Updated: August 3, 2022
I love credit cards and I couldn’t imagine my life without one.
Yes, it may seem odd to read this from a financial adviser, when many others have written how evil credit cards are.
Personally, I believe that anyone who holds an aversion towards credit cards are missing out on one of the most practical financial leverage tools available to us.
First, let me emphasize on the word, TOOL. The dictionary defines that word as a device that helps us perform a task. In a sense, that’s what credit cards do, it assists us in paying for our purchases.
It provides safety and convenience so we don’t have to carry so much money in our pockets, especially when we’re off to buy something expensive.
It gives us breathing space in our budget through installment plans and deferred payments. At times, it has helped me save and make money as well.
However, I believe that credit cards are NOT a necessity in life. Although I said that I couldn’t imagine my life without one, it doesn’t mean that I couldn’t really live without it.
Here’s an analogy; consider one of the most basic tools of a carpenter – the hammer. If he needs to drive a nail into a plank, using a hammer is the easiest way to do it.
Nevertheless, the same task can still be accomplished by simply using any heavy object. Yes, it can be awkward and more tedious to use a rock to drive the nail, but it gets the work done, which is what’s really important.
So if credit cards are not a necessity, then how do you build a good credit history to qualify for loans? How do you shop online? And what will you do if you have a financial emergency?
Below are various situations to solve these problems.
A few months after I started working, I remember my father saying to me that I should apply for a credit card so that I could begin building my credit history. When I asked why I needed to do this, he said that it will help me financially in the future.
A good credit score could mean lower loan interest rates, quick mortgage application approvals and many others.
Although these are true, fact is, you can acquire a good credit history even if you don’t have a credit card. You can do this by simply paying your bills on time. A collection of regularly paid billing statements can be used as proof of your financial stability.
Moreover, it may be difficult at first to secure a loan, but once you do and are able to pay the bank adequately and without miss – your reputation as a prime borrower increases. That and your credit score as well.
A few days ago, a friend of mine asked if he could use my credit card because he urgently needs to buy something important online. I was surprised to learn he doesn’t have a credit card anymore. He said that he canceled all of them after he paid all his debt early this year.
This concerned me because I know how much he relies on his credit card to buy things online for his freelance projects.
He said that he’s been using the credit card of his father, which as of late, got a little annoyed from his constant borrowing and suggested that he get a new credit card for himself instead.
Fortunately, debit cards are now available for everyone. I explained to my friend that he can easily apply for one in his bank. This nifty tool can actually do almost everything that a credit card can, except spend money that you don’t have – which is not necessarily a bad thing.
In the Philippines, I know that VISA debit cards can be acquired from Equitable PCI Bank, Union Bank and Chinatrust Bank while MasterCard debit cards are available from Banco De Oro.
This happens to all of us. Unforeseen circumstances do occur when we need money and we don’t have any in our pockets. In some cases, having a credit card could be a real life saver. In most situations though, having an ATM card is all that’s necessary.
You underestimated your budget when you went out? You realized that the money you brought is not enough to buy the item you need? Just head off to the nearest ATM machine and withdraw some cash.
But what about other more serious financial emergencies?
I believe that this is where paying yourself first really pays. We should all recognize the fact that life can be unpredictable and this is why we need to consciously save money for the “rainy days”.
Having an emergency fund is the smarter choice here and I believe that if you don’t have the discipline to build one, then it may not be wise for you to own a credit card.
Still Thinking of Applying For A Credit Card?
I believe that the only valid reason why you should get a credit card is because you want to use it as financial leverage.
So before you go and submit that application form or use that pre-approved credit card that was mailed to you. Ask yourself first these questions and see if you have the proper mindset and skills to handle this power tool:
1, Do I have the discipline to track my expenses?
2. Can I resist the temptation of buying on impulse?
3. How will having a credit card change and affect my current lifestyle?
The last question is something you should thoroughly consider. It is imperative that you have full understanding of how you can use credit cards to your financial advantage. Just like a hammer can hurt you with one careless strike, misuse and abuse of credit cards can drive you down into a pit of debt and pain.
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Photo credits: armydre2008 and smemon
credit card helped me so much especially after i spent all my money for my wedding.
I have two credit cards: one is Citibank and the other BPI Express Credit. I used to have 4 but I tore two up.
I’ve used both cards to my advantage. One thing that is most useful is it is now a requirement for housing loans and even for US Visa to check one’s credit standing. I’ve also used it to purchase zero interest on gadgets that I needed but couldn’t afford in cash. Note that these gadgets are self-liquidating like my first mac.
good insight and tips, fitz. i do have one bpi card which i haven’t been using for quite a while save for some online domain/software purchases. although i am mostly at home, i have no plans of cutting-off the credit card service because just like you said, it provides that financial leverage, plus, in this day and age, a credit card is a must and the benefits of having one will far outweigh the risks which are nonetheless avoidable.
Like noemi, I want to get a credit card for the zero interest thing. Although I still haven’t applied for one because I’m so lazy accomplishing the requirements.
