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Comprehensive Guide to General Banking, Products, and Services in the Philippines

A detailed guidebook on the Philippine banking system, how it works, and the different products and services offered by major banks.

Chapter 5

Types Of Bank Cards

Bank cards provide account holders easy access to their funds, may it be from their savings or credit provided to them by banks. There are various types of bank cards commercially available for consumers to take advantage if they meet certain criteria required for each card.

Credit cards

Credit cards are small plastic cards issued by financial institutions., allowing the holder to purchase goods or services on credit. It’s basically a card that provides eligible clients to borrow funds from banks for their purchases.

It’s no secret that credit cards come with various fees for the convenience you enjoy. From not paying your bills upfront to the service charges you incur for using a certain credit card feature, there is a fee involved. 

The fees that you can expect from credit cards are as follows: 

Type of feeAverage rate
Annual fee₱1,500 to ₱6,000
Late fees3.5% to 5% of the overdue amount or ₱300 to ₱500, whichever is higher.
Balance transfer0.79% to 8.5% monthly
Interest rates1.6% to 3.5% monthly

This card requires extensive credit checks making it the least accessible bank card to avail, but the most rewarding – literally. Many credit cards offer reward points for a certain amount you spend, which you can accumulate and use to cut down your spending cost.

Benefits of using a credit card

As long as you pay on time and the full amount on every billing period, you’ll be able to fully enjoy these benefits from owning a credit card:

  •     If you need to buy something expensive and can’t afford to pay for it all in one go, then a credit card is ideal, as long as you use it sensibly.
  •     Some credit cards offer 0% interest-free periods meaning you can effectively benefit from an interest-free loan.
  •     Some cards even offer incentives to spend, such as cashback, loyalty points, or air miles, which means you could actually make money from your credit card.

The benefits of owning a credit card will be further magnified if you’re using one that provides an incentive program appropriate for most of your spending. These incentive programs are as follows:


A cashback credit card provides an incentive program operated by the credit card company where a percentage of the amount spent is paid back to the cardholder.


A credit card incentive program that rewards cardholders with different products for earning points by using the credit card. The amount of points a cardholder earns per spend is predetermined by the bank. The more points accumulated, the better rewards that cardholders can get in exchange for the points. Rewards can range from simple freebies like bags to free airfare.


There are credit cards that feature travel rewards in a form of miles or points. Unlike rewards, when points are accumulated for spending using the credit card, it can be used to purchase airfare through the bank’s partner airlines.

These incentive programs aren’t all available in all credit cards. Most of the time, a credit card only features a single incentive program. However, when applying for a credit card, consumers can compare the benefits and choose their credit cards according to the incentive program that they want.

RCBC Bankard Classic JCB Card

RCBC Bankard Classic JCB Card

Get ₱2,000 worth of rebates when you use your newly acquired HSBC credit card in shopping online.

Get ₱2,000 worth of rebates when you shop online.

Secured credit card

A secured card requires a cash collateral deposit. The cash deposited becomes the credit line for the account and it’s locked in for a certain period of time depending on the bank.

Secured credit cards are no different from a regular credit card; it provides a certain amount of credit which the cardholder can spend or withdraw. Acquiring one, though, is quite different and can be easier as long as you have the required funds.

Debit cards

This is a payment card that deducts money directly from a consumer’s savings or current account to pay for a purchase. Debit cards eliminate the need to carry cash or physical checks to make purchases. It can also be used to withdraw cash from ATMs.

This is the easiest bank card to apply for. The documentary requirements are minimal, and most employers provide debit cards to their employees for their payroll. Personal debit cards associated with a savings account usually require a certain amount of balance; the amount varies from bank to bank, and the type of savings account.

Prepaid card

A prepaid card is not linked to a checking or savings account. Instead, money is loaded onto the prepaid card in advance. Funding (loading) a prepaid card is more accessible than any other card because it can be done without having to transact with a bank. Prepaid cards are still powered by banks and financial institutions, but you can simply top-up credits in convenience stores, remittance centers, and many other unconventional means.

The good thing about prepaid cards is that it’s very convenient and you can’t spend money that you don’t have on the card. The downside to this is that it often comes with higher transaction and withdrawal fees than a debit card. Depending on the prepaid debit card, the withdrawal fee would range around ₱5 to ₱25 per withdrawal.  On the other hand, reloading funds will also cost the cardholder around  ₱10 to ₱50.

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