There are tons of people who warns us about the dangers of using credit cards. It can be a powerful tool but it can also be your downfall. HAHA. However, I really want to get one for myself as it’s very helpful especially when you don’t have enough money at the moment and there are seat sale everywhere!
Since I am an online freelancer, it can be difficult to apply for credit cards. Good thing is, I read about secured credit cards online. There are numerous banks who offer this but I chose the BPI Express Start Credit Card as I have several accounts with them.
Secured credit cards are different from normal ones. To apply, you must have a certain holdout amount. It’s like you deposit an amount and the bank will hold the money. You may still see it on your account. It’s just that you can’t withdraw it. The bank will then base your credit limit from it. With BPI Express Start Secured credit card, your credit limit will be 80-90% of your holdout amount and as per what I’ve read online, your application is still subject to approval.
BPI Express Start Credit Card Journey
September 18, 2017 – Went to SM Megamall to apply for the Express Start Secured Credit card. Take note, this branch is always full of people. I don’t know what got into me and I chose this branch to be my Branch of Account. So, I was given an application form and 3 blue forms to fill out. The application form is the same form for the unsecured credit cards. You just need to choose the Express Start option. After I filled out everything, the teller said everything is all set and it takes at least 2 weeks for the process and I may even receive a text as early as this week. They didn’t give me a copy of the blue forms which made me wonder but decided to ignore it. So waiting game starts now. I checked my Express Online account and saw that my holdout amount was already held. You will still see your money in your account though but you can’t withdraw it.
September 25, 2017 – Nothing happened the past week so I called the hotline just to check if there are any updates. They said, they still haven’t received my application yet. Since it’s just been a week, I let it go.
September 27, 2017 – I also tried to contact their email support. Same information – there’s no application under my name yet. This worried me since my holdout amount was already held the same day that I applied last week. I read that the TalktoBPI on Twitter was very responsive so I decided to contact them as well. They said I have to contact SM Megamall directly since they don’t access accounts for security purposes. I tried calling the branch but became very frustrated because they are not answering! I’ve called all the numbers that their twitter and hotline support provided but they are just not answering. Some calls are even rejected! I sent another message to TalktoBPI and their email support for assistance. Twitter support said that they will relay this to the branch and they will contact me for an update.
September 29, 2017 – I asked for an update regarding my BPI Express Start Credit Card application from TalktoBPI again and they said the branch tried to call me but I was not answering. This made me frustrated because I NEVER received any response from them. I tried to understand that the branch is a very busy branch so maybe that’s why they can’t answer calls immediately so I tried calling again at 5 pm which I think is not a very busy time for them. Thankfully, they answered! They said they already submitted my application since last week and I should make a follow-up and call the hotline. This gave me hope. At least they confirmed that they already submitted my application.
October 2, 2017 – This is now the third week since my application and I am now frustrated. I received an email response from their email support(please be advised that they usually respond 2-3 business days) this morning and they advised me that they DID receive my application but they asked me to visit the branch as there are impediments in processing it. So, I went back to the branch the very same day and I was told that I may have signed the old blue forms. So I filled out another 3 blue forms and decided to add an amount to my holdout. Again, they didn’t give me a copy. I also requested to update my contact details so they won’t say that I can’t be contacted again. Haha. The teller who assisted me didn’t promise a date but he said that he’ll text me for an update. I was still doubtful but I agreed. I asked him to expedite my application and he promised that he will. Well, we’ll see. It’s just frustrating that I have to wait AGAIN. *sighs*
October 4, 2017 – FINALLY! I finally received a text this morning that my application has been approved. I was actually expecting it that day but now, I got excited again. I immediately sent a direct message to TalktoBPI and they instructed me to send an email for the delivery instructions. Thankfully, their email support responded immediately and said they already requested for the delivery to be sent to SM Megamall so that I can just pick up my card there. The waiting game resumes…
October 5, 2017 – I received another text from BPI this morning with the tracking details from Air21. Yes, I’ve read that Air21 or LBC is the courier that deliver the cards. However, when I tracked it on Air21’s website, it says that they cannot deliver because the “Business is closed” and they will have to deliver the next day. I wonder why SM Megamall was closed on a Thursday. So I was like, “Oh, well. I’ll just call to make a follow-up tomorrow”. I was a bit disappointed though.
October 6, 2017 – I called the BPI hotline again to verify to which address the Air21 attempted to deliver my card. I was disappointed when the phone banker said that they tried to deliver it to my home address because I immediately sent instructions to BPI to have it delivered to my Branch of Account when I received the tracking information. Apparently, Air21 didn’t immediately receive the request and it’s still in “pending” status on BPI’s system. When I reread the email response from the email support the other day, they did say I have to wait for 6-7 business days. AGAIN. Oh, well… I also tried to contact Air21 where I had to wait 20 minutes to speak with someone and was told that the parcel is not for dispatch for today contrary of what the update on the tracking information that said they will deliver on the next business day. I didn’t know that the next business day meant next week even if it was still Friday. *eye roll* So yeah, I have to wait for 6-7 business days again.
October 13, 2017 – Today’s the 7th business day since I requested for my card to be delivered to my Branch of Account. I also saw in the initial tracking number that the card was already returned to sender (BPI) on the 12th. I called BPI to confirm this but unfortunately, they said the card is still on its way to the courier and won’t be delivered today. *long sigh*
October 16, 2017 – Finally! I got a text from my branch of account that my card is already ready for pick-up. I felt relieved though my excitement already died down because of waiting for too long.
October 17, 2017 – Just a day before my application turns a month old, I FINALLY got my BPI Express Start Credit Card! It’s already pre-activated so I immediately used it for purchases. Hooray for my first credit card! HAHA.
Experience so far
Since my card was pre-activated, I immediately used it for purchases and bill payments on the same day. It was intimidating at first because I didn’t know how it works but eventually, I got used to it. Yes, it can be dangerous because your debts can pile up immediately if you are not careful but if you use it wisely, it can be a very helpful tool. I just bought my brother a plane ticket with it when there was a sale. So hooray! Also, I liked how the card looks. It also comes with an EMV chip for security.
As to until when I’ll use it? I’ll let you know about my experience soon.
For more information on the BPI Express Start Credit Card, visit their website.
Update (October 10th, 2018): My BPI Express Start Credit Card is turning a year now and I was able to apply and got approved with RCBC Bankard and Citibank with it as my reference. Since I already have two regular credit cards, I’m planning to request for a release of the holdout money and retention of the card. Hope everything goes well. I will get back soon for an update.
You may apply for a Citibank credit card here.