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Credit Card Options for Expats in the Philippines

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Credit cards offer a lot of conveniences in banking and in shopping, especially for frequent travellers. Here in the Philippines, there are many banks that offer credit cards with international affiliations. Just to name some of the local banks that offer the best credit cards, they are from BDO, Metrobank, EastWest Bank, Citibank and HSBC. These banks offer a broad selection of credit cards. 

If you are a foreigner living in the Philippines and you plan to apply for a Philippine credit card, requirements are the same with Filipino citizens. Expect additional requirements like Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR), ACR-I and Immigrant’s Certificate of Residence (ICR). They are required from foreign nationals by most or all Philippine banks and credit card companies. 

Here is a guide on the best five credit cards in the country: 

1. BDO Platinum MasterCard or Visa

This is the credit card offered by the largest bank in the country. Principal membership fee is P4,500 per year. They have an interest rate of 2.49% per month. There is an option to choose either the BDO Platinum MasterCard or the BDO Platinum Visa. The unique feature of the BDO Platinum Visa is that the cardholder does not have to pay an annual membership fee for life. BDO Platinum credit card has one of the lowest monthly interest rates in the country. There are also additional shopping rewards and exclusive promos at SM Stores when using this credit card. This credit card also offers “Dual Currency Feature” where a cardholder will have the convenience of both Philippine Peso and US Dollar accounts in one card. They have free Travel Accident and Inconvenience Insurance Coverage of up to P20 million. 

For BDO credit card, these are the additional requirements for foreigners:

  • Copy of Employment Contract or Certificate of Employment

  • Letter from the Embassy if you are an Embassy official

  • Submit a photocopy of any one of the following:

–  Valid passport with VISA or

–  Work permit and valid VISA or

–  Special investor’s residence VISA and VISAs Philippine Economic Zone Authority or VISA with EO226

  • ACR or ICR or ACR-I

 

2. Metrobank M Free and M Lite

Metrobank is one of the largest banks in the country and they also offer two of the best credit cards – the Metrobank M Free MasterCard and Metrobank M Lite MasterCard. They offer “perpetually waived annual fee” for Metrobank M Free MasterCard. This credit card has no annual fee for life! For Metrobank M Lite MasterCard, they offer a fee of P1,500 per year. Interest rate is 2.49% per month.

 Foreign nationals are required to submit any of the following:

  • Copy of Visa

  • Copy of Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) and Immigrant’s Certificate of Residence (ICR)

 

3. EastWest Platinum MasterCard

For this credit card, principal membership is free with an interest rate of 2.75% per month. Other than free lifetime membership, they have additional perks for members like free Comprehensive Travel Accident and Inconvenience Insurance of up to P20 million.

EastWest Bank credit card have the same set of requirements for both Filipino citizens and local resident foreigners, with just the additional ACR requirement for foreigners.

 

4. Citibank – Citi Platinum Card

Principal membership fee is P5,000 with interest rate of 2.75% per month. They offer high credit limit for cardholders. Since Citibank has many affiliates around the world, members can avail of discounts like 75% off at 55,000 hotels worldwide from small boutique properties to 5-star hotel chains in 130 countries. They also have the Platinum Travel Benefits like the Travel Accident Protection Insurance of up to P20 million, Missed Flight Protection, Delayed Luggage Protection and Lost Luggage Protection.

Foreign nationals are required to submit any of the following: 

  • A photocopy of your VISA and Working Permit (with validity of 1 year and not expired at time of application)

  • Your ACR or ACR-I card

  • A letter from your company’s HR. The letter should be printed on your company’s letterhead and should contain your name, position and confirmation of term.

  • Your Employment Contract

 

5. HSBC Platinum Visa 

Principal membership fee is P5,000 with an interest rate of 2.75% per month. This credit card offers almost the same features like Citibank. Additionally, they offer cardholders some great discounts in shopping and more promo. They offer bonus point for frequent shopping and dining on fine establishments. 

Foreign nationals are required to submit any of the following:

  • Passport

  • ACR reflecting permanent residency visa

Different credit cards have their own set of rules and special promos for cardholders. Before applying for any credit card, first inquire with them in order to have a better idea on which credit card best suits your financial needs and your shopping or travel preferences.

 

Author: Marcelle Villegas

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Reference:

http://thinkrichbefree.com/2013/07/06/best-credit-cards-in-the-philippines/

Photo source:

http://blog.unibulmerchantservices.com/americans-carry-800b-in-credit-card-debt/

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Related posts: 

The Perks of Having an ACR I-Card 

ACR I-Card for Foreign Nationals in the Philippines 

Getting a Bank Account in the Philippines

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