travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz

Tips on How to Manage Your Credit Cards (and How to Get Pre-Approved Credit Cards)

June 30, 2013

I was doing (yet again) another major room clean-up, when I saw these envelopes and pre-approved credit cards.

The ironies of life – there are people I know who are earning more than I am but are always turned down by credit card companies while the regular worker like me get these pre-approved credit cards that I choose not to activate or use.

How did I do it? I know alot of people want to know how to get approved with credit card application. It takes more than a healthy monthly salary to get approved.

Let me start with my credit card history. When I was younger, I was given a supplementary credit card which I handled carelessly. After that dark years of my life, I promised not to get a credit card. I misjudged myself.

During my first few months in my current company, I received a pre-approved credit card from the same bank which holds our payroll. I thought that everyone in the office got the same offer, but I was one of the few. From that day I got my credit card, until now that I am on my 6th year relationship with this credit card company, I never paid a single amount for my membership fee. How did I do it? I will tell you more in a bit.

From then, I continuously receive pre-approved credit cards.

My Major Credit Card Mistake

My relationship with these credit card companies are not all blissful. I had my months of careless misses to pay my dues – especially when I had 3 credit cards with different cut off dates. But I was able to reverse the charges probably because I got a good credit standing.

Click Read More to know the whole story, and read my credit card tips..

Two years ago, when my Citibank Visa started charging me for annual membership fees, I decided to not settle the amount and to have it closed. My mistake was that I wasn’t able to call the center ahead of time so they kept on chasing me for the membership fee. My biggest mistake was I had used the card after a month, which prompted the bank to chase me even more even if I had already paid for the amount that I used. Their claim is that I have used the bank services and they had approved my request, even my membership was not renewed. I got their point, I couldn’t play dumb.

As I was always out during those months, I wasn’t able to really call the bank and settle the bill. The original amount of Php2,083.33 annual membership blew up to Php9,588.88 because of late and interest charges.

But the good news is, I was able to file for a reversal. How did I do it? I will tell you now.. I talked to the manager and explained the situation. She just reviewed my credit history and immediately decided to reverse all the charges, and calculated for the amount that I need to pay for using the credit card (for that single month).

I have to be honest, I thought I would have to pay for the whole amount. I thanked God for helping me resolve that major credit card booboo.

The Biggest Credit Card Nightmare – What Happens if You Don’t Pay Your Credit Card Bills?

What is the lesson here? If you have unsettled amount, they will not stop chasing you. The worse that could happen is when the credit card company has sold your file to a Collection Agency. The Collection Agency will then chase you and convince you to pay (that’s how they earn profit). So the next time your credit card company calls you to settle your bills, do not drop the line.

Tips on How to Get Approved for a Credit Card and How to Manage Your Credit Card 

  1. Show proof that you can pay your bills. Salary is not just the support document that credit card companies need. Show proof of your billing statements – could be from utilities, phone bills, etc. 
  2. Open a savings account from the same bank from which you are applying a credit card. I got a pre-approved credit card just because I have a savings account from BDO. In our 6th year, I have never paid a single amount for the membership fee. 
  3. Once you got a credit card, always, always pay your bills in full and before due date. If you pay your bills on time and in full, you are not losing anything here. Paying only the minimum amount every month is just like paying only for the interest rate. You will never get out of the debt. 
  4. Think, before you swipe. If you cannot afford to pay it in cash, you cannot afford it. I do not understand how some people get drowned with credit card debts. How do they mercifully use the credit card/money to pay for their stuff, when they know they cannot pay them in a month? 
  5. My rule to use the credit card is, if I can pay for this major purchase in a month, I can use my credit card. It i just a way of delaying the payment (probably because monthly salary is not yet available, allowances not yet paid). But, if you know for a fact that you do not have money to pay for the item, just don’t swipe it. 
  6. If you have missed your due date, pay the bills immediately, or the next day. I have had days when I miss my due dates, and only pay at 12:01 am the following day. Surprisingly, credit card companies do not charge me for interest or late charges when I look at my bill the following month. Probably they know I always pay on time and in full, thus they can forgive my 1 day miss. 
  7. If you have been charged late fees and finance charges, call your bank and beg for reversal. Agents are usually nice especially if they see on your record that you have a good credit standing. 
  8. Come annual membership fee collections, request to have it waived. They will give you a thumbs up if they see you are in good standing. It should be a win-win for both parties. 

I know, no one is put on jail because of unsettled credit card bills, but your credit history will mean your future. There are people who were denied of car loan, or any type of loans because of bad credit standing. I know some who missed the chance of going on a business trip (think = Travel!) because of credit history such that big credit card company like American Express cannot approve their corporate credit card.

Credit cards should help us enjoy our lives, and should never be a burden to us. There are so much perks that comes with owning a credit card (read some freebies I got here from my credit cards) and they are not just decorations in your wallet.

I hope you find this article helpful. Do you have any credit card tips you want to share? Comment away!

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