How I Settled My Credit Card Debt

My credit card debt started to pile up in 2008. I had the card for only over a year, and by the second year, I was already only paying the minimum required payment. How did it happen? It was basically due to lack of knowledge about credit card usage.

I decided to stop paying in October 2010. I lost my card three months prior to that, and the replacement card that I requested was never delivered in my address. I dealt with customer service for three months that when I finally got the card, I immediately throw it away and decided to forget about it. And so I thought.

For the next few months, I started receiving calls, emails and letters from debt collectors often posing as lawyers. I became an expert at recognizing unwanted calls and in researching who those callers are. When I got a new job in 2012 and needed to travel abroad, my company submitted an application for an AMEX Corporate card for myself and was denied. We had to submit a notarized document in order to get the issuing bank’s approval.

The calls and emails stopped for awhile, but in early 2014, they came back. It became concerning at that point as the calls are actually coming in at work. Then in 2015, my siblings and I purchased a condominium unit under my name. That is when my credit card nightmare started (again).

I’d say, I always had the intention to eventually pay as I have been in fact saving money for it. But I just didn’t know how and where to start. A lot of things are holding me back, I was afraid that:

  • my bank might ignore me and refer me to the debt collectors. I was firm from the very beginning that I will never negotiate with debt collectors, ever.
  • my bank may accommodate me but I was afraid my debt has already earned very high interest which I could not afford to pay.
  • I might need to get a lawyer and deal with all the legal stuff.

All these disappeared with just one call!

See, all banks declined my home loan application because of my unsettled credit card debt. It took my agents over three months to convince me to call my bank. And the rest is history, you may check my previous post for the story:

How to Get a Bank Clearance for your Credit Card

So, how do you settle your credit card debt?



1. If your card is still active, meaning your latest payment due date has not passed one month yet, call your bank and ask for an amnesty. Negotiate and request for a supervisor if necessary. Be honest about your financial status and come to an agreement about payment terms and on deducting interests. You may be granted a payment term of up to six or twelve months depending on the total amount. Note that the bank’s decision will depend on your past paying habits. If you have been a very good payer for a long time, you may be given better options and considerations.

2. If you already stopped paying and you have already been receiving calls from debt collectors, you may:

    • negotiate with the debt collector
    • ignore them, save money, and settle with your bank later

Either way, you are going to pay anyway. I opted to negotiate with my bank, although it took me six years to do that. You don’t want to wait six years. The need to borrow from a bank may come anytime, and your credit card debt will definitely get in the way. Start considering calling your bank today.

3. Do you have multiple cards and are having a hard time paying them? You can seek assistance from the Credit Card Association of the Philippines (CCAP). The below article may be useful:

Get Help From The Credit Card Association of the Philippines – CCAP

Basically, they will help you consolidate your credit card debts through their Inter-bank Debt Relief Program (IDRP). Start by calling your bank, and ask if they are a member of CCAP, and is participating in the IDRP.

There may be lots of things which are holding you back right now. You may choose to settle your credit card debt today, or later. But one thing is for sure, it feels great when you finally get to receive that clearance. Peace of mind, at last. If you have been dealing with debt collectors for awhile, maybe this is the time to call you bank.

Are you also having problems paying off your credit card debt? Share us your story; feel free to leave your comments below.


The New Amore Visa Prepaid Card from BPI

So I just received an email advisory from BPI that they are replacing the My ePrepaid Mastercard with Amore Visa Prepaid Card. I actually have seen this product in their website before, so they may have just added additional features before relaunching it.

Here’s the advisory that was emailed to My ePrepaid Mastercard users:

The Amore Visa Prepaid comes in 2 variants:

  1. The payWave card allows for contactless transactions — tap, swipe and dip in POS terminals in stores worldwide. You can use this card to shop online as well.
  2. The beepTM card has 2 wallets: The Visa wallet allows you to shop in stores worldwide and online, and the beepTMwallet allows you to use MRT, LRT, NLEX, SCTEX, P2P and BGC buses with easy loading features.

You can also enjoy the following privileges:

  • Exclusive perks at Ayala Malls
    • Access to Ayala Malls lounge
    • 5% off movie tickets in Ayala Cinemas
    • Invitations to cardholder events like concerts, movie screenings and Ayala Malls sale events
  • Lower fee with longer validity period
    • P200 for payWave and P250 for beepTM
    • Validity of up to 4 years.
  • Rewards on your everyday spend through the new AmoRewards Program 

Click here to apply for an Amore Visa Prepaid Card.

So what will happen to the old My ePrepaid card? If your My ePrepaid Card is not expiring within 2017, you may still continue to use and enjoy the benefits of your existing card. However, if you want to renew in the future, the Amore Visa Prepaid Card will be your option.

