Getting a credit card is a big financial step. And many Filipinos see it as unnecessary, if not downright dangerous. After all, it is debt.
However, as financial literacy improves in the country, people are changing their minds on debt as well. Used responsibly, a credit card can reap you a number of rewards such as cash back, travel rewards or even gift cards. Read the testimonials below, and find out how ordinary Filipinos used their credit cards to improve their financial health.
If You're Just Starting Out
Juan Carlos Santos, a 27 year-old entrepreneur fondly recounts his decision to finally get a credit card: "It's quite scary applying and using a credit card when you're younger," he says. " There's always a fear that you'll overspend and be in debt.
"However, when I got my credit card, I made sure to track my expenses while enjoying the benefits my card gave me. I really like supporting local music and bands, and having a credit card gave me access to pre-selling of concert tickets and special events.
"I also automated my payment to avoid paying interest," he tells us.
If you're just starting out, consider getting a card to help you start building your credit history. An established credit history allows you to more easily secure loans down the line. And choose a credit card that can get you more out of spending on things you enjoy - benefits that include (but are not limited to) travel rewards, e-gifts, exclusive members-only sales, and early access to tickets.
If You Love To Travel
Emaila Villegas, 29 year-old content creator, is not one to stay in one place for very long. "I took a ‘gap year' between jobs way back," she tells us. "It's not the norm in our culture but I decided that it's what I wanted and what I believe was best for me at that time.
"So when it came time for me to choose a credit card, I chose one with travel benefits," she says. " My credit card gave me bonus points for every flight booked - we have over 7,000 islands, of course I'm going to visit each one!."
Emaila no longer worries about falling into a debt hole with her credit card. "A lot of my friends are concerned about getting a credit card because of the fear of falling into debt," she tells us. "But with responsible usage, there's really nothing to worry about and everything to gain."
If you love to travel, it's best to consider a card that provides airline and hotel perks. Benefits may include:
If You're a New Homeowner
Owning a home is a big goal for many Filipinos. It's also one of the most expensive and most challenging ones as well. Shaun Lanego, 36, knows this.
"My parents created a fund for me when I was born and they gave me access to it when I turned 18; I knew that that money will go into buying a home," he tells us. " All of the money went towards the deposit for the house - I used a credit card help me pay for my daily expenses, while still saving up for the home.
"The benefits and points really did come handy," Shaun explains. "I used my points to pay for new things for my home!"
If you're a new home owner, consider getting a card that offers extras for your home expenses. Benefits may include:
If You're Getting Married
"When I married the love of my life, it was one of the best days of my life. But I can't deny that it's one of the most expensive days too," says Laura Cabintog, who got married last 2015. "We had a set budget, but with the number of family members we had and different opinions, the budget was shot.
"It was a good thing that we decided to get a credit card beforehand," Laura says. " At least we were earning something back what we were spending."
Laura urged her then-fiancée to draw up a payment plan. "We decided which purchases we're going to use our card," she recalls. "By the end of the wedding planning and our honeymoon, the points we accumulated was enough for a second honeymoon!"
If you're getting married, consider a card that earns you rewards on important purchases. Benefits may include:
If You're Starting a Family
Louis Reyes, a 39-year-old finance manager recounts, "My wife and I prepared before deciding to have a child, but with diapers and highchairs, and visits to the doctor, it was a big change from our pre-baby life and budget."
Louis wisely decided to use a credit card that gave them cash back on purchases, " to extend the use of our money," Louis explains. " More budget for our child's future."
If you're starting a family, consider a card that gives you more for everyday purchases. Benefits may include:
With planning and knowledge, choosing a credit card can help you keep track of your spending and help you get more bang for your buck in whatever stage of your life you're in. To learn more about how to make credit work for you, read Play Your (Credit) Cards Right.