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.

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!

How to Know if You Have an Existing SSS Loan

Whether you are wondering if you still have a loan balance or just want to find out if you can now renew your loan, calling SSS to verify or visiting one of their branches would be the best options. But if you have an online account, these information are just a few clicks away. If you do not have an online account yet, go to https://www.sss.gov.ph/ and register. Make sure that you are registering as a “Member” not as an “Employer. Also, use the latest version of Internet Explorer as some of the website functions do not work with other browsers.

Upon logging in, click on “E-SERVICES” and select “Apply for Salary Loan”. If you have an existing loan, the following message will appear:

From here, you can also check your loan balance and other details such as when the loan was submitted, your monthly amortization and the like. If you go to “Inquiry” you will find your profile details, and you can get a complete view of your total contribution along with your monthly premiums.




How to Apply for an SSS Loan Online

Applying for an SSS loan has been made easier as it can now be done online. Normally, the process involves submitting the loan application form to the HR coordinator in your company, and you will be notified when the check arrives.



Now, you don’t need to fill-out forms. You simply login to your online SSS account and submit the application from there. If you do not have an online account yet, you may create one by going to https://www.sss.gov.ph/. They recommend that you use the latest version of Internet Explorer (IE) as some items may not display on other browsers.

NOTE: The salary loan submitted online by an employed member will be directed to the employer’s My.SSS account for certification, hence, the employer should also have an SSS Web account.

To apply for an SSS loan online, you may find these instructions helpful:

1. Login to your account. Make sure that you are logging in as Member, not as an Employer.

2. Click on “E-SERVICES” and select “Apply for Salary Loan“.

3. Type-in the required information and submit. Your company HR will receive a notice about your submission and upon their validation, SSS will then complete your loan application. In my case, I received the check after three days. Fast and convenient!

Here are the eligibility requirements as posted in the SSS website:

  1. All currently employed, currently contributing self-employed or voluntary member.
    • For a one-month loan, the member-borrower must have thirty six (36) posted monthly contributions, six (6) of which should be within the last twelve (12) months prior to the month of filing of application.
    • For a two-month loan, the member-borrower must have seventy two (72) posted monthly contributions, six (6) of which should be within the last twelve (12) months prior to the month of filing of application.
  2. The member-borrower whose employer must be updated in the payment of contributions.
  3. The member-borrower has not been granted final benefit, i.e., total permanent disability, retirement and death
  4. The member-borrower must be under sixty-five (65) years of age at the time of application
  5. The member-borrower has not been disqualified due to fraud committed against the SSS.

How much is the loanable amount from SSS?

  1. A one-month salary loan is equivalent to the average of the member-borrower’s latest posted 12 Monthly Salary Credits (MSCs), or amount applied for, whichever is lower.
  2. A two-month salary loan is equivalent to twice the average of the member-borrower’s latest posted 12 MSCs, rounded to the next higher monthly salary credit, or amount applied for, whichever is lower.
  3. The net amount of the loan shall be the difference between the approved loan amount and all outstanding balance of short-term member loans.




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.

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.


PAG-IBIG Home Loans: What is the Maximum Loan Amount?

Applying for a home loan in a bank could be intimidating. For the majority of us, PAG-IBIG comes as the preferred, if not the only option. And so we ask, how much could we borrow from PAG-IBIG based on our monthly salary?

The good news is, just like most banks, PAG-IBIG has an online loan calculator too! Could you believe we are not spending hours in long lines just to get answers to these simple inquiries anymore? It sounds too convenient knowing our government standards, but let’s take advantage of that and find answers from there.



Moving on, their latest rates are effective as of July 2016, and for this test, I used the below example:

  • Desired Loan Amount: Php 2.0M
  • Preferred Repayment Period: 25 years
  • Monthly Income: Php 25,000

They have three different computations – based on desired loan value, monthly income, and property value. However, the second category kind of precedes the other two. This means that everything will actually depend on your monthly income, or combined monthly income if you have a co-borrower.

  1. I will go directly to the estimated maximum loanable value based on a Php 25,000 gross monthly income. Note that all these results are ESTIMATES and my different from the actual numbers when you get approved.

If you are earning Php 25,000 a month, the maximum loanable amount is Php 1.22M with a monthly amortization of Php 7,500 for 25 years. Not bad.

2. Now, since we need Php 2.0M, what should our total monthly income be? Based on the below estimates, the monthly income requirement is Php 41,000. For this example, you will need a co-borrower with a monthly income of at least Php 16,000 in order to qualify.

3. Lastly, let’s check the third option. Based on the results, it is suggesting a maximum loanable amount of Php 1.5M if the value of the property is Php 2.0M. Which means you will pay the remaining Php 500,000 in cash. And if your salary is around Php 31,000, you will definitely qualify.

Overall, this may be confusing but it is ideal to always start looking at your gross monthly income. From there, you will know which property to consider.

