Credit card or debit card use is not that popular here in the Philippines. For some reason, Pinoys still prefer cash instead of using cards. That is why COD or cash on delivery is still a popular payment mode for online shopping stores in the Philippines.
Compare this with the way consumers from our neighboring countries shop, either in person or online like in Singapore or Japan. I think we are the only country who still use COD as mode of payment for online orders.
Retailers may also be also part of the problem because online payments have some additional costs to implement, but we will not dwell into that.
I got my credit card 10 years ago, and I must admit that it was very hard to get approved for a card application back then. You must have been employed under the same employer for X number of years and your salary must be at least this amount. But now, getting a card is easy. A few days ago, I went to BPI to take care of some personal stuff and while waiting, I noticed that BPI offers a credit card simply by opening a 10,000 peso savings account. That easy. Credit card agents are everywhere so there really is no excuse for you not to get one. I actually got my second and third credit cards by just filling out application forms in while in a mall, and I got with the same credit limit as my original card!
Here are some great benefits of using a credit card as payment.
- Convenience. Easy payment anywhere! My wife and I are travel addicts. Thus, we are constantly monitoring airlines for cheap fares. And it pays off. We get the best deals every time at the comfort of our home.Stores are also moving digitally. Surprisingly, I get the best deals online. Aside from getting the lowest prices, online stores offer free delivery. Imagine the time you save when you shop online in contrast of shopping inside a mall. Cards are also easier to carry around than using money. I remember when I had my house renovated. I bought materials in Wilcon which cost nearly a hundred thousand. Imagine the hassles of paying the items in cash. First, you will have to withdraw the money and then carry this big amount of cash around while you travel to the store. Not only do you waste time going to the bank but you also have to worry about your security.
- Freebies! This is actually the primary reason why always use my card. I get freebies all the time. A lot of cards offer free meals if you reach certain amounts in card usage. You may not notice this, but depending how large your family is, your monthly groceries will probably cross the 3000 pesos mark per month. I know my monthly grocery ranges between 3000-5000 pesos per month. So after I am done with the grocery, I head straight to that jolly place to get my free meal.Regularly using your card also earns you reward points. As I have mentioned before, I got my first card 10 years ago and I have amassed a lot of points. After 10 years of regular use, I have redeemed all my points and I was able to get a snicker worth 5000 pesos! For free, for real.You also get to enjoy VIP perks with your card.
Recently, I got myself an RCBC black card (got it from one of the agents in the mall) and I was able to use it when we traveled overseas. While waiting for our flight in NAIA 4, I remember that the card offers free use of the MIASCOR lounge. It was the first time I have used a VIP lounge and boy I loved it! Not only did the lounge offer a great waiting are (meaning quiet place and comfy seats), they also provide unlimited snacks and drinks (drinks include alcoholic beverages). I felt like a real VIP. The experience was really awesome.
- Payment in installments. There comes a time that bills pile up in a month and expenses are no longer within budget. When this happens, I take the opportunity to have my bill split into installments. The most common expense that I place into easy installments would be my car’s oil change. A typical oil change for my car costs between 3000-5000 pesos. A “heavy maintenance” visit can cost me around 10000-12000 pesos! This is the reason why every time I visit the car dealer, I normally split payments into 3 installments, with no interest! This ensures that my monthly expenses stay near the budget.
I am sure that there are a lot more benefits in using a card but the reasons above are the ones why I prefer credit card payments over cash (or debit card for that matter)
Word of caution, no matter the mode of payment is, we should always be cautious on how much we spend. Most people dread credit cards because it’s easy to spend money that you don’t have and be buried deep in debt. Credit card charges can be very expensive if you don’t pay in time and in full. But I believe that if you have a working budget and has that discipline when it comes to shopping, the pros of using credit cards outweigh the cons.
So go ahead and get yourself that plastic card.