Security Bank Fast Track Program or Secured Credit Card Review

It’s been a year since I got my Secured Credit Card from Security Bank. It was my first credit card since my HSBC card got defaulted in 2010. I initially applied for a regular credit card, but they offered me to get a secured credit card instead.

Related Articles:
How to Get a Bank Clearance for your Credit Card
Getting a Secured Credit Card from Security Bank

Here’s a short review of the Secured Credit Card from Security Bank after a year.

Let’s first highlight the fact that a secured credit card has exactly the same uses and benefits as a regular credit card. Everything that you can do with a regular credit card can be done with a secured credit card. What are the only differences? I could only think of two:

1. The approval is 100%.
2. Your credit limit is dependent not on your income, but on your holdout amount. What is an holdout amount? I’ve discussed this in this post: Getting a Secured Credit Card from Security Bank

So one year later, I’d say I’ve been using my card literally everyday.

I made it my default payment method for Grab and Uber (although I already stopped using Uber in December). I never missed any payment deadlines, and I tried my best to pay the total amount due in full the entire time.

I got my card in March 2017, and as early as ten months later, I already started receiving offers from agents offering me cash loans and credit cards:

I own the same postpaid number since 2014, and I never received any text messages like these until this year.

It looks like I can now apply for a regular credit card! I did not entertain these messages because I am not really interested in getting a regular credit card yet. I am planning to request Security Bank to convert my secured credit card into a regular one, and see if they’ll do that for me. If not, I’ll consider submitting an application to BPI or EastWest. I’ll update this post when that happens.

The holdout amount is still on hold; I haven’t contacted my bank to release it yet. I believe that releasing the money will result to the closure of the credit card, subject to the bank’s evaluation.

Because if you’re in good standing, the secured card will be converted to a regular credit card even if the holdout amount is released.

Overall, it’s been great having a credit card again after seven years. I’ve matured financially through those years, so I am now a responsible and wise credit card holder.

Having a secured credit card is a perfect way for people to gauge if they could own a regular credit card without falling into debt. This is the safest way to “try” owning a credit card for at least a year. So, if you are unsure if you could still manage your spending if you have a credit card, try getting a secured credit card first.

Four Banks That You Should be Following on Twitter

Don’t we all love it when corporate entities are active on social media? Not only that we can tag or mention them when we have something to say, good or bad, about their products and services (in hopes that they will notice and listen), but it is also a convenient way to get in touch with them directly for our questions or inquiries.

It’s interesting to know that even banks have Twitter accounts, and that most banks in the Philippines have one. However, not all of them actively reply to tweets where they are mentioned. These four standout from the others, and if you haven’t yet, I highly recommend that you follow them.

4. UnionBank
I’ve always thought that UnionBank doesn’t cater to millennials. First, their website is boring and registering to their online banking is very difficult. When I opened my account, I had to make a phone call to activate my online access. A few weeks later, I mysteriously couldn’t login anymore. I didn’t bother to find out, and I resorted to using their app which they updated by the end of 2017. It was a good move for their new app is impressive.

And I can’t believe that they are actually very active on Twitter. Look:


3. EastWest Bank
I don’t bank with EastWest, but while scanning their Tweets and replies, I was impressed. I would definitely be following them if I were their customer.


2. Security Bank
I am glad that Security Bank also joined Twitter and is replying to mentions. I became a Security Bank customer last year, and I love their app. I haven’t tried contacting them on Twitter yet, but based on what I am seeing, they’re equally as accommodating:


1. BPI
Hats off to BPI’s social media representatives for doing a great job! For me, they have the best Twitter account amongst our local banks who maintains one. I think it make sense for they also have the largest number of followers. Their profile has been around for awhile, and is probably the first Philippine bank to own an official account on Twitter. Can anyone confirm?

Anyway, their timeline is always updated with announcements, and they are polite and quick when responding to mentions.
In case you’re wondering, I selected these four based on the following:

How frequent they tweet – they should be tweeting at least once a day. That means someone is actually monitoring their profile everyday.

