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 at the soonest

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.

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

Photo Credit: CCAP

Still wondering how to settle your credit card debt with your bank or banks? If you have more than one credit card and you want to consolidate your payments, you may need the help of the Credit Card Association of the Philippines (CCAP). Watch the video below for more information:

IDRPAre you financially distressed and buried in credit card debt due to the factors beyond your control? We’re here to help! The Credit Card Association of the Philippines, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and participating banks launched the Interbank Debt Relief Program. Watch this video to learn more about the program.

Posted by Credit Card Association of the Philippines – CCAP on Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Basically, this Debt Relief Program allows credit card users to sustain paying the account and prevent further delinquency. “To enroll in the program, CCAP will review the debtor’s financial capacity. The repayment period is up to 10 years for “severe cases indebtedness” with a low rate of 1.5 percent per month or lower depending on the profile of the customer, debt to income ratio and completion of documents required for the program.  The participating banks may also have the option to disapprove application for customers who misused and abused the credit facility granted by the banks, said CCAP.

Based on a statement, CCAP said that as part of the guidelines of the program, all existing credit cards of the customer will have to be blocked or cancelled upon enrolment of the accounts to the program.

Rebates and rewards earned will also be forfeited. “Additionally, customers cannot apply for new credit facility with the participating banks while the accounts under the IDRP are not yet fully settled.” – Source: http://www.ccap.net.ph/?p=632

CCAP presently includes as members Asia United Bank, Bank of Commerce, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Citibank, China Banking Corp., Eastwest Banking Corp., Equicom Savings Bank, HSBC, Maybank, Metrobank Card Corp., Philippine National Bank, RCBC Bankard, SB Cards Corp., Standard Chartered Bank, and Union Bank of the Philippines.

What is the first step? Call your bank and ask them about IDRP!

To learn more, you may visit the CCAP at their Facebook page and website:
Facebook Page: https://web.facebook.com/CreditCardAssocPH/
Website: http://www.ccap.net.ph

Related Post: How I Settled My Credit Card Debt

How Credit Card Debt Collectors Find Your New Contact Information

I use to frequent online forums for topics concerning unpaid credit credit card debts. I was having the same dilemma back then, and because this is not commonly being discussed face to face, I understand why a lot of us resort to online message boards to talk about it.

What I observed from reading everyone else’s stories is that, a lot of people are surprised at how these debt collectors found them when they already changed their numbers, and have moved to different locations. The answers are simple, and they’re mostly in the internet.

1. Social Media.

It is very easy to find someone on social media. Just type in a old friend or acquaintance’s name on Facebook’s search bar and there’s a high chance that you will find them. You can even use phone numbers to look them up. If they used that number to create their account, their profile will appear on the search results.

It may not be as easy to do this on Twitter or Instagram where most users prefer a handle or nickname.

2. Google.

Try googling your name, and your social media profiles, old and new, active or not, are likely to be shown. If you passed a board or licensure exam, you will see your name on various lists published by the PRC, some blogs, and other major publications.

Try searching for your old numbers and anything that was posted online that has your number on it can also be found.

3. Work Records

So you changed jobs, or even moved overseas. But debt collectors were able to track you and even calling you via IDD. They may have seen your new job title or location which you posted in your Facebook or LinkedIn profiles.

You may choose to turn your Facebook’s privacy settings to maximum, but doing so with LinkedIn defeats the purpose (of having a LinkedIn profile).

4. Bank Records

If you recently applied for a salary loan, personal loan, car loan, or home loan, and was lucky enough to get approved, you must be aware that your credit record is accessible to all banks. As this is a new transaction, it surely has your new contact details. Your credit card issuer may have passed these information to the credit card debt collectors.

It is difficult to keep your privacy in this digital age. You’ll be surprised to discover that your personal information is everywhere. While most of these can be hidden (at least from debt collectors), your credit record and contact details that go with it are being shared by all banks.

Therefore, I will keep recommending that you settle your debt with your bank like what I did. CLICK HERE to find out how I got cleared from HSBC. Trust me, it is liberating!

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.

Getting a Secured Credit Card from Security Bank



Four months after settling my six-year-old credit card balance with HSBC, I applied for a credit card at Security Bank via a friend’s referral. I went ahead for two reasons:

  1. To check if getting a clearance from HSBC could clear my bad credit card history.
  2. Just to try my luck.

I was not approved and I am not surprised. I understand that it has only been four months since I got the clearance from HSBC so the chance of getting cleared from the “system” at that point is very slim. I proceeded with my next option which is to get a secured credit card.

Related Post:
How to Get a Bank Clearance for your Credit Card

I have been hearing about this option before and BPI seems to be the most popular provider. However, I never saw any information about this on their website so I was hesitant to apply. I do have a prepaid card with them which was very useful for online transactions. I used it for about 6 years.

