Top Credit Cards For Expats In The Philippines

9 min. read By eCompareMo on

Not all banks in the Philippines allow foreigners to have a Philippine issued credit card. But if you’re an expat looking to get one, know that it’s not that complicated.

To save you a lot of time and effort, we compiled a list of locally issued credit cards that foreigners can apply for.

Expatriates, or persons working in a foreign country for a long period of time, are also entitled to a smart and secure way of using their money in their current location.

The cost of living in the Philippines for expats may be bit lower than the US and many other western countries, but there are some financial hassles here that are quite new to expats. These can all be easily avoided or settled when they use a locally issued credit card.

One example of these financial hassles are the Transaction Fees placed on credit card purchases. A transaction fee is the sum of bank fees, foreign conversion, and service charges.

While there’s no problem in using a foreign card in the Philippines, they can still prove costly. Getting a Philippine credit card means an expat wouldn’t have to pay for the conversion of the subjected amount.

Another example is setting up a credit record in the Philippines. An expat doesn’t have to plan on staying long in the country.

What’s important is that in times of financial need, it would be easier for them to apply and get approved for any type of loan when they already have a local credit card, and have established a good credit record here.

To get you started, here are banks where that issue credit cards to foreign nationals.

List: Philippine banks that issue credit cards to foreign nationals

1. Bank of Commerce

Types of credit cards

These are the types of cards expats can apply for, including the required minimum income for each category:

  • Classic MasterCard – P120,000
  • Gold MasterCard – P455,000
  • Platinum MasterCard – P1,200,000

Eligibility

Qualifications for foreign applicants:

  • Principal cardholder: 21 to 65 years old
  • Supplementary: 15 years old
  • Must also have a valid residence landline or postpaid mobile phone
  • Should meet the minimum annual income requirement per card type

Document requirements

These are the mandatory documents:

  • Duly-accomplished application form
  • One valid ID for Principal and Supplementary (photocopy)
  • Certificate of Employment and Compensation (latest and original)
  • Deed of Assignment (hold-out deposit)
  • Comfort Letter (original)

You should also send any of the following:

  • Authenticated Copy of Passport
  • Authenticated Copy of Alien Certificate of Registration or Work Permit
  • Special Investor’s Resident Visa
  • PEZA-issued Visa

2. Citibank

Types of credit cards

Here are the credit cards resident foreigners can apply for. The list includes the required minimum income per year for each card type:

  • Citi PremierMiles Card – P360,000
  • Citi Cash Back Card – P250,000
  • Citi Rewards Card – P250,000
  • Citi Simplicity+ Card – P180,000
  • Mercury Drug Citi Card – P250,000
  • Shell Citi Card – P250,000

Eligibility

To be an eligible applicant, the resident/working foreigner must be:

  • 21 years old and above
  • Should have a minimum annual income of P180,000 (if applicant has an existing credit card) or P250,000 (if applicant has no credit card)
  • Must have an active landline or mobile phone number

Document requirements

These are the accepted government IDs for foreigners:

  • Valid passport (Foreign Government-issued)
  • Alien Certificate of Registration (Bureau of Immigration-issued)
  • You should also submit any of the following documents of local residency:
    • ACR-I-Card with “Permanent” Visa status (valid for more than one year)
    • Visa and Work Permit or AEP (Alien Employment Permit, valid for more than one year)
    • Special Resident Investors Visa
    • Special Resident Retirement Visa
  • Employment contract or HR letter with company letterhead and employment details (if employed in the Top 1,000 corporations)

(Read: Top Credit Cards In The Philippines 2019: Air Miles, Rewards, Cashbacks, And More)

3. EastWest Bank

Type of credit cards

These are the card types and the required minimum income that expats can apply for:

  • EastWest Bank Hyundai Mastercard – P180,000
  • EastWest Bank Visa/Mastercard Classic – P180,000
  • EastWest Bank Visa/Mastercard Gold – P480,000
  • EastWest Dolce Vita Titanium Mastercard – P300,000
  • EastWest EveryDay Titanium Mastercard – P480,000
  • EastWest Practical Mastercard – P120,000
  • EastWest Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Platinum Mastercard – P1,200,000

Eligibility

Expats are eligible if they meet the following:

  • Must be a residing or working foreigner
  • Should be between 21 and 65 years old
  • Must have an office/business landline AND residence landline or mobile phone (postpaid or prepaid)
  • Should meet the minimum annual income per category

Document requirements

Here are the papers you need to submit on your application:

  • Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR)
  • Visa and Work Permit (with income document)
  • For expats: Certificate of employment with salary statement and tenure details (if employed in the Top 1,000 corporations)
  • For diplomats and embassy personnel: visa and embassy certification

4. Equicom

Types of credit cards

Here are credit cards a foreign applicant can have (with the required minimum annual income):

  • Equicom Classic Credit Card – P180,000
  • Equicom Gold Credit Card – P498,000.00

Eligibility

To be qualified for the application, here are the basic criteria:

  • Must be a residing or working foreigner
  • Age should be between 21 and 70 years old
  • Should meet the minimum annual income per card category

Document Requirements

These are the following documents foreigners need to prepare:

  • Income Tax Return or Certificate of employment (with salary statement and tenure details) or any proof of income (must not be older than three months)
  • Philippine Visa (valid for at least one year)
  • Alien Certificate of Registration stating the type of Visa held (valid for at least one year)
  • Immigration Certificate of Residence (valid for at least one year)

(Read: An Expat’s Guide To Getting A Loan In The Philippines)

