Credit Cards for OFWs


Updated August 26, 2013:

The original post published in April 2009 contains info that is no longer true.

BDO and HSBC are no longer offering credit cards to OFWs. Some of the reasons are:

— Most OFWs do not have ITRs  (Income Tax Returns), as they are exempted from paying income taxes. The BSP mandates banks to require ITRs from their clients for certain transactions and services such as credit.
— Many OFWs do not have stable jobs. Their employment is covered by contracts for an average of only 2 years.

If you need a credit card for online payments, you can request for a Secured Credit Card from your bank. Most banks offer Secured Credit Cards. “Secured” means you give the bank Security or Collateral in the form of Savings Account or Time Deposit. The bank will hold your savings account or time deposit, and will not be available for withdrawal, until the time you cancel or surrender your Secured Credit Card.

In some banks, some bank officers do not know what Secured Credit Cards are, and they don’t know if their banks offer Secured Credit Cards. While certain banks easily approve Secured Credit Card application, other banks take time because they still do some credit investigation even if you already have given them your time deposit or savings account.

Here’s info on one Secured Credit Card that is easy to obtain:

RCBC Bankard InstaCard


Published in April 2009:

For OFWs looking for credit cards, I’ve found only two banks in the Philippines which are offering credit cards for OFWs — HSBC and BDO.

Based on our personal experience, BPI also offers credit cards to OFWs, but you wait for the bank to offer you one.  BPI offers a credit card to an OFW who has maintained a BPI time deposit account for a couple of years. BPI also has investment accounts that offer a credit card account as incentive.


BDO issues secured credit cards for OFWs, meaning one must have a savings or checking account with BDO.

The required documents are:

  1. Valid IDs
  2. Employment contract or certificate of employment
  3. Remittance receipts for the last 6 months or payslips for the last 3 months

The other requirements are:

  1. Minimum monthly income of 10,000 pesos
  2. At least 21 years old, not older than 65
  3. Must have a BDO checking or savings account or time deposit of at least 15,000 pesos or equivalent amount in dollars
  4. Must have 2 years continuous job contract
  5. Beneficiary or card administrator must be residing or working within 30 kms of a BDO branch
  6. Must have a home landline phone

You can call the following numbers for further inquiries:

Call 631-8000
(within Metro Manila)
(Libreng Tawag Outside Metro Manila)
(Libreng Tawag Outside of the Philippines)


For OFWs, the requirements are:

  1. Employment contract or certificate of employment
  2. Working visa or work permit or OFW card or certificate issued by POEA
  3. Proof of home address, such as the latest billing statement under the name of the applicant, with the address of the applicant.
  4. A valid ID, such as passport, driver’s license, PRC ID or SSS photocard
  5. TIN number
  6. SSS or GSIS number
  7. Proof of Income
  • could be latest ITR or
  • employer’s certificate of compensation or
  • payslips for the last 3 months

The other requirements are:

  1. At least 21 years old, not older than 65
  2. Philippine resident
  3. Have a residential landline phone
  4. Must be living or working in Metro Manila, Bacolod, Baguio City, Batangas, Bulacan, Butuan, Cabanatuan City, Cagayan de Oro, Calasiao Pangasinan, Cavite, Cebu, Cotabato, Dagupan City, Davao City, Digos Davao del Sur, Dipolog, Dumaguete City, General Santos, Kalibo, Iloilo, Laguna, Laoag City, Legaspi, Lucena City, Naga, Olongapo City, Ormoc City, Pampanga, Panabo & Tagum Davao del Norte, Puerto Princesa, Subic, Rizal, Roxas, Tacloban, Tagbilaran City, Tarlac City, Tuguegarao, Urdaneta Pangasinan, Zamboanga City.
  5. Have at least a gross annual income of 150,000 pesos for the classic cards and at least 480,000 pesos for the gold cards

Related Articles,  posted April 20, 2011:

Secured BPI Credit Cards for OFWs

BPI Credit Card Payment for College Tuition Fees


Add a Comment
  1. Hi jonathan, if your Kabayan is newly issued and has a Mastercard logo, then you can try using it to buy online. For the past 2 or 3 years, a BDO atm debit card with Mastercard logo cannot be used online. But recently, BDO has allowed online use for newly issued debit cards with Mastercard logo. If yours cannot be used, apply for a GCASH card (Globe) or SmartMoney (Smart). Tell them you want the card for online payments and purchases. There’s also a BPI Mastercard prepaid card that can be used online, if you like.

