Top Tips for Freelancers in the Philippines Who Want a Credit Card

Venus Zoleta
·11 min read
credit card for freelancers in the Philippines
credit card for freelancers in the Philippines

“Can a freelancer get a credit card?”

For anyone who has started a work-from-home career, concerns like getting a credit card for freelancers in the Philippines always come to mind.

Credit cards are useful for self-employed Filipinos just as they are for employees. Having one allows freelancers to verify their PayPal accounts for receiving payments online. It can also be used to buy software programs, web hosting services, and other important work tools. Of course, it comes in handy when shopping online, paying bills, or booking flights.

While a Visa/Mastercard debit card or prepaid card can get those things done, it’s better to use a credit card for certain transactions. For example, you can pay for big purchases like laptops or appliances in monthly installments with no interest. You can earn rewards points with your credit card transactions. More importantly, you can also use your credit card during financial emergencies when you have no access to cash.

Read more:

Unfortunately, it’s challenging to get a credit card for freelancers in the Philippines.

To qualify for one, you have to own a registered business with a profitable operation for at least one to two years. To prove that, you’re required to submit an income tax return (ITR), business registration papers, and financial statements.

Beginning freelancers typically don’t have these documents on hand. But don’t lose hope—you can still get a credit card even if you don’t have stable employment. Here are different ways for Filipino freelancers to get approved for a credit card and some examples of the best credit cards freelancers can apply for.

How to Get a Credit Card for Freelancers in the Philippines

A credit card is a helpful financial tool for freelancers. It offers financial flexibility and many other exciting benefits and rewards. But if you’re a freelancer with no stable income, getting approved for one can be more challenging. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to get one.

1. Apply for a Secured Credit Card

How to Get Credit Card for Freelancers - Apply for a Secured Credit Card
How to Get Credit Card for Freelancers - Apply for a Secured Credit Card

As a freelancer, you have a higher chance of getting approved for a secured credit card than a regular one. Since this type of credit card is backed by a savings account, you can easily get approved without the usual income requirements and background checks.

How Secured Credit Cards Work

Although they have the same features as regular cards, secured credit cards have a different set of requirements.

To get a secured card, you need to open a savings, checking, or time deposit account with a bank and deposit a certain amount, which the bank will place on hold as your deposit guarantee (also called hold-out deposit). This means you’re not allowed to withdraw your money until you cancel your card and have fully settled your credit card account balance.

Also, in case you fail to pay off your credit card debt, the bank can recover the money by taking your hold-out deposit.

Your deposit will also be the basis for your credit card limit, which is typically 80% to 90% of the hold-out amount. For example, if your hold-out deposit is PHP 10,000, your credit limit will be PHP 8,000 to PHP 9,000, depending on the bank.

Banks allow secured credit cardholders to increase their credit limit by depositing an additional amount into their account and requesting the amount to be placed on hold.

Because the hold-out deposit serves as collateral, secured credit cards are generally 100% approved (except for cases like an applicant having a delinquent bank account). No need to submit any income document like ITR and bank statements. You just need to fill out some forms and present your valid IDs.

After six months to a year of using the secured card, paying your bill in full and on time, and establishing a good credit score, you can request the bank to convert it into a regular card.

Secured Credit Cards Options in the Philippines

Currently, five banks offer secured credit cards: AUB, BPI, Metrobank, RCBC, and Security Bank. If you already have an account with any of these banks, check out these options for a secured credit card for freelancers:

💳 AUB Secured Credit Card

AUB secured credit card for freelancers in the Philippines
AUB secured credit card for freelancers in the Philippines
  • Available cards: All AUB credit cards

  • Annual fee: No annual fee for life

  • Interest rate: 2%

  • Minimum deposit:

    • Easy Mastercard: PHP 25,000

    • Classic Mastercard: PHP 50,000

    • Gold Mastercard: PHP 125,000

    • Platinum Mastercard: PHP 250,000

  • Credit limit: 80% of the hold-out deposit

  • Requirements:

    • At least 21 years old

    • Completed application form

    • Signed and notarized deed of assignment

  • Processing time: Seven to 10 banking days

💳BPI Express Start

secured credit card from BPI
secured credit card from BPI
  • Available cards: All BPI credit cards

  • Annual fee: PHP 1,320 to PHP 5,500

  • Interest rate: 2%

  • Minimum deposit: PHP 10,000 (ATM/Passbook savings account) / PHP 50,000 (time deposit)