How quickly they respond – most of them follow an 8AM-5PM schedule, so if they respond to our tweets or DMs within an hour during the day, that’s enough to keep us happy.

Quality of responses – we all hate copy-pasted responses, and it’s quite a turn off to see the same apology lines. Minimal spelling errors or grammar lapses are forgivable.  Not a UnionBank, Security Bank, and BPI customer? The following banks are also on Twitter:

UCPB – almost made it to the list if only they tweet more often.
China Bank
– they also reply to tweets but not as active as the other four above. I checked their profile on a Tuesday afternoon, and their last tweet (not pinned) is from six days ago.
LANDBANK 
– they do reply to mentions as well, but similar to China bank, their tweets are weeks apart.PSBank – their timeline is also not as active and busy as the others. RCBC – they are getting there. If I were to pick five, I’d probably give the slot to RCBC. 
Metrobank
– their Twitter account is only dedicated to their credit card holders.
While we may not get all the answers from our banks’ Twitter at all times, it still help to have an easier way of contacting them. We don’t have to make a call or go to a branch to ask about the basics such as swift codes, service charges, why their app is not working, and the like.

There are limitations to what these social media representatives can do on Twitter, so I understand why they need to refer customers to their phone support for account-related queries. I experienced doing chat support for over a year, and we were off-limits to anything that involves sensitive information. There are just things that can only be done over the phone for security reasons.

Anyway, I wonder why BDO is not on Twitter?

Have you Claimed your New EMV ATM Card?

BDO is one of the first banks to issue ATM debit cards with EMV chips. I had to get mine yesterday because as of February 1, 2018, all BDO ATM cards without EMV chips can no longer be used.

What’s the difference you may ask? The EMV chip is an added security feature on our ATM debit cards. This is similar to what you see on credit cards. This move is mandated by the Banko Central ng Pilipinas to which all banks must comply by June 2018. For comparison, here’s a photo of the old and new BDO ATM cards:


Is the new ATM card free? Yes.

How do you claim your new ATM card? For BDO, you may simply go to your branch and bring your old ATM card and a valid ID. No appointments or registration necessary. The new card is already with them; the process is the same as picking up a card for a newly opened account. I got mine in less 10 minutes upon arriving at my branch.

What will happen to unclaimed ATM cards? Your bank will keep them, practically until those cards are claimed. Banks do not mail ATM cards, and doing so for these new cards will defeat the purpose of all these security measures.

What are the Advantages of a Prepaid Credit Card?

Prepaid cards are good alternatives to credit cards.

I use to work as a customer service representative, and we would sometimes advise a customer to use a prepaid credit card for payments, in lieu of a credit card. I didn’t really know what a prepaid credit card is back then as Philippine banks are not yet offering them.


A few years later, I found myself lining up in BPI to apply for a prepaid credit card. It was useful and I had it for six years. I did not renew it this year because I got another one from UnionBank, plus a secured credit card from Security Bank.

What are the advantages of a prepaid credit card?

– If you are into online shopping, but do not want to use a credit card, a prepaid credit card could be of help.

– Your credit limit is dependent on how much you want to “load” into the card so you have full control of your spending. Say you want to book a hotel at Php2500, you may only reload that amount, process your booking, and you’re done.

– No monthly bills. Since this is prepaid, you will not receive bills at the end of the month!

– No maintaining balance required. And for some banks like UnionBank, your prepaid account can also function as a savings account.

– Reloading is easy. Most banks allow you to reload via online transfer or thru an ATM.

Are there any disadvantages? Personally, the annual fee which cannot be waived is quite a turn off. Other credit card perks, such as installments, are of course not possible with a prepaid card. Also, you cannot withdraw your money (or your load) via ATM.

What are the differences of a prepaid credit card and a debit card? I could only think of one – unlike a prepaid credit card or regular credit card, you cannot use a debit card for online payments (not counting bills payment).

Making online payments are unavoidable these days, and if you do not have a credit card or if you want to play it safe, prepaid cards are the way to go. I think most banks offer them now, but I noticed that only BPI and UnionBank are actively promoting their prepaid cards.

