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The Philippines may be the social media capital of the world, but when it comes to managing finances, the populace is far left wanting.
Sixty percent of those who did not have bank accounts cited not having enough money as the reason for remaining unbanked.
That being the case, it would come as no surprise that the percentage of Filipino adults with credit cards was found to be exponentially lower.
According to the same survey, in 2017, only 1.9% of adults had an active credit card, while just 21% had debit cards. The percentage of adults who either made or received digital payments was only slightly higher at 25.1%.
But with ecommerce and online shopping on the rise, it would be wise to expect those numbers to increase.
What is a reloadable prepaid card?
One reason for the low rate of credit card holders in the Philippines is the relatively strict requirements to procure one. You need to have a high enough salary and good credit standing to be eligible for one.
Conversely, you would also need fiscal discipline to keep them, as we’ve all known someone who let the idea of spending without paying get the better of them – leaving them in debt, and their credit card revoked.
This is where reloadable prepaid cards become the wiser choice.
Essentially, the available amount in these cards are deposited by the card owner, or has been directly deposited into the card account by payroll direct deposit or government benefit deposit.
This means that you cannot spend what you don’t have, albeit still with the convenience of not carrying cash.
Credit Card vs. Debit Card vs. Prepaid Card
As you might imagine, there are pros and cons to all these three card payment options.
What might work for some may not be ideal for you. To give you a better idea of what you might need, keep on reading.
The credit card’s ideal for:
- Big ticket purchases. Say, you’re moving to a new place and you need a few appliances, using your own funds via debit card will put a significant dent on your savings.
But with credit cards, a lot of merchants offer deferred payment schemes, which means you can pay in installments for 3, 6, 12 months, and sometimes, even more.
Credit cards save you from paying cash up front. So if you’re the type that knows how to discipline yourself when it comes to credit card purchases, then having one would be truly beneficial.
- Online shopping. People are wary of online shopping because of security concerns.
Well, unlike providing your debit card details where a hacker might be able to wipe your bank account clean, credit cards provide an extra layer of protection for fraud. Worst case scenario, it’ll take time to debit the amount fraudulently charged to you, but that’s better than not having it at all.
As well, platforms like Lazada also offer deferred payment options for certain credit cards, so that’s always a plus.
- Building your credit score. Most people don’t think they need to do this until they do.
If, down, the line, you’re looking to apply for a housing loan or a car loan, having good credit standing via your credit card history can go a long way in getting you approved. If the banks see that you’ve been diligent in paying your credit card bills, then that’s plus points for your credit standing.
The debit card’s ideal for:
- Small, everyday purchases. Yes, credit cards work here too, but it’s easier to lose count of how much you’ve been spending when it’s a Grab charge here, a few toiletries there.
Those few hundreds can add up, and before you know it, you’ve got thousands in credit card bills you’re not aware of.
Using debit cards (or even reloadable prepaid cards, more on this later) allows you to monitor these smaller expenses as it will be directly debited from your bank account.
- If you lack fiscal discipline. As mentioned earlier, we’ve all known someone who forgot their credit card limit was something they’d have to pay back.
A good number of those people have wound up in credit card debt, and taking a hit on their credit standing.
If you feel like that might happen to you, it’s best to stick with debit cards. This way, you only spend what you have.
Reloadable prepaid cards are ideal for:
- Basically everything that a debit card’s perfect for. Because you can only swipe for what’s deposited into it, you can’t fall into debt, and you’ll be able to curb impulse spending.
The added bonus is that you can only put a certain amount in your prepaid card, allowing your savings account to remain untouched.
Visa/Mastercard Prepaid Cards Pros & Cons
- Easy to get – Generally, it’s easy for virtually anyone to purchase prepaid cards. An existing bank account is typically not required, along with background checks or supporting documents. Just present a valid ID and you should be good to go depending on the provider’s turnaround time.
- Easy to reload – There are a number of reloading stations for the top prepaid cards. Additionally, if you’re enrolled in your bank’s mobile banking, you can simply transfer funds from your bank account to your prepaid card.
- No maintaining balance – Since prepaid cards aren’t tied up to a bank account, there’s no required maintaining balance. Even if you go for extended periods without funds in your card, you won’t be incurring any fees.
- Universal acceptance – If your prepaid card has a BancNet, Visa, or Mastercard logo, it’s going to be accepted in all establishments that have a card terminal as long as it has sufficient funds in it. Additionally, some prepaid cards even allow its holders to accumulate points that they can exchange for rebates, perks and other privileges.
- Fees – For all the convenience prepaid cards afford, there are, unfortunately, a number of miscellaneous fees holders can incur. These include possible loading fees when you put money into it, withdrawal charges if you want to put the money back into your bank account (if you’re even allowed to do so), fees for balance inquiries, and fees from overseas purchases. Additionally, unlike credit cards where banks give you a new card when it expires, you’ll need to purchase a new card when a prepaid card expires.
- Loading limit – Depending on the provider, there’s a limit on how much money you can put into a prepaid card. So if you’re a heavy user, it can become cumbersome to keep reloading the card.
