Banking 101: How to Open a Bank Account and Apply for a Credit Card

Opening a bank account in the Philippines is very easy, as long as you fulfil the necessary requirements. For Filipino citizens, most banks require two valid IDs, a handful of ID photos (normally 1×1 or 2×2) and the minimum deposit (the minimum deposit can range from P500 to P5,000, depending on the bank and the type of account you want to open). Some banks may require foreigners that are legally residing in the country to produce their original Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR-I) card.

Most bank accounts in the Philippines fall under two categories: savings, and checking. There are many options within each category, the major differences of which include the interest rates and required maintaining balance. Depending on the account, most banks give account holders an ATM card, which you can use to withdraw money from the various ATMs all over the country, and likewise, depending on the type of account, some banks will provide a passbook that can be used to make over-the-counter withdrawals.

On the other hand, applying for a credit card can be trickier, particularly for those who have virtually no credit record. First-time credit card applicants may have an easier time of getting approved when they apply through their company, as some banks go from company to company offering their services; however, should they decide to apply on their own, they will have to produce an array of documents, which may include a certificate of employment, two months’ payslips, BIR form 2316, and two valid photo IDs, among quite a few other requirements.

As with opening a savings account, each bank offers different interest rates, promotions, and services. For instance, one bank may give approved credit card applicants a wrist watch after they have spent an accumulated value of P10,000 on their new card, while another bank may offer a free lifetime membership to those who avail of their credit card products within a specific period. There are also many types of credit cards to choose from, as oftentimes these cards offer rewards (in conjunction with partnering retail outlets), rebates (money-back on frequent purchases such as gasoline), and miles, to name but a few.

Should your credit card application be approved, be mindful of the cut-off date; the expenses you incurred for that month up to that cut-off date will be billed to you for that month, while your purchases after the cut-off will be included on your next billing cycle (for example, if your cut-off date is the 17th of every month and you purchased a P5,000 value item on the 16th, then you will be billed for that month. On the other hand, if you purchased the item on the 18th, then you will be billed in the succeeding month).

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