This loan calculator can be found at http://www.pagibigfund.gov.ph/amort/. 

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.

 

Buying a Condo Unit: What You Need to Know

Unless you are filthy rich, buying a property in the Philippines, like a house and lot or a condominium unit is quite a big decision to make. You are putting your hard-earned money in to something which you hope and expect to be all worth it. You will then make countless inquiries, talk to agents, and look for information everywhere that may be of use to you.

I am 99% sure that that brought you in this page. You may have already read them all – tips about what to consider, what you should be looking for, the location, the developer, the building or development type. I am here to talk about the actual buying experience – from the day you made the deposit, to that big moment of being handed over with the keys to your unit.

I am not an expert in real estate. In fact, the only thing I could share are my experiences as a buyer. And as of this writing, I am still going through the process of getting past the “move-in” phase. For some, it probably went pretty well. I have several friends who didn’t have any big issues to deal with.

And so, if you are a condo buyer-to-be, I hope that what I am sharing would help. Note that this is based from my personal experiences alone, and is certainly not the same for everybody. Let’s start with:

1. Pag-IBIG or Bank Financing?Again, unless you are buying the condominium unit in cold cash, you will be relying on the help of banks or Pag-IBIG to finance your home. Some developers are tied-up with Pag-IBIG, which means they will do all the paper works for you. The big ones, like SMDC and Robinsons, are not. I tried to transact with Pag-IBIG and I got overwhelmed with their list of requirements. Nonetheless, it would be helpful to inquire from them in advance to see how much you could borrow; this will all depend on how much your monthly income is.

Related Article:
Pag-IBIG Housing Loan: How Much Can You Borrow?
Buying a Condominium in the Philippines: In-House or Bank Financing?

Banks have lesser requirements, but your monthly income is of course still the biggest factor. Google “home loan calculator + name of your preferred bank”, and you will get links to the bank’s home loan calculator. Almost all banks have this in their websites. From there, you could get an idea of how much you could borrow and how big your monthly amortization be. Those are just estimates but not very far from the actual figures.



2. Credit HistoryBanks definitely check your banking and credit history. Pag-IBIG also do the same, but probably not as rigid as banks. Do you have unpaid or deferred credit cards? I did. It has caused me huge trouble but thankfully, I was able to fix it. CLICK HERE to find out how I cleared my credit card balance with HSBC.

Unfortunately, no bank will approve your home loan application if you have an unsettled credit card balance or other unpaid loans (with any bank). The good news is, they will honor a Certificate of Full Payment or “bank clearance”, you will find more details about this in the above link.

3. Co-borrower/s

When BPI approved my home loan application, they offered me Php1.7M. This is the maximum amount they could lend me based on my monthly salary. It was Php900,000 short as I needed to borrow Php2.6M. For some reason, they did not consider my sister as a co-borrower so her salary was not factored-in in the computation.

I submitted my application to UnionBank and they accepted my sister’s documents so she became my co-borrower. Since my sister is married, her husband’s signature was also needed in all the forms. Thankfully, he was cooperative enough, that is upon reassuring him that we will not hold him responsible of anything (although legally, he actually is).

Related Article:
What is a Consularized Special Power of Attorney?

So, unless your salary is big enough to cover everything, you may need a co-borrower to get approved of the total amount that you need. If you are not married, your parents and your siblings are the best and recommended options.

4. Processing Time and Move-in ScheduleSo your bank already approved your application, congratulations! The processing time from the day you signed the bank forms will take a month, or more, depending on how quick your developer responds and transmits your papers to your bank. Your first monthly amortization also normally starts a month from the day you signed the documents. Therefore, if your unit is advertised as ready for move-in, you should already be talking with the developer about your move-in date before you start paying the bank.

Related Article:
Buying a Condo Unit: What You Need to Know
Condo Living: Expectation vs Reality

In my case, my first monthly amortization is on December 29th. SMDC contacted me in January the following year targeting end of February as the turnover date. Come February, they contacted me again saying they are moving it to March. Imagine how furious I was when I received another letter in March stating that the turnover date was changed to April! I started calling them everyday trying not to be irate. I was at my wits when their contact center agent revealed that it has been rescheduled to May.

After several emails and phone calls, they eventually agreed to let me move-in in April 26. Yes, I had to make threats.

5. Move-in Fees and RequirementsYou will be paying a move-in fee which is often the three-month equivalent of your monthly dues. This is not an advance payment so you will still continue paying the monthly dues on your first month. Depending on the developer, you may also need to install the basics – grease trap, range hood, fire extinguisher and white curtains before you are cleared to occupy the unit. I talked about all the fees that you will encounter when buying a condo in this post:

All the Costs You Need to Know Before Buying a Condo

Are you also looking for a condo? Which developer? I hope you find these information helpful.