PHP 10,000 per card)
  • Annual fee: 50% of principal card’s annual fee

See also: Exciting Citibank Promo Offers to Check Out This Year

EastWest Bank Supplementary Card

  • Maximum supplementary cards per account: Nine
  • Age requirement for supplementary cardholder: At least 13 years old
  • Credit limit: Shared credit limit with the primary cardholder with an option to assign a spending limit per card (minimum of PHP 2,500 except for EastWest Everyday Mastercard that has a minimum monthly sub-limit of PHP 10,000)
  • Annual fee: 50% of principal card’s annual fee

HSBC Supplementary Card

  • Maximum supplementary cards per account: Four
  • Age requirement for supplementary cardholder: At least 15 years old
  • Credit limit: Shared credit limit with the primary cardholder
  • Annual fee:
    • 1st supplementary card: No annual fee for life
    • 2nd to 4th supplementary cards: 50% of principal card’s annual fee

Related article: HSBC Credit Card Promos 2021: 10 Offers You Should Not Miss

Get another credit card at Moneymax!

Maybank Supplementary Card

  • Age requirement for supplementary cardholder: At least 18 years old
  • Credit limit: Shared credit limit with the primary cardholder with an option to assign a spending limit per card
  • Annual fee: 50% of principal card’s annual fee

Metrobank Supplementary Card

  • Maximum supplementary cards per account: Four
  • Age requirement for supplementary cardholder: 14 to 80 years old
  • Credit limit: Shared credit limit with the primary cardholder with an option to assign a spending limit per card
  • Annual fee:
    • 1st supplementary card: No annual fee for life (Applies only to World Mastercard, Femme Signature Visa, Travel Platinum Visa, and Platinum Peso Mastercard)
    • 50% to 60% of the primary card’s annual fee

Read more: Metrobank Credit Card Promos You Shouldn’t Miss

RCBC Bankard Supplementary Card

  • Maximum supplementary cards per account: Nine
  • Age requirement for supplementary cardholder: 13 to 65 years old
  • Credit limit: Shared credit limit with the primary cardholder
  • Annual fee:
    • Classic and Gold cards: 50% of principal card’s annual fee
    • Co-branded cards: 50% to 75% of principal card’s annual fee
    • Premium cards: No annual fee for life for up to three to nine supplementary cards

Related article: Exciting RCBC Credit Card Promos in 2021

Security Bank Supplementary Card

  • Maximum supplementary cards per account: Five 
  • Age requirement for supplementary cardholder: 16 to 65 years old
  • Credit limit: Shared credit limit with the primary cardholder
  • Annual fee: 50% to 62.50% of the primary card’s annual fee

UnionBank Supplementary Card

supplementary credit card - Supplementary Card Unionbank
  • Credit limit: Shared credit limit with the primary cardholder with an option to assign a spending limit per card
  • Annual fee: 50% of principal card’s annual fee

See also: UnionBank Credit Card Promos: 18 Exciting Deals and Discounts This 2021

How to Apply for a Supplementary Credit Card in the Philippines

Once you’ve made the decision to go ahead with your supplementary card application, here are the steps on how to apply for one. 

1. Prepare the Supplementary Credit Card Requirements

The document requirements for supplementary card applications are fewer and simpler than those for primary cards. Filipinos applying for a supplementary credit card need to submit only two documents:

  1. Accomplished supplementary card application form with the signature of both principal cardholder and supplementary card applicant
  2. Photocopy of valid government-issued ID with photo, signature, and birthdate (or valid school ID for students)

Foreign residents in the Philippines are required to submit additional documents, like any of the following:

  • Valid passport
  • Valid visa and work permit
  • Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) with “Permanent” status
  • Immigrant Certificate of Registration (ICR)
  • Special Investors Resident Visa
  • Special Resident Retirement Visa
  • Embassy Certification

2. File Your Supplementary Credit Card Application

Only primary credit cardholders can request supplementary cards from their issuing bank. This means if you’d like to have a supplementary credit card for yourself, you should first get a principal cardholder’s consent to apply for one under his/her account. The principal cardholder will then file your supplementary card application.