  2. Hi Rodel, you can apply for a secured credit card, meaning you must make a time deposit first. Your time deposit will be your collateral. For regular credit cards, ITR and certificate of employment from a Philippine-based company are required.

  3. HI I’m sheilah and I’m an ofw here in dubai for 6years and still working.. How can I avail this credit card from HSBC.. Hoping for ur early response.. Thank u..

  4. Hi sheilah, sorry, banks in the Phils no longer issue credit cards to OFWs because of the uncertainty of OFW jobs abroad. But OFWs can apply for secured credit cards in some banks like RCBC or BPI — you make a time deposit and your time deposit will be your collateral for your credit card.

  5. Hi I’m ruby I just want to ask if I am qualified to apply for bdo classic cc. My husband is an ofw a power plant assistant manager in US NAVAL MILITARY BASE in diego garcia and I am recieving his allotment thru bdo kabayan savings for this is the official bank of their company wherein all benificies recieves their monthly allotment.Thanks

  6. Hi Ruby, rules have changed now. Sorry I’m not sure if you or your husband can qualify because BDO requires your latest ITR. Obviously OFWs don’t have ITR since they’re not required to pay taxes. You can ask BDO if they’re offering a secured credit card (you open a time deposit with them and you use that deposit as a collateral for your credit card). If not, try RCBC (ask for their Insta secured credit card) or BPI (ask for their starter secured credit card).

  7. Hi Madella, some banks offered credit cards to OFWs in the past, but they all stopped offering. What you can do is to apply for a secured credit card. You make a deposit, and it will be your collateral. For example, you deposit 20k pesos as your collateral — you can only withdraw this amount after you pay your balance and surrender your credit card. Usually you can get 80% of your collateral as your credit limit. Ask RCBC or BPI Family or your bank.

  8. If 30k is the limit of secure credit card and I used it to purchase tv worth 24k payable in 12 months, means 6k remaining. I can use only in full my card after 12 months? and can use only 6k within 12 months?

  9. Hi Rafael, yes, you’re right. Only 6k or less will be available for additional purchases before your first installment payment for your tv. But as you pay from month to month within 12 months, your credit limit increases from month to month.

  10. Hi Joverlyn, sad to say, many OFWs do not have the documents required to apply for credit cards: tax return, landline phone in an area with the bank you’re applying at and certificate of local employment and income. What you can do when you get back in the Philippines is to apply for a secured credit card. This means you deposit about 10k or 20k or more and this will be your collateral for your secured credit card.

  11. Hi, ate Nora How can I open account here in pinas; my husband is ofw. He always sends money through western or cebuana. Sometimes, I get the money after a long time. What bank account can you recommend? Thank you po

  12. Hi Rudzna, usually if Western Union is used, you should be able to pick up your money at a Western Union outlet within the hour. In what country is your husband working? So I can recommend a bank.

  13. Nora, it is very sad to hear that we as OFW do not have the right to open or apply a credit card. on my own understanding that the bank want also a safe transaction. As a processional seafarer, like me we all know that we do not have employer here in PH only the agency in behalf, is it not a sign of discrimination?

  14. Hi Apolonio, I understand your concern, and can also understand the concerns of a business. Not all OFWs are as responsible as you. If only the first OFWs and seamen given credit cards years ago paid their debts, then banks now might be more considerate of OFWs. It’s not only OFWs that credit card issuers are wary of now. They’re also now rejecting applications from specific companies and from certain types of companies, such as call center firms, with many employees delinquent in their credit card debts. As a business, they cannot have so many delinquent card holders, as it’s not easy for them to collect if the cardholders change their residences and phones.
    But you can get a secured credit card and prove to the bank that you’re a responsible OFW. After a few years of paying responsibly, upon your request, the bank will issue you a regular credit card. By the way, it’s my first time to see the name Apolonio in my comments sections. My father’s name is also Apolonio, a unique and charming name.