  • Credit limit: 90% of hold-out deposit

  • Requirements:

    • At least 18 years old

    • Home landline number

    • Completed Express Start application form

    • Accomplished deed of assignment

  • Processing time: Two to three weeks

💳Metrobank Save & Swipe

Metrobank secured credit card
Metrobank secured credit card
  • Available cards: All Metrobank credit cards

  • Annual fee: No annual fee for life (M Free Mastercard) / PHP 1,500 to PHP 6,000 (all other Metrobank credit cards)

  • Interest rate: 2%

  • Minimum deposit: PHP 17,000

  • Credit limit: 90% of hold-out deposit

  • Requirements:

    • Valid ID

    • Completed application form

    • Signed and notarized deed of assignment

  • Processing time: Two to four weeks

Read More: 12 Metrobank Credit Card Promos You Shouldn’t Miss

💳RCBC Bankard InstaCard

RCBC Bankard Secured Credit Card Program
RCBC Bankard Secured Credit Card Program
  • Available cards: All RCBC credit cards

  • Annual fee: PHP 60 monthly (regular cards) / PHP 150 monthly (premium cards)

  • Interest rate: 2%)

  • Minimum deposit: PHP 10,000 / USD 2,000

  • Credit limit: 95% of hold-out deposit

  • Requirements:

    • At least 21 years old

    • Two valid IDs

    • Completed InstaCard application form and savings account opening forms

    • Accomplished deed of assignment

💳Security Bank Fast Track Secured Credit Card

Security Bank Secured Credit Card Program
Security Bank Secured Credit Card Program
  • Available cards: Security Bank Mastercard credit cards only

  • Annual fee: PHP 2,000 to PHP 4,000

  • Interest rate: 2%

  • Minimum deposit: PHP 15,000 (savings account) / PHP 100,000 (time deposit)

  • Credit limit: 80% of hold-out deposit

  • Requirements:

    • 21 to 65 years old

    • Home landline number

    • Completed application form

    • Completed holdout agreement form

    • Valid ID

  • Processing time: Three banking days

How to Get a Secured Credit Card for Freelancers

Getting a secured credit card is as easy as opening a savings account, with just an additional credit card application form to fill out.

Follow these steps to guide you:

  1. Choose the right secured credit card for you.

  2. Visit the nearest branch of the bank where you have an existing account or want to open a new one.

  3. Fill out a credit card application form and a deed of assignment.

  4. Submit the other secured credit card requirements.

  5. Pay your deposit amount.

  6. Wait for the approval and delivery of your new credit card.

2. Have a Well-Maintained Bank Account

How to Get Credit Card for Freelancers - Savings Account with Credit Card Bundle
How to Get Credit Card for Freelancers - Savings Account with Credit Card Bundle

There are more benefits to having a savings or checking account in good standing. Aside from convenience and security, a bank account in good standing can prequalify you for a credit card.

Make sure your bank account has regular activity. Increase your deposits and maintain a high Average Daily Balance (ADB)[1] for at least a year. You’re more likely to get prequalified if your bank knows you’re financially capable of owning a credit card.

Should you meet the requirements, your bank will notify you through its official means of communication, like email, direct mail, SMS, or phone call. You may also be notified the next time you make a branch visit or over-the-counter transaction.

3. Request an Endorsement from Your Branch of Account

How to Get Credit Card for Freelancers - Endorsement from Branch of Account
How to Get Credit Card for Freelancers - Endorsement from Branch of Account

If you still haven’t received any notification that you’ve been prequalified for a credit card, you may also request an endorsement.

Banks like BPI, PNB, and Security Bank provide recommendations for a credit card to clients who have maintained a good account history with them for at least a year. If you have regular cash inflow into your bank account (like receiving your earnings from clients every month), then you might qualify for a credit card with your bank without having to submit proof of income.

Just call or visit the branch where you have an existing savings account and ask for an endorsement on your credit card application. You’ll be asked to fill out some forms and wait for a call from the bank’s credit card agent to verify your identity.

4. Register with the BIR and DTI

How to Get Credit Card for Freelancers - Register with the BIR and DTI
How to Get Credit Card for Freelancers - Register with the BIR and DTI

When you’ve put your finances in order after years of freelancing, consider securing registration documents from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Start with getting a Certificate of Registration (CoR) from the BIR. Once you have a CoR, you can already file an ITR and pay your taxes.

