If you have to get a credit card in the Philippines, and
- you cannot pay the total amount due each month
- you can only pay the minimum due
- and you may have to be late some of the time,
then do not get credit cards that have high late-penalty fees and that are strict on payment dates.
HSBC — charges 600 pesos for every month that you are late even by just an hour or a day.
If you call them and explain your situation, your 600 may be reversed only once in every 6 months, and that depends on your reasoning and the mood of the bank representative at the time you are calling.
Next month, I’ll be receiving some money (Thank you, Lord!), and this HSBC card will be the first I will pay off fully and say goodbye to forever. Good riddance! Wow, how nice it would be to cut my HSBC card!
I was late in paying after the Ondoy floods, but the HSBC never heard my explanation. No soul! Only business for them.
STANDARD CHARTERED — also charges 600 pesos for every late payment… even by just an hour. Remember, the date changes at midnight? Or maybe the cutoff hour is every 6 am? So, after midnight or after 6 am, and your payment is not there, the 600 pesos is charged, presto!
How do I know? I have both of them.
Fortunately, there are credit cards in the Philippines that have retained some bits of kindness,
and I’m glad that the local banks (although they have foreign shareholders) are the leaders.
Aside from forgiving late payments, they also charge lower fees.
BPI EXPRESS CREDIT has been very kind to me in terms of late payments. As long as my payment-due doesn’t remain unpaid until the next statement date, I don’t get charge a late-penalty fee.
Kahit ma-late ako ng 5 days or 10 days! But, of course, I don’t abuse it. I oftentimes pay very early too. An I’ve been using this BPI credit card since March 2000.
And when a late-penalty is deserved — because the next statement date has passed and my due remained unpaid — eto yong times na may mga unexpected major expenses —
the penalty fee was only 6% of the total amount due.
One time I was late in paying 1,715.40 by 13 days (almost 2 weeks!).
And you know what? My late payment was only 102.93! Compare that to HSBC and Standard Chartered which charge cardholders 600 pesos for being late for only an hour or a day!
EASTWEST is also kind. It forgives a few days of delinquency. And the charge is only 200 pesos — when the next statement date has already passed.
BDO SHOP MORE charges 300 pesos or 5% of amount due, whichever is higher.
METROBANK charges 600 pesos or 7.5% of amount due, whichever is higher. This is one local bank that charges high, although this bank offers an annual-fee-free card and a low-interest Cash2Go loan.
Update as of March 2011: Metrobank M Free Mastercard now charges 700 pesos for late payments.
BPI EXPRESS CREDIT charges 6% of the amount due for the month — no fixed fee, no whichever.
This rule considers the poorer ones like me — 6 percent of 1,000 is only 60 pesos, but when a rich credit card holder is late, the 6-percent fee for 100,000 is 6,000 pesos. But, oh well, I’m not a gold cardholder; the late-penalty rules for gold credit cards could be different.
When charged a late penalty fee, call the bank. Give a valid reason. Oftentimes, they forgive, as long as you are not late often.
Free from Credit Cards, At Last!