On Unpaid Credit Card Debt

May nakukulong ba dahil sa di nabarayang credit card? You may have chanced upon this hot topic at Pinoy Exchange already, and I assume that this is also the reason why you are reading this article. Did you stop paying your credit card? Have you been getting emails, letters, and calls lately? Did someone already threaten you with an arrest warrant, court battle, and had people with “police escorts” knocking on your door? Did you receive a “subpoena”? Those are all from third-party collectors, they are agents from a credit collecting agency where your “debt” was sold.

Related topic:
What I Did to Save Money and Settle my Credit Card Debt

Based from my experience, your bank will try to reach out to you for payment for at least a month. If you fail to pay or if they can no longer contact you (because you are no longer answering their calls or emails), they will pass or “sell” your account information to a third-party collector and let them take over.

I have received the same “last and final demand” emails for years.

I have received calls and emails from at least three “law firms” in the span of six years. It looks like banks actually forward your information to different collectors (unless, these collectors are moving to different addresses and change their company names every two years or so). Whoever gets to convince you to pay, gets the commission. That’s the only time that the threats will stop.

Should you pay these third-party collectors? I have a friend who did because he got so worried when they were able to trace his address and actually went to their house. He agreed to pay, and they promised him a clearance that never arrived. He eventually got a clearance when he learned that I was able to get mine. Now, you may also go ahead and pay those collectors but calling your bank directly is a better option. CLICK HERE for information on how to get a credit card clearance. 

I don’t know of anyone who got arrested or who was denied of an NBI clearance due to an unpaid credit card.



What to do next? You may choose to ignore the calls and emails while earning enough money to pay your debt. Or if you have the money, I recommend that you call your bank and transact with them directly. I don’t know about other banks, but HSBC was very accommodating when I contacted them.

Good luck!

Cebu Pacific GetGo Debit Card by UnionBank Review

When my home loan from UnionBank was approved, I was required to open a savings account with them. My monthly amortization payment is to be automatically debited from the account; I thought this is more convenient instead of issuing checks, post dated or not.



At that time, they have just launched a new product called the Cebu Pacific GetGo Debit Card by UnionBank which the bank representative suggested. Instead of a savings account that requires an initial deposit and a maintaining balance of Php50,000, this option has no maintaining balance. This product is also tied-up with Cebu Pacific, so every point you earn from using the card automatically goes to your Cebu Pacific GetGo account.
Basically, you will get two cards – the Cebu Pacific GetGo card, and the UnionBank GetGo debit card itself. I am not really monitoring my GetGo points, but after over six months, I only earned 93 points. I’m guessing, auto-debit transactions are not counted.

Personally, I am only using the debit card for its initially intended purpose, but I just recently added it as a payment option to my Uber and Grab bookings.

Fast facts about the UnionBank GetGo Debit Card:

  • No maintaining balance, no initial deposit.
  • Unlike the BPI debit card which is only valid for two years, this one is valid for five years. There is an annual fee of Php500, I have yet to find out if this can be waived as my card is just 8 month olds (I will update this post by the end of 2017).
  • Your points are converted to Cebu Pacific GetGo points (Php88=1point).

On how to apply or to know more about this product, visit https://getgo.unionbankph.com.

BPI Prepaid Credit Card Review



UPDATE: The My ePrepaid Card is now being replaced with the Amore Visa Prepaid Card. CLICK HERE for more information.

I first started using a BPI ePrepaid Credit Card in 2011. I have renewed it three times since then and only stopped using it when I got a secured credit card from Security Bank.

A prepaid credit card is like a debit card that can also function as a credit card (confusing, eh?). Physically, the card will have either a Visa or MasterCard logo on it. You can use it for online payments, and can be swiped at a cashier without the need to enter a pin. It doesn’t have a pre-determined credit limit. From the word prepaid, the card is “reloadable” and the amount you can spend will basically depend on your remaining account balance.
Some fast facts about the BPI ePrepaid Credit Card:

  • No maintaining balance.
  • Maximum load amount is Php100,000.
  • The card is valid for two years, with a renewal fee of Php500.
  • Can be used wherever MasterCard is accepted.
  • Any remaining balance must be consumed as the card cannot be used to withdraw money from an ATM.
  • Application and renewal can be done at any branch.


Prepaid credit cards are very useful for online shopping. Personally, I used my BPI prepaid card to book hotels, bus, and plane tickets. And since I have an existing BPI savings account, reloading was also convenient as it can be done through online and mobile banking. From time to time, you will also receive promotional emails for some perks or discounts at participating establishments, such as the one below:

My only issue? The Php500 renewal fee cannot be waived, and while you can accomplish a renewal request online, you still need to bring the paperworks to a BPI branch. Big turn-off to some of us who dread long lines.

To know more about this product, visit https://www.bpiexpressonline.com/p/1/105/my-e-prepaid.