Also, apply for a Certificate of Business Name Registration at the DTI.

Tedious and time-consuming as these government transactions are, they’ll be worth it for managing your finances as a freelancer. Your ITR and business registration document will increase your chance of getting approved not only for a credit card but also for a personal loan for freelancers.

Your income documents will also be useful when you apply for a visa, as these will prove your intent to return to the Philippines after your international travel.

Read more: How to File an Income Tax Return in the Philippines: Guide for Freelancers and Entrepreneurs

5. Consider Being a Supplementary Credit Cardholder

If you have family members or trusted friends who are credit cardholders, you can ask to be their supplementary cardholder. As a supplementary cardholder, you can enjoy the same card benefits as the primary cardholder without the need to submit your own income documents.

Fill out the supplementary credit card application signed by the primary cardholder and include a photocopy of your valid government-issued ID. The primary cardholder has the option to submit the application at the branch of account via online submission, email, or fax. Updates on the supplementary card application will also be relayed to the primary cardholder.

Credit Card for Freelancers in the Philippines: 5 Best Options for Your First Card

Here are some of the best credit cards freelancers can apply for in the Philippines. These are also good options for low-income earners and first-time credit cardholders because of their easy approval and low income requirements.

Citi Simplicity+

📌 Key Features and Benefits:

  • Minimum monthly income requirement: PHP 15,000 (for existing cardholders) / PHP 20,833.33 (for first-time cardholders)

  • Get 10% back on interest charges when you pay at least the minimum balance on or before the due date

💸 Fees and Charges:

  • Annual fee: No annual fee for life

  • Interest rate: 2%

  • Late payment fee: None

Read more: Keeping it Simple with a Citi Simplicity Card

RCBC Bankard Flex Visa

📌 Key Features and Benefits:

  • Minimum monthly income requirement: PHP 15,000

  • Rewards:

    • 1 point per PHP 50 spend at non-service merchants, PHP 125 spend at service merchants, and PHP 250 spend on utilities

    • 2x points per PHP 50 spend on any two of the following categories: dining, transportation, clothing, or travel

  • Travel perks:

    • Free travel insurance and purchase protection

    • Free access to the Skyview Airport Lounge

💸 Fees and Charges:

  • Annual fee: PHP 1,500

  • Interest rate: 2%

  • Late payment fee: PHP 850 or the minimum amount due, whichever is lower

Read more: Compare credit card rates and offers

Security Bank Classic Mastercard

📌 Key Features and Benefits:

  • Minimum monthly income requirement: PHP 15,000 (for existing cardholders) / PHP 30,000 (for first-time cardholders)

  • Rewards: 1 point per PHP 20 spend

💸 Fees and Charges:

  • Annual fee: PHP 2,000 (free for the first year)

  • Interest rate: 2%

  • Late payment fee: PHP 600 or 6% of the minimum amount due, whichever is lower

BPI Edge Mastercard

📌 Key Features and Benefits:

  • Minimum monthly income requirement: PHP 15,000

  • Rewards: 1 point per PHP 50 spend

💸 Fees and Charges:

  • Annual fee: PHP 110/month (free for the first year)

  • Interest rate: 1.82%

  • Late payment fee: PHP 850 or the unpaid minimum amount due, whichever is lower

AUB Classic Mastercard

📌 Key Features and Benefits:

  • Minimum monthly income requirement: PHP 21,000

  • Rewards: 1 point per PHP 50 spend

💸 Fees and Charges:

  • Annual fee: No annual fee for life

  • Interest rate: 2%

  • Late payment fee: PHP 750 (for monthly payment option) or the unpaid minimum amount due, whichever is lower

Read more: AUB Mastercard – Go Easy or Go Classic?

Final Thoughts

Although it’s difficult to get a credit card for freelancers in the Philippines, it isn’t entirely impossible. Try the options discussed above. If you still can’t get approved for a card, consider alternatives such as prepaid cards and debit cards that you can use for online transactions. A secured card is another good option if you wish to own a real credit card and receive all the perks and privileges.

For receiving payments from clients, you may also use a mobile wallet app (like Coins.ph, GCash, or PayMaya) that allows you to perform a wide range of financial transactions, like sending money and paying bills.

Related reading:

compare now and apply for a credit card thru Moneymax
compare now and apply for a credit card thru Moneymax

Source: [1] Average Daily Balance (Investopedia)

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