Best Reloadable Prepaid Cards in the Philippines
|Prepaid Card||Type||Cost||Max Transaction Limit per day|
|PayMaya Visa EMV||Visa||250||100,000|
|Amore Visa Prepaid Card (BPI)||Visa||200||500,000|
|BDO Cash Card||Mastercard||150||100,000|
|YAZZ Visa Prepaid Card||Visa||300||30,000|
|PSBank Prepaid Mastercard||Mastercard||0||500,000|
|SMART Money Card||Mastercard||100||50,000|
|EastWest Prepaid Card||Visa||100||100,000|
|Bayad Center Visa Card||Visa||110||100,000|
|PNB Prepaid Card||Mastercard||0||100,000|
|Landbank Cash Card||Visa||100||100,000|
|UCPB Visa eMoney Card||Visa||100||100,000|
|RCBC MyWallet Visa Prepaid Card||Visa||150||100,000|
|Ceb GetGo Prepaid Card||Visa||150||500,000|
|BPI ePay Mastercard||Mastercard||150||500,000|
|USSC Prime Card||Visa||150||200,000|
|Prepaid Card||Type||Cost||Max Transaction Limit per day|
1. PayMaya Visa EMV
The PayMaya prepaid card lets you shop on any platform where credit and debit cards are accepted.
All you need to do is add money to your PayMaya at branches of partners like 7-Eleven, Palawan Pawnshop, Smart Padala Centers, SM Stores Business Services, and Robinsons Department Stores Business Centers.
It also now comes with contactless payments, which means you can just tap your card on contactless POS terminals for even faster payments.
Additionally, you can download the PayMaya app, link your physical card, so you can track your transactions right on your phone.
How to get PayMaya Visa EMV Card:
- You can buy the card for P200 here. Delivery usually takes 5-7 business days within Metro Manila and 7-10 business days for provincial areas.
- Download the PayMaya app and link the card to it by going to “My Cards” in the main menu.
- Tap on “link card” and enter the 16-digit number on the physical card, expiration date and CVV.
2. GCash Mastercard
As the name suggests, the GCash Mastercard is a physical card you can use for payments at any Mastercard-affiliated establishments and platforms.
This, along with the GCash app, gives you access to a litany of convenient services that include:
- Buying/borrowing load for your prepaid mobile.
- Paying bills.
- Booking movies.
- Sending/requesting money.
- Beep card functionality.
The card is exclusive to Globe subscribers.
How to get GCash Mastercard:
- Go to the nearest Globe Store branch.
- Fill out the service form.
- Present a valid ID and pay the one-time fee of P210 for the GCash Mastercard.
3. Amore Visa Prepaid Card (BPI)
Similar to the Prepaid Mastercard, you can use the Amore Visa Prepaid Card anywhere where Visa is accepted.
Additionally, you also get access to a host of perks and privileges at Ayala Malls, which include unlimited access to their customer loungers and discounts on movie tickets.
You also earn get to earn points and exchange them for a growing list of AmoRewards. And, by adding just P50, you also get Beep functionality, making your commutes that much easier.
How to get BPI Amore Visa Prepaid Card:
You can apply through prepaid.bpicards.com or at any BPI branch.
- When applying online, fill out the application form and an email confirmation will be received upon completion.
- Pick up your card at your nominated branch once you receive an SMS informing you that your card is available.
- Present one valid photo and pay the card fee. You can find more information here.
4. BDO Cash Card
The difference with a BDO Cash Card is that without having to open a deposit account, you can enjoy the security and convenience of having a BDO ATM card.
Which means you can withdraw cash, or use it to pay bills or swipe for purchases wherever Mastercard is accepted.
How to get a BDO Cash Card:
- Simply go to the BDO branch near you and apply for the BDO Cash Card. You can find more info, here.
5. YAZZ VISA Prepaid Card
Similarly, Metrobank’s YAZZ Reloadable Prepaid VISA Card is a general purpose card that can be used wherever VISA is accepted.
And like the BDO Cash Card, the YAZZ Prepaid Card also gives you 24/7 cash access via accredited ATMs.
How to get a YAZZ Visa Prepaid Card:
The YAZZ Reloadable VISA card is available at all
- CD-R King
- Family Mart
- National Bookstore
- Robinsons Department Store
- SM Store
- SM Hypermarket
- SM Supermarket
- and SM Savemore.
6. PSBank Prepaid Mastercard
Much like the others on this list, PSBank Prepaid Mastercard offers a convenient and safe way to manage your finances.
Apart from enabling you to stay within budget, this card also serves as an ATM, debit, remittance, and internet cash card all rolled into one.
This card is free when you load it upfront with at least P500. It’s also free should you choose to renew upon expiry. As a Mastercard, you can use it in any establishment/online store where Mastercard is accepted.
How to get PSBank’s Prepaid Mastercard:
- Go to any PSBank branch and present a valid ID along with a minimum of P500 for the initial fund.
- For minor applicants (7-17 years old), you’ll need a waiver signed by the parent/guardian; valid IDs of the legal guardian, and your passport or school ID.
