OFW’s Guide to Getting Your First Credit Card

Credit card can be essential these days. Instead of bringing cash, you can pay for your purchases using a credit card (and promise to pay them in full!). Apparently, not everyone can be given a credit card. Credit card companies are closely looking at your background and credit score to make sure that they will get paid no matter what happens. Some companies have even stricter requirements.

Still, this doesn’t mean you won’t be given a credit card. All you need to do is to ensure these three things to boost your chances of approval:

Have a stable source of income. 

This is a must. For credit card companies, it’s not enough that you have a job. What they need is a credit card holder whose income is both stable and steady.

How can you show that?

Your Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is enough proof since most overseas work requires two years. Present your employment contract as well since it will show how much you will earn every month. Presenting your remittances can also help you get a credit card approval.

If you have other sources of income such as business or earnings from your investment, then go ahead and present it. Credit card companies will appreciate that.

Open a deposit account.

 

It’s not just enough that you opened a deposit account. Credit card companies need to see that there is regular deposit going on in your account and preferably, with minimum withdrawal.

What you can do is to have a deposit account dedicated for remittances and another account, which could serve as your Emergency Fund. Present your Emergency Fund account since this is always increasing and with little withdrawal happening. Consequently, go beyond the maintaining balance through regular deposit. It is a sign of being financially responsible, which is a big plus. If you can, don’t go below P20,000. Don’t worry. You can do it.

Go for secured credit card. 

You have the option to prove yourself to credit card companies through your income and deposits. If you want the easier way, you can always go for a secured credit card. Mind you, this requires more money because a credit card company will require you to open an account (savings, checking, or time deposit account) and pledged deposit. This pledged deposit will serve as a guarantee for the credit card. The credit line will also depend on your deposits.

Whether you go for secured credit card or just the regular one, you will still be required to comply with the following:

  • Between 21 and 65 years of age
  • Billing statement reflecting your Philippine address
  • Overseas Employment Certificate
  • Certificate or Contract of Employment
  • Work permit or work visa

Tips in finding the right credit card:

  • Go for the bank where you course through your remittances. This will make it easier for you to get approved.
  • Look for a credit card that you can use overseas.
  • Compare annual fees. This could eat up your savings since some credit card companies charge higher annual fees. If you can go for free annual fee, then go for it.
  • Ask for and compare credit card interest rates. There are instances when you won’t be able to pay in full (although this is not advisable!), and high interest rates can be heavy on your budget.
  • Learn about the credit card’s special features such as reward points or rebate.

Despite the convenience and features, handling a credit card requires discipline and responsibility. Take it easy on credit card usage. If you use it, make sure you can pay in full. Remember that a credit card is not an extension of your salary. If you can’t afford to pay the item in cash, then it is best to leave your plastic card behind.

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