It has been the almost the same for me, except that I spent all my money in expanding a business. The credit cards really helped in some of the everyday expenses. Congratulations and best wishes!
Haha, I used to have five credit cards. Three of which I happily cut into bits and pieces. I also have BPI for business and investment expenses and an EastWest credit card for personal expenses.
I’m glad you liked my article. Indeed, having credit cards nowadays can be more beneficial than not owning one IF you know how to use them properly.
Yeah, some credit cards do have a lot of requirements for the application. I guess you should just pursue it when you really need to take advantage of the zero interest plans – which I think is the best benefit anyone can have with a credit card.
Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts. 🙂
gusto ko lang yung credit card na mababa ang interest.
I only applied for one Credit Card because I am really not used to loan or borrow money. So my credit card expenses is not really a problem for me. Usually yung mga credit card people ang namomroblema saken kung pano nila ako pipilitin gamitin hehe I use my credit card for emergency purposes only.
great ideas and tips! right now i am holding a visa credit card for students and is 0 interest on everything. i just have to worry about my payments. for me, it has been my lifesaver ever since i went abroad for my studies.
Try to inquire on East West and Banco de Oro. I believe they have the lowest interest rates.
Yes, they’re really helpful when it comes to emergencies. However, I suggest that you occasionally use it so that you can earn points which you can trade for the deferment of the annual fee.
You’re lucky to have that student VISA credit card. Having zero interest on everything gives you so much financial leverage.
i love reading blogs and i think i’m very fortunate to come across this blog. i am a young person who knows how to handle expense well but skeptic when it comes to credit card or having a credit card. after reading your post, i think i was enlightened. right now i’m planning to buy a laptop and i don’t want to buy it in full cash; afterwards i have no cash on hand or too little of it… thankies… now, all i need to do is to choose where will i apply for a credit card, citbank, hsbc, etc… ÃœÃœÃœ
you might what to check these blogs too… ÃœÃœÃœ
Hi Meg, thanks for sharing. 🙂
It is so nice to know that you own this.. I hope you still remember me… This is Paul – how is Don? 🙂 Keep in touch.
Hi Paul. Nice to see you here in my blog. We’re fine and I hope everything is okay in your side of the world. 🙂 I saved your number (but edited it out of your comment) and we’ll keep in touch.
Re: Low Interest Cards
The only banks that have “low” interest credit cards are:
EastWest Bank Mastercard – 2.5% to 2.75% per month (up to 33% APR)
RCBC Bankard myDream JCB – 2.75% per month (33% APR)
Metrobank M’Lite Mastercard – 2.75% per month (33% APR)
BPI Express Credit Classic – 2.75% per month (33% APR)
most platinum credit cards offer 2.75% interest per month
I have 2 credit card, metrobank and bpi, i always received a phone calls from various agents offering credit cards of other banks, i duunoo how they got my info. so far im loyal in bpi.
Thanks for sharing that one… that’s really helpful information!
Your information is actually being shared throughout the credit world across banks and other financial institutions, specially if you have good credit history. Just ignore them. And it pays to be loyal to a bank. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
i believe that as long you know how to use your credit cards wisely, you won’t get into any financial troubles. this is edelweiza, a proud credit card user! 🙂
I just come across your blog and it really helped me a lot. I’ve been making a lot of research lately trying to find the company that offers best credit card in terms of services and low interests. I’m already working for 8 months on my first job and I really dreamed of having one. Actually I already prepared all the necessary requirements!
I know I’m responsible enough in handling my finances and I’m lucky earning above average from those who just started working. But I want to know more about having a credit card, I’m undecided where to apply, I want BDO but then I’m having second thoughts. Reading all their replies helped me understand more but still its not enough. I’m having cold feet. 🙂
What would you guys advice? Thanks in advance.
Thanks for the comment. I am also a proud credit card user. 😀
I’m glad you found my articles really helpful. 🙂 Regarding your concern, I hope that you’ll be a little more patient as I am currently drafting an article that addresses exactly your problem – how to choose the right credit card for you.
For the meantime, please enjoy reading my other personal finance articles and I hope you could share and tell your friends about my website. Thanks!
[…] mentally and financially to own a credit card. I suggest that you first read my previous article, Things You Ought To Know Before Applying For A Credit Card, to have initial guidance and a proper mindset on why you should get a credit […]
its good thing that our company has a pre approved credit card for the employees…everybody working for GE MONEY BANK can avail this card. i definitely grabbed the opportunity since its not necessary for you to have a landline.. i enjoyed it however i cant use it online because it is not being supported by the bank and theres no installment plan or deferred payment plan so i cant maximize the use of it.. since i already have one i tried to apply in citibank and hsbc but im always denied since i dont have a landline.
i really love to have another card with online and installment plan features and also with convenient payment centers..but how can i avail such if i dont have the primary requirement of having a landline? do you know companies or banks which still grant you a card? i heard bpi before had a promo that once you open a savings account, you will be given a pre approved credit card provided you will not take the money out of the savings account..the money will be frozen as long as you are using the credit card i dont know if this promo still exist..
im qualified with everything (income,documents,valid id’s,etc) except i dont have a landline..can somebody help me?thanks
I’m not so sure about the credit card companies that disapprove applications because you have no landline. Can’t you use your office number as your contact number?
