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. 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!
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.
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.
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:
- To check if getting a clearance from HSBC could clear my bad credit card history.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.