Are you a prepaid credit card user too?

5 Realities About Owning a Credit Card

I came across an article from Security Bank which upon reading, has inspired me to respond. The title is “5 Wrong Notions About Credit Cards You Shouldn’t Believe” and you can read it in full here. I can’t help but comment on almost everything that was said, and I decided to post my thoughts here. I call it the “5 Realities About Owning a Credit Card”.

All screenshots from Security Bank.

1. You Will Overspend

This is not always true. My credit limit from my fist credit card was more than twice my monthly salary. And then lately, I have a co-worker who was given a credit limit of Php200K. It was also her first credit card, and she’s only been working for over a year. That would be very tempting for any credit card holder, first timer or not. Who would decline such credit limit? She didn’t. But the good thing is she’s very good at budgeting (she later on became my insurance advisor), and I’m glad that Security Bank mentioned budgeting:

The truth is, it is very difficult to not overspend when you have a credit card. I should know based on experience. Not only that you should be very good at budgeting and sticking to your budget, but you should be very cautious to never use the card “in case of emergency”. I would say, you must have enough money in your savings account before applying for a credit card. If your credit limit is Php100K, you should have Php100K in the bank, and not because you have a high paying job.

2. You Will Be in Debt


This is a tough one, and is synonymous to overspending. Spending wisely is often not in the vocabulary of a credit card holder. How could one spend wisely anyway when you get offers and discounts from different establishments almost every week? I will stick to my advise of saving money first. Don’t get a credit card if you don’t have at least Php50K in your bank account.

3. You Can Damage Your Credit Card Score

I am “quoting” both paragraphs under this item because they talked about those perks and promos. These are evils that will tempt you to use your credit card and accumulate debt. Budgeting is once again mentioned, and I’d say having an enormous self-discipline should always come around the topic of budgeting.

My credit score has been damaged big time (although, we do not really have have credit scores in actual numbers here in the Philippines). This was confirmed when my home loan was rejected by all banks that I applied to. Thankfully, I was able to fix this through a bank clearance for my credit card.

4. Your Monthly Bill Payments Are Reported to Credit Bureaus

In relation to number three above, I know that I have already been blacklisted by credit bureaus. I am working at rebuilding my credit score by promptly paying my monthly amortization for my bank loan, and got a second chance at owning a credit card with Security Bank’s secured credit card.

Yes, you will get reported to credit bureaus when you fail to settle your credit card debt. And what are the consequences? Apart from being harassed by debt collectors, you will never be approved of any form of bank loans anymore.

On the other hand, I agree that this should not scare you from getting a credit card, but rather push you to use your card correctly.

5. Your Credit Utilization is 0%

I don’t know what this means, honestly. What I’m sure of is you can use your card up to the maximum limit.

In general, owning a credit card is nightmare to those who are not good at managing their finances, and a joy to those who are using it right. While there are lots of credit card holders who are buried in debt, there are also many who are enjoying its benefits and that is because they have the discipline to spend within their means.

I definitely do not encourage you to get a credit card if you could barely save money every payday. Save first, and before you know it, some banks will be offering you credit cards without you needing to apply. My friend whose initial credit limit is Php200K that I mentioned above is a perfect example. Because she’s been actively saving money after landing her first job, a certain bank contacted her and sent her the card.

So if you are thinking about applying for a credit card, my advice is – save now and get a credit card later. Aim to save at least Php50K to Php100K.

Do you think you are ready to get a credit card? Start by clicking on this referral link:  https://www.securitybank.com/m?10124001601

I wish you all the best!

How Many Bank Accounts do you Need?

Do you need more than one bank account?

I started with a savings account when I was in college. It was easier to get one back then because all you need to present is your school ID card. Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to do banking at that time and had my account closed after less than a year.

