Updated on June 23, 2011
WARNING for some credit card applicants: Apply for a credit card only if:
– you haven’t changed your old but functional Nokia phone
– you’ve only a few pairs of good shoes
– just enough good clothes
– and if your usual routine is home-to-work-then-back-to-home.
In short, you have complete control over your spending.
If you can afford to pay your balance in full every month promptly, whatever the amount, then a credit card for you will be a tool, and not a problem. And yes, you can buy all the phones, clothes and shoes you want.
A few years ago, I had 9 credit cards, and these cards almost killed me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I wrote about this in this post — Free from Credit Cards, At Last! — if you’re interested. I thank the Lord always I was able to get out of that deep, suffocating debt pit.
Now, I only maintain two credit cards: one is a local card with no annual fee, and the other is also a local card with low-interest-rate loan options.
What does BPI Classic Credit Card offer that most other cards do not?
1. BPI charges only 2.75 % a month on the balance while most other cards charge 3.5 %. Paying earlier than the due date has also an effect with BPI because it considers the Average Daily Balance when it computes your finance charge.
2. For emergencies, you don’t need to use the very expensive Cash Advance remedy, which charges you about P600 (for most cards) for using the ATM and which immediately activates the interest rate clock. BPI has Credit-To-Cash, Balance Transfer and Special Installment Plan ( SIP) in Schools. If you have a BPI or BPI Family account, you can get your cash the next day.
For Credit-To-Cash, you just present your card at a BPI Express Center.
For SIP in Schools, you present your child or kin’s school receipt or account statement.
For Balance Transfer, present your other card’s latest bill. With BPI, balance transfer proceeds are given directly to you and not paid to the other card’s bank. In effect, you can divert the money. But be careful with this. You can end up getting buried in more debts. But if you’re wise, this is a good feature because you can have your cash for only 0.70% monthly on the Special Installment Plan (SIP). (Update June 2011: from 1.00 to 1.25% depending on terms)
3. (Probably no longer offered; no longer on my statements) BPI offers every card holder a free Ayala Life Insurance coverage. The insurance amount is 12 times the average monthly purchases and SIP payments for the previous three months.
4. Annual fee is still P1,250. Most others charge 1,600 for the same card class.
5. BPI also has auto-deposit ATMs. You put your peso bills into the ATM any time any day (no more envelopes, no more writing) and then pay your BPI card bill through your BPI ATM Check-Free feature.
6. Your first supplementary card holder is not charged with an annual fee during the entire life of your card.
7. Then, of course, BPI offers what most other cards offer, such as:
– 0% appliance and other big-item installment purchases
– Internet and phone payments and checking of credit card accounts
– promos from time to time, such as restaurant freebies for referrals/purchases
– frequent-user rewards.