  15. hi ms i’m an ofw here in taiwan, working in semicon company,i already have kabayan saving account card with mastercard logo opened 2014. can i use this card to buy online?how can i avail bdo credit card? thank you

  16. Hi donnisa, if your Kabayan is active, yes, you can use your atm card to buy online (check if there’s an expiry date and a 3-digit security code at the back of your card). It’s difficult for OFWs to apply for a credit card because they don’t have ITR and your cert of employment from abroad is commonly not accepted. You can apply for a secured credit card, meaning you open a time deposit with them, and then request for a secured credit card.

  17. Hi po, if bpi starter offers 90% of the deposit amount as credit limit, (e.g. 10000), does it mean I cannot buy anything priced above 9k? even we say the installment for 24 months is longer? How is the system? I plan to buy on installment items using a card from bpi with 9k limit. How is it used for installment?

  18. Hi Jake, yes, you can use it for installment. Find stores that offer installment plans through credit cards. The full price of the item should be lower than your credit limit. If your credit limit is 9k, buy an item priced less than 9k. You are not allowed to buy an item priced 15k, even if the monthly installment amount is just, for example, 1,300. Why is it like that? Because the store charges the full amount, so BPI will pay the full amount, and BPI will lend money only up to your credit limit.

  19. Gud day po. i’m aster. If I avail po of credit card at bdo, do I need to deposit at least 10k? How much balance can I use if ever. I’m ofw po here in taiwan. I plan to apply for a credit card at bdo this dec. and if approved, will it be released quickly?

  20. Hi Aster, for secured credit cards, the credit limit is usually 80% of the collateral deposit. Approval by BDO usually takes time. Ask the BDO officer about processing time. You can also try BPI or BPI Family — ask about their processing time.

  21. Hi gud am. I’ve been an ofw for 4yrs here in oman with continous contract, 3yrs po with credit card here in bank muscat. I’m a government employee. Wouldn’t I qualify for a credit card at BDO?

  22. Hi mrs nora. Can I apply for a credit card? I want to get a car loan. innova for husband’s business. how do we apply for credt card. I’m ofw po. I’ll be leaving soon, it’s my first time. thanks po

  23. Hi gerila, you do not need a credit card to apply for a car loan. You can apply directly at a Toyota dealership. But you need to save for the down payment (around 100k). Prepare your income documents, like cert of employment and salary or OFW job contract, and other sources of income. Start saving in a bank so you can also present a bank statement later on.

  24. I’ve been applying for credit card every time I went for a vacation and it all ended up denied. Indeed I don’t need it but for some reasons like online payment for a training course, online education, payment for traffic violation and others, so it is necessity for me to have one. I applied in a couple of banks with requirements and documents. I always failed to provide land line phone since it is not really practical to have this days because of the existence and the comfort of having a mobile phone. This requirement always turned down my application. Can you please tell me what is exactly the main reason why the banks is always asking for a land line phone? Is this mean that if I cannot pay my debt they ask or sue the telephone company because I am one there client or maybe this is very important for them because it is considered as collateral. Kindly please enlighten me.

  25. Hi Nelgn, banks need the landline phone for these purposes: to verify information written by the applicant on the form; to prove that the applicant really resides in the given address; to prove that the residence is stable (was approved for a landline phone); landline phone nos. are not easily changed like mobile phone nos.
    You can start with BPI’s secured credit card. You might also like to try BPI’s Mastercard debit card so you can make Internet payments. There are others like GCash Visa, Smart Money Mastercard or Union Bank Eon Visa debit card.

  26. Hi i’m marj i have already a kabayan atm card. When the teller ask me if i want to use it outside the country and i say yes. it is really works here in riyadh? In any mastercard atm machine?

  27. Hi Marjorie, yes, if you have changed your PIN at a BDO atm when you were in the Philippines. Use it an atm with Mastercard or Maestro logo.

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