Upon employment, most people would start with their payroll account and later on would feel the need to have a separate savings account. I think that is perfectly fine, but according to an article from the Daily Worth, three is the ideal number:

  1. Curveball fund. Automatically transfer at least 5% of every paycheck, to cover random expenses (a lapse of reason at a yard sale, a broken toaster).
  2. Emergency fund. Ditto, but only tap this in a true do-or-die crisis. When they say, “Save three to six months’ worth of living expenses,” this is where it goes.
  3. YouNameIt fund(s). Set up at least one other account for a looming goal or project: a cushy reading chair for the bedroom, a holiday party (or getaway from the parties), adopting a child.

How about you, how many savings account do you have?

For me, I currently have six:

⁃ my BPI payroll and savings account
⁃ a BDO savings and checking account
⁃ savings account with Security Bank
⁃ the GetGo debit card from UnionBank (which also qualifies as a savings account)

I didn’t start needing all these accounts. Two of them I had to open when I purchased a condominium, and one for my secured credit card. Some of you could probably relate if I say that 5 of these 6 bank accounts only have maintaining balances! My goal now is to turn the remaining one into an Emergency Fund. And I will have to assign a Curveball Fund and a YouNameItFund to 2 of those 5 barely surviving accounts.


The Best Mobile Banking Phone Apps You Should be Using – 2018 Update

Majority of our local banks here in the Philippines have their own mobile banking app. I am using four of them, and I am a satisfied mobile banker so far. With a prepaid mobile phone reloading as one of their features, I’d say they’ve been designed to cater to every Juan’s needs. These are the four mobile banking apps that I use:

BDO

Are you one of those who are annoyed by BDO’s one time password or OTP? I am too, but it makes me feel better knowing that it is an added security feature. Well, the BDO mobile banking app eliminates the need for an OTP so you can go to your transactions directly upon logging in.

Pros:
– web and mobile app login and password are the same
– OTP is no longer needed to login
– user friendly layout

Cons:
– difficulty logging in sometimes, and it doesn’t say if app is under maintenance or the internet connection is just too slow.
– mobile phone reloading feature doesn’t recognize some Touch Mobile (TM) numbers.
– doesn’t show your full account number. This is a big issue for me because BDO doesn’t print account numbers on their ATM cards. I don’t memorize account numbers so I would need to find a computer to login to just so I could see my account number when I need it.

*2018 Update: BDO just incorporated Touch ID as a login option, and the app now shows your account number!

BPI

Along with BDO, BPI app is the first mobile banking app that I used. And just like BDO, it is very straightforward.

Pros:
– web and mobile app login and password are the same
– user friendly layout
– displays your account number
– you don’t need to enroll a mobile number in order to reload them, the app will allow you to directly access your phone contacts! This is a very surprising feature because BPI often requires paperworks and a trip to their branch for enrollments.

Cons:
maintenance mode is becoming frequent

SECURITY BANK

I just installed this app early this year when I got my secured credit card from them. The app is easily the most visually pleasing for me.

Pros:
– can login via Touch ID!
– pin code and password are alternatives to Touch ID.
– also displays your account number
– layout and color are easy on the eyes, perhaps because blue is my favorite color.

Cons:
– None so far. I only use the app to check my balance, so I haven’t tested its features yet.

UNIONBANK

Both my web and mobile banking experiences with UnionBank haven’t been very easy. You actually need to call them to complete setting up your online/web account. A few months later, I lost my access for reasons I don’t know. I did not call them again, and I settled to using their app.

Pros:
– closing the app automatically logs you out
– the phone reloading feature actually works!

Cons:
– always under maintenance

Overall, I’d say BPI has the best app so far with BDO and Security Bank coming close. UnionBank still has a lot of improving to do. I feel that UnionBank doesn’t really cater to young customers which is why enhancing their online and mobile banking is the least of their concerns. And I understand why. With an initial deposit and maintaining balance of Php100,000, that is not very attractive to millennials (or most Pinoys for that matter).

*2018 Update: It looks like I’m not the only one complaining about UnionBank. They must have recognized the need to upgrade as they just changed their app, and it is already at par with the other three banks above. They now have Touch ID for login, and the account summary is impressive:

Which mobile banking app are you using, and how is it?