5. HSBC

Type of credit cards

The following card types are what expats can apply for with HSBC (included are the required annual income):

  • HSBC Gold Visa Cash Back Credit Card – P200,000
  • HSBC Platinum Visa – P500,000
  • HSBC Red Mastercard – P200,000

Eligibility

The qualifications for application are the following:

  • Must be a residing or working foreigner
  • Age should be between 21 and 65 years old
  • Should have an existing locally issued primary credit card owned for at least 12 months
  • Should meet the minimum income per annum for the desired card category

Document requirements

Prepare ahead and submit these papers all at once, for faster approval:

  • Visa and Working Permit with (active and valid for 1 year)
  • Immigration Certificate of Residence (copy)
  • Alien Certificate of Registration (iCard type with “Permanent” status)

6. Metrobank

Types of credit cards

Here are the Metrobank cards applicable to expats and their required income:

  • Metrobank Classic – P180,000
  • Metrobank Dollar Mastercard – P600,000
  • Metrobank Femme Signature – P800,000
  • Metrobank Femme Visa – P180,00
  • Metrobank Gold Card – P480,000
  • Metrobank M Free Mastercard – P180,000
  • Metrobank M Lite Mastercard – P200,000
  • Metrobank Peso Platinum Mastercard – P700,000
  • Metrobank Toyota Mastercard – P180,000
  • Metrobank World Mastercard – P4,000,000
  • Metrobank ON Internet Mastercard – 180,000

Eligibility

In order to be qualified, the applicants should meet the criteria:

  • Must be a resident or working foreigner for at least two years
  • Should be 18 to 70 years of age
  • Should meet the minimum income per annum for the desired category
  • Must have at least two different active contact numbers (home/residence landline)

Document requirements

For a faster application process, applicants should prepare the following:

  • Copy of Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR)/Immigrant’s Certificate of Residence (ICR) or VISA
  • Proof of income or employment certificate

7. BDO

Types of credit cards

Here’s the list of applicable BDO cards for expats, along with their income requirements:

  • BDO Bench Mastercard – P180,000
  • BDO Diners Club International – P420,000
  • BDO Diners Club Premier – P1,000,000
  • BDO Installment Card – P120,000 for employed/salaried; P400,000 for self-employed/professional
  • BDO Gold Mastercard – P420,000
  • BDO JCB Gold – P420,000
  • BDO JCB Lucky Cat – 180,000
  • BDO LausAutoGroup Mastercard – P180,000
  • BDO Platinum Mastercard – P420,000
  • BDO ShopMore Mastercard – P180,000
  • BDO Standard Mastercard – P180,000
  • BDO Titanium Mastercard – P420,000
  • BDO UnionPay Gold – P420,000
  • BDO Visa Classic – P180,000
  • BDO Visa Gold – P420,000
  • BDO Visa Platinum – P420,000

Eligibility

These are the eligibility requirements asked by BDO:

  • Should be 21 and 70 years old for principal
  • At least 13 years old for supplementary cardholders
  • Must be a foreigner residing or working in the Philippines for at least 2 years
  • Must have at least one office or home landline and a mobile phone number.
  • Must reach the minimum income requirement

Document requirements

Submit these documents along with the optional ones below:

  • Employment contract or Certificate of Employment (Original)
  • Letter from Embassy (if Embassy official)

Add any or all of these important documents:

  • Valid visa (official permission) and work permit
  • ACR (Alien Certificate of Registration) or ICR (Immigrant Certificate of Registration) or ACR-I
  • Valid passport with resident visa
  • Special Investors Resident visa and PEZA investors and employees, or Visa with EO226

8. UnionBank

Types of credit cards

Here is the list of UnionBank credit cards for expats, with minimum income requirements per year:

  • UnionBank Cebu Parklane International Hotel Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank The North Face Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank Racks Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank San Beda College Alumni Association Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank People Management Association of the Philippines Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank Centro Escolar University Alumni Foundation Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank Siliman University Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank Corporate Credit Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank Classic Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank Miles+ Platinum Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank Ateneo Alumni Association Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank Don Bosco Alumni Association Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank Insular Life Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank Suy Sing Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank Mapfre Insular Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank Burgoo Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank Riviera Golf Club Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank Alpha Phi Omega Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank Haribon Foundation Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank Home Depot Visa Card – P600,000
  • UnionBank Shop & Talk Visa Card – P600,000

Eligibility

  • Must be 18 to 60 years of age
  • Have a minimum income of P600,000 per year
  • Must have a residence/business landline and personal mobile phone
  • Must be a resident or employer in the Philippines for at least a year

Document Requirements

The following documents listed are needed for you application:

  • Passport
  • ACR for employment or DOLE ID

You should also submit any or all of the following Proof of Income:

  • Latest credit card statement
  • Most recent ITR
  • Payslips (for the past 3 months)

(Read: 10 Countries With Almost The Same Exchange Rate As The Philippine Peso)

Bonus: Tips for foreign nationals when choosing a credit card

If you are an expat, here are a few things to keep in mind before applying for one:

    1. Make a comparison of the credit card features. Through a comparison website like ours, a foreign national can compare which banks offer the best credit card deals.
    2. Choose the card that suits your lifestyle. Take advantage of the variety of credit card features. If you love shopping, get a card with the most discounts and rewards. If you often travel, a credit card with air mile rewards is most recommended. If you want to spend on daily expenses, get the card with high rebates.
    3. Be cautious with your credit card use. Take necessary precautions in any transactions related to credit cards to avoid becoming a victim of credit card scams such as theft, skimming, identity theft, email phishing, and card replacement scam.

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