- To apply, call their customer service hotline at (02) 845-8888 or contact them via live chat at www.psbank.com.ph
7. SMART Money Card
Exclusive to Smart subscribers, Smart Money Card is a pre-created instant card available at Smart Stores.
It bears SMART Money as its generic name, but account details are personalized in the system. There’s also a personalized Smart Money Card that contains the cardholder’s name on it.
Essentially, it functions like a BDO Cash Card, giving you ATM and POS functionality.
How to get a SMART Money Card:
- Bring any government ID or a major credit card with photo to any Smart Store or BDO branch.
- Accomplish the Smart Money Application Form and pay a one-time processing fee of P100.
- The personalized card will be delivered to your preferred address after seven days (within Metro Manila) or 14 days in provincial areas.
8. EastWest Prepaid Card
The card comes with EMV and payWave functionality. You can also use it to pay the over 30 million VISA-affiliated establishments and 350,000 online merchants worldwide.
Apart from being able to withdraw cash at any EastWest affiliated ATM, you can also withdraw at all VISA-affiliated ATMs across the globe.
How to get EastWest Prepaid Visa Card:
- Accomplish the EastWest Prepaid Card application form.
- Present at least one valid government ID.
- Pay the application fee of P100.
9. Bayad Center Visa Card
This Visa card can be purchased at any Bayad Center nationwide for P110. Among its main draws is when you link it to a PayMaya account, you can use it to send/receive money from other Bayad Center cardholders and withdraw from BancNet ATMs.
Additionally, you can earn points when you use it to pay bills and you enjoy rewards and other perks when you use it in a large number of establishments.
How to get a Bayad Center Visa Card:
- Visit any Bayad Center branch and fill out the form.
- Present a valid ID and pay P110.
10. PNB Prepaid Card
You can withdraw using this card at any ExpressNet, Megalink or BancNet ATMs nationwide.
It can be used at any establishment/online store where debit cards are accepted.
How to get a PNB Prepaid Card:
- Go to any PNB branch and fill out the form.
- Present a valid ID and pay P100. If the initial fund is P500, the card is free.
11. Landbank Cash Card
This prepaid card is accepted wherever Visa is.
Its corporate uses include: employee benefits, loans, pensions, payroll credits, commissions, reimbursements, allowances, and bonuses. It can also be used in ATMs and has a POS limit of P50,000 a day.
How to get a Landbank Cash Card:
- Go to any Landbank branch and fill out the form.
- Present a valid ID and P100 for the card.
12. UCPB Visa eMoney Card
An ideal prepaid card for travelers, it gives holders access to cash converted to the currency of the country they’re currently in.
There is no dormancy balance inquiry and withdrawal fees. However, loading the card needs to be done over the counter with a P10 charge.
How to get a UCPB eMoney EMV Card :
- Visit any UCPB branch and fill out the form.
- Present a valid ID and P100 for the card.
13. RCBC MyWallet Visa Prepaid Card
Apart from being accepted wherever Visa cards are, it also serves as an ATM card, and allows holders to send money and pay bills.
And while balance inquiries and fund transfers are free via online banking, there is a P200 charge the following month if there is no financial activity for 12 consecutive months.
How to get an RCBC MyWallet Visa Prepaid Card:
- Visit any RCBC branch and fill out the form.
- Present a valid ID and pay P150 for the card. There is also an initial loading fee of P20.
14. Ceb GetGo Prepaid Card
This card from Cebu Pacific combines the features of a loyalty card and a prepaid card.
It’s able to hold up to nine currencies (Philippine Peso, US Dollar, Singapore Dollar, Hong Kong Dollar, Australian Dollar, Japanese Yen, Euro, British Pound, and Canadian Dollar. It’s important to note, though, that only Philippine Peso can be used to load the card.
Holders can earn 1 reward point per P100 spend, which they can use to avail of discounts when booking Cebu Pacific flights and when spending at participating establishments. Holders can also transfer funds to other Ceb GetGo card holders for a P20 fee.
How to get a Ceb GetGo Prepaid Card:
- You can get a Ceb GetGo Card at any of the following establishments: Robinson’s Department Store, Ministop, FamilyMart, NCCC Malls, and select 7-Eleven stores.
- Fill out the form, present a valid ID and pay P150.
15. BPI ePay Mastercard
This card, as its name suggests, is accepted wherever Mastercard is. There are no balance inquiry and reloading fees, however, there are fees for withdrawals.
The card is valid for four years, but there is a P99 fee per annum for the last two years of validity.
How to get a BPI ePay Mastercard:
- You can fill out the online application form or visit any BPI branch.
- Present a valid ID and pay P150 for the card.
- Wait for an SMS notification that your card is ready for pick-up.
- Go to the branch you’ve selected for pick-up and claim your card.
16. USSC Prime Card
This card is powered by China Bank and Trust Corporation (CBTC) and issued by remittance company USSC. You can use it to withdraw at CBTC ATMs for free, and at other ATMs for a fee.
When you link the card with the USSC Super Service app, it activates the USSC Panalo Wallet and allows you to send and receive money via Western Union.
How to get a USSC Prime Card:
- Visit any USSC branch and fill out the form.
- Present a valid ID and pay P150 for the card (P160 if you want it personalized).