In February this year, I submitted my application for a secured credit card to Security Bank. They call this product “Fast Track Program”.

In summary, you will need to open a savings account with a minimum deposit amount of Php15,000. Your credit limit will be 80% of the total holdout amount. So if your holdout amount is Php15,000, your credit limit will be Php12,000.
You can deposit more money to your account, but you cannot use or withdraw the holdout amount for at least one year. Should you need to withdraw the holdout amount, your credit card will be cancelled and any outstanding balance will of course be deducted. This is basically a test of how “qualified” you are to get a regular credit card. If you cannot manage your finances with a secured credit card, you probably couldn’t do so with a regular credit card. To make it even more secure, I voluntarily opt to not receive an ATM card for my savings account.

It feels like a second chance in owning a credit card. I use it for the basics – groceries, Uber/Grab, and lately, on a three-month installment plan. I follow the most important rule: if I can’t buy or pay it in cash, I won’t use the card. And above all, I make sure that I pay the total balance on time.To apply for a secured credit card from Security Bank, go to https://www.securitybank.com/.

The approval is 100% provided that you meet all their requirements. The processing time is supposedly 10 business days, but I got my card in the mail after three weeks.

Hit on NBI Clearance Due to an Unpaid Credit Card?

I stopped paying my credit card in 2010 (but had it cleared last year, CLICK HERE to find out how I did that). In 2012, I went to get an NBI clearance and despite having a very unique name, I got a “hit”. I was a bit anxious but because I needed it, I went back and claimed it anyway.

No, I was not arrested. I got my clearance in less than three minutes.

This was a hot topic in my old blog which I let go a couple of years ago so I decided to make another post about it. Some readers would look me up on Facebook and ask for an advice. I am NOT a legal expert but my suggestion then was always to “go claim it”, and I am giving the same advice today.

Unless you are one of my followers, you must have found this post via Google. So, did you also get a “hit” and afraid that it might be because of an unpaid credit card? There may be other reasons why, often because you have a namesake who’s got a record.

Related Posts:
What I Did to Save Money and Settle my Credit Card Debt
How I Settled My Credit Card Debt
How to Get a Bank Clearance for your Credit Card
Getting a Secured Credit Card from Security Bank

If you are really bothered, I recommend that you settle your credit card debt with your bank directly. I did so with HSBC, and it was not as difficult as I thought. They honored my request to settle six years after my card got defaulted.


How to Get a Bank Clearance for your Credit Card

If you decided to stop paying your credit card, and have been receiving calls regularly, chances are your record has been passed on to a credit card debt collector. From what I know, banks would turn over (or sell) your record to a third-party collector after a month.

If you happen to be reading this and your latest due date has not passed one month yet, save yourself some trouble by contacting your bank immediately and ask for a remedial or amnesty. You could be very honest about your financial status and be ready to negotiate nicely. This option is so much better than receiving endless calls and letters with threats later on.
In my case, I avoided these debt collectors for six years. I was only renting so changing an address was easy. I also got a new mobile number although I did not deactivate the old one which every now and then receives calls from unknown numbers. Of course, I never answered.

In September 2016, upon the suggestion of BPI where I applied for a home loan, I contacted HSBC. This was a last resort as BPI nor any other bank, will not consider my loan application unless I submit a clearance. I was so hesitant that it actually took my agents months to convince me to do it.



I went through my old emails and found my credit card number. I then called their hotline and upon giving them my information, I was transferred to their Recovery Department. Basically, I stated my case and expressed my willingness to settle. It was not as difficult as I thought, no lawyers, no subpoenas, no court orders! Don’t believe the credit card debt collectors. Here’s what happened during and after the call:

  • The Credit Risk Management representative whom I spoke with was very nice. During the call I learned that my total balance including interests that have accumulated in the past six years is now at Php120,000+.
  • I said I don’t have that much money and asked if we could deduct all the interest.
  • She came up with Php35,000. I couldn’t remember my exact total balance from six years ago, it must have been around Php25,000 (without interest) so I was okay with the offer. I thought it was fair and reasonable for a 6-year old debt.
  • I agreed to meet up with the representative at the lobby of HSBC in Taguig, near St. Luke’s. We went straight to the deposit machine and she had me fill-out the deposit slip myself. We deposited the money and I kept the receipt from the machine. She then asked me to sign the clearance and handed me my copy. I checked all the details and confirmed everything to be correct. I went on and took several pictures of the clearance to make sure I have soft copies.

What a relief!It was quite an experience, literally liberating. I will no longer be afraid to answer calls from unknown numbers. I can now change my Jobstreet and LinkedIn profile settings to “public”. Most of all, I can now continue with my home loan application with BPI!

If you have the same problem, and don’t want to settle with rude credit card debt collectors, call your bank. Be nice.