Thoughts of a Mega Banker: 14 Tips to Outsmart your Credit Card

Working for the biggest financial in North America fortified everything I know about Philippine credit cards. There are better resources online but let me share you what I know about this great financial tool and how you can use it to your advantage and not the other way around.

"The plastic" is very convenient and rewarding to use that is if you know how to use it wisely.

14 Ways to Outsmart your credit card

  1. Always pay it in full based on your "outstanding balance". (Note: not minimum, partial.) This is where we make money from fees like finance, interest, or transaction fees.
  2. Get a card which suits your lifestyle. If you are a frequent flyer, then use card that gives you reward like miles. Make sure you get the best deals of the best card. 
  3. Do not pay for annual fee ever. That is not to say that you don't pay it at all, just ask them nicely over the phone if they could waive it let's say for the first year or the first three years. I made this mistake and so shouldn't you. If they reject the idea then call again in the next 6 hours or so and plea up until you get what you called for. Don't even give in when they say that they will increase your credit limit instead. Remember that is not your money on hand but a money that you are to borrow. You are after the rewards and not paying more fees. Just note that the annual fee is usually billed a month before your first card anniversary.
  4. Know the cutoff of every billing statement. Then pay a week before it. Or better yet divide the payments in two and pay every payday or better yet pay every purchase you make if your savings account and the credit card account is enrolled on your online bank profile.
  5. Always get your rewards before their expiry at the end of the year.
  6. Link all your bills to your plastic so you get the points. (Meralco, Globe, Sun, Smart, Tuition, Life Insurance)
  7. Be responsible enough to never go overdraft so you won't get any fees.
  8. Don't ever be tempted to avail of cash advance unless if it is an emergency and you don't have enough savings. Banks these days offer a .99% interest per month which is good but if you could pay it off before the term reaches half then the better.
  9. Don't treat your plastic as a lotto ticket. You can't swipe it just when you feel like it. Treat it as your extended time lender for 30 days instead. 
  10. Make sure your Philippine credit card has MasterCard and Visa logo on it. These are universal merchant associations and they make sure that your card is accepted everywhere (even internationally) you use it.
  11. If your card has online banking, enroll in e-statements as well like text and email notification. This will serve your reminder for online transaction, fraud detection for unusual transaction and so that you don't forget your due date.
  12. Don't be like the rest of the nation who is influenced under the culture of just paying the minimum amount due. If you don't pay in full, interest charges will start to incur.
  13. It is good to know that banks already earn every time you use it since they charge the merchant and not you. Charging you with additional fees is already an additional stream of income actually.
  14. And if you travel abroad, you can use it to pay the merchant even without going to the money changer. Just inform your bank ahead of time so they can put fraud notifications at bay.

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