There are three ways to apply for a supplementary card in the Philippines. Simply submit the supplementary credit card requirements at the nearest branch of the principal’s credit card provider, via email, or via fax.

Some banks like HSBC have an online credit card application facility that allows their clients to apply for a supplementary card in one go.

Once your supplementary credit card is approved, it will be delivered to the principal cardholder’s home or office address as stated in the application form.

Questions to Ask Before Applying for a Supplementary Credit Card 

The thought of giving someone a chance to enjoy the perks of a credit card is fulfilling. However, as a principal cardholder, are you truly ready for the responsibility? So before filling out the application form, here are a few things you should ask yourself:

1. Are They Ready to Use a Supplementary Credit Card?

Assess if your would-be supplementary credit cardholder is financially literate and ready to use a credit card. Do they understand and practice the basics of financial responsibility?[2] Here are the signs of supplementary card ownership readiness: 

  • Has an understanding of what a supplementary credit card is and what it’s not – Supplementary credit cards are financial tools to help cardholders leverage a credit line in pursuing their financial goals. These are not free, and debts incurred should be paid back on time. 
  • Has a good budget plan – Check if your loved one knows the best practices of budgeting and managing finances. They should be able to track where their money is going, too. 
  • Has no huge outstanding debt – Someone with a huge debt may be a high-risk credit card user. 
  • Has a stable source of income – This may not always apply to your parents or kids who depend on you for financial support. But if you’re planning to share the credit line with someone, make sure they have a stable source of income. Otherwise, be ready to take the responsibility of paying back what the supplementary card uses out of your credit limit. 
  • Has a purchase plan – Impulse buying is one of the primary reasons why people get into debt. Find a supplementary cardholder who knows how to make a spending plan and who sets priorities when buying. 

2. Am I Financially Stable to Cover the Additional Debt?

Are you earning enough to cover the debts incurred on your supplementary card? Understand that once the supplementary credit cardholder fails to pay the balances, you’ll be responsible for settling them. 

3. Is My Credit Limit Enough?

How much is your credit limit? Your supplementary credit cardholder will share the credit limit with you, unless you have preassigned a limit to the card upon application. 

4. Do I Have the Time to Monitor the Supplementary Card’s Monthly Spending?

Monitoring monthly spending is time-consuming, especially if you own multiple cards. You don’t just list down payment amounts and due dates. You also need to track credit card cut-off dates and billing cycles to make sure that you pay on time. 

Tracking the spending pattern of your supplementary credit cardholders is also necessary to make sure you’re safe against fraud. Sometimes you won’t know whether a purchase is authorized or not until you check your credit card statement. 

5. Can I Pay the Additional Fees?

Supplementary credit cards come with annual membership fees. Although they’re much lower than the annual fees of primary credit cards, the amount can still be substantial, especially if you have multiple supplementary credit cards. Apart from the annual fees, supplementary cards also incur  interest charges, late penalty fees, and over-limit fees.

6. Can a Supplementary Card Affect my Credit Score?

Yes, it will increase your credit utilization. Since usage will now come from both the secondary and the primary credit cards, your total balance can easily exceed the ideal 30% of your credit limit. 

The risks of higher unpaid balances can also increase, especially if the supplementary cardholder defaults on the credit card payment. In contrast, the supplementary cardholder’s credit score may not be affected since all the activities in the account are under the name of the principal cardholder.

7. Can I Apply for a Supplementary Card for Someone I Don’t Live With?

Yes, you can, as long as they can provide the requirements for application. 

8. Will My Supplementary Cardholder Be Responsible for My Debts as a Principal Cardholder? 

Although the credit card activity will be recorded under the name of the principal cardholder, some banks can consider both the principal and supplementary cardholder liable for all the charges incurred by the credit card account.

Final Thoughts

A supplementary credit card is a useful financial tool you can extend to people you love. However, your supplementary cardholder should be ready to handle the complexities of owning one. Just like a primary credit card, a supplementary card can help build or break your credit score. As a primary account holder, you should make sure your loved one understands how these cards work and the consequences they entail when mishandled. 

Looking to get a second or third principal credit card for yourself? Don’t just pick the first offer you see. Compare different credit cards in the Philippines using Moneymax to find the best card for you!

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