I worked for 2 banks in the past and a credit card account in a BPO. I handled complaints, reversals, finance charges, interest charge calculations, irate customers, and everything in between involved in credit cards and the like. This should tell you that I have a pretty good idea of what happens with credit cards here in the Philippines and how there are still so many hoomans who do not understand how credit cars actually work which is why I have taken it upon myself to give you some credit card hacks.
1. No, you do not go to jail for not paying your credit card bills.
This does not mean you shouldn’t pay because collectors are a nightmare. Short of changing all your contact details, name, and address plus the fact that it is so much easier now to track down people, just get on an arrangement with your bank or your bank’s collector if you ever find that you can no longer pay in full. Trust me, these collectors would be more than willing to settle because a little money is still better than no money.
Also, if you sign an IOU or any promisory note, then YOU CAN GO TO JAIL.
2. If the store makes you pay EXTRA because you used your card instead of cash, it’s called a SURCHARGE. Ask them to put it on the receipt as a separate amount and have it tagged as surchange. After paying, you can call your bank and report this. They can reverse the surchage fee. Your card should be as good as cash.
3. It’s better to pay off the entire amount or go for the zero installment plan. The finance charge may sound small at less than 5% but if you purchase a lot, that 5% is based on your average daily balance, not the end amount.
4. Always pay on time. This may seem like a “common sense” kind of thing but late fees are added to your bill everytime you are late and that late fee gets added to your average daily balance which is the basis of your finance charge. Yes, everything gets multiplied over and over again when you are late and you haven’t paid in full.
5. Lastly, have this thinking. If you can’t afford to pay off in full at the end of the month, do not charge it to your account. If you don’t believe me, then just compute all the interests you paid off in a year and be shocked to see that it could have already put on a full outfit for you and when I say full I mean lingerie, top, bottom, shoes, and bags.
Be smart. Be wise. Be in control. You own the card, the card should never own you. It is there for your convenience and not to inconvenience you.