Hi Fitz! I don’t know if you remember me. I emailed you once when I just started blogging, and I really did appreciate the advice you’ve given me on how to start. I now set up my own domain, but I’m still learning ways on how to generate more traffic into my site.
Have an entry on credit card use, since I just successfully reverted my fees. Thought this might help your readers too. Here’s the link:
How To Reverse Credit Card Fees
Hi Mitz, of course I remember you. I’m actually subscribed to your blog. 😀
Anyway, thanks for sharing that article. I sure my readers will find that very helpful.
[…] stories actually made some friends of mine paranoid about getting credit cards. This is sad because credit cards are great tools for financial leverage if you know how to use them […]
hi. can a student like me apply for a credit card? geez im having a bad prob regarding this. anyways im asking my father to make me a supplementary at bdo. is there still any best deals in other banks?
Hi! I am working at home, doing an online job. Because of my online job I already have my savings on my metrobank. One of the employees of the bank called on my cellphone that I am valid to apply for a credit card. Honestly I like to have one because I want to purchase a laptop. What stop me is I am afraid to have debts but my plan for the credit card is only to purchase a laptop. After paying my debts on my credit card, can i cut it out and never use it again? the purpose of the credit card is for the laptop only. Please give me some advice. Thanks.
i am bpi credit card user.i enjoy using it w/o annual fee.thank you ayala group.
love my credit card because it’s useful for airlines booking.. i don’t let it control me though and take over my life so always pay everything on time to avoid any charges..
I always want to have a credit card because I need it for emergency purchases especially since I have a baby. But I wonder why I always get denied credit every time I apply for a card.
I never had a credit card in my life.
I never had bank loans in my life.
I have a stable job.
Is it possible that I am always denied because there is another person with the same name as mine, and I’m presuming she is a delinquent payer.. What can I do about this?
I actually met the girl with the same name as mine. She was a co-worker before in a call center.
Even my mom is immune to the disapproval letters that we receive at home.
I hate it.
WHat can I do about this? Please help me!
‘hi pls give me some technique using credit card , i have eastwest visa card.
i just got it now
With the “ZERO INTEREST” thing? Don’t be fool from it. There is no zero interest, its just a marketing strategy. Try to pay it on cash so will know how much interest is actually on the SRP ;). I have 2 credit cards, but I use them wisely. I also have BPI e-Prepaid card (re-loadable – you can get this one easily) and I use it online for the items I can buy in-cash, just like small items or an item with a price from 300 to 2,000. All I do is to reload (transfer an exact amount from my BPI Accnt to e-Prepaid) and buy anything online 😉 you can use it for online shopping just like credit cards.
Just wondering, what banks can I apply that allows less than1 year employment experience? Im currently in my 7th month and I wanna know if there are available options for me. Thank you for sharing! 🙂 Nice post
hello paula. I can refer you to a starter credit card. I am still 19 yrs old but I have my primary credit card. i also have supplementary card from my mom.
I have 2 credit cards. One is BDO and the other Security Bank. I actually didn’t apply for one. They just sent it to me maybe because I’ve had savings account in their banks.
I’ve been planning on terminating my BDO credit card but I’m still having second thoughts mainly because BDO is a very wellknown bank and I think, most of the stores nowadays offer 0% installment if using BDO credit card.
But I don’t use my BDO credit card anymore kasi mas sulit ung point system ng Security Bank.
[…] You get denied or turned down for a loan or credit card application. […]
sad to know im not regular to my company dats d only thing why i canr have a credit card but i can pay on time..just riding to a friend’s credits card just to avail my needs..tsk tsk
anyone can refer?
Hi, ive just read your blog..definitely a credit card can be your bestfriend if you know how to use it well..i do have 6 credit cards, so far so good. I am able to maintain all of them…paying all my balances in full before due date..my very first cc that i got was hsbc. Thats the oldest.. Before iam having a hard time applying for one.it took me 5 years to finally have one…
Hi Ms. Fitz. What do you think are the advantages/disadvantages of owning two (or more) credit cards in the Philippines? thank you.
I’m a collage student right now (1st year collage or grade 11)
I was wondering if what credit card can i get? (16 btw)
I feel and use credit card the way that you do, as a tool. As an online buyer myself, i don’t want to annoy others by borrowing their credit card to buy something especially tools i need for my online business, like domain, hosting renewals and paying for my monthly subscription to TRC. thanks for this post
2 from metrobank 2 from bdo 1 from eastwestbank 1 from bpi and rcbc woooah.
It’ll be a sort of surprising when you owned a car. Just like me, my car is my bestfriend. I love washing my car everyday that it looks very blacky shiny one. I use it everyday when I go to the office or anywhere I want. That is why I applied my credit card in order for me to buy something quickly as possible.
[…] my previous article, Things You Ought To Know Before Applying For A Credit Card, to have initial guidance and the proper mindset on why you should get a credit […]