Usapang utang.

I got my very first credit card in 2004, 4 years into the work force. I tried my luck and applied for the Sunlife-Standard Chartered bank card. When you apply for this type of card, your insurance premiums will be charged to the card and I’m guessing I was approved because of my insurance premiums with Sunlife. My first credit limit back then was at Php50,000.00.

I wish I could say I was a responsible credit card owner, but unfortunately, no. I charged more than what I can pay in full for a month. I did not max out, but the mere fact that my income then did not allow full payment at the end of the month was already a disaster. I can’t remember the exact amount but it may be between 10-20k. The items I charged? I think mountaineering gears (bag and shoes). And maybe a few others. So since I can’t pay in full, I was paying a monthly interest of not lower than Php500.00. Kaloka.

What was my wake up call? One time I tried to compute how long it would take me to pay my remaining debts if I pay just the minimum amount every month, and if I stopped charging to my card while I was paying for my remaining balance. The result was a shocking 20+ years! And to say that I was shocked was an understatement. I fast forwarded my life to 20 years and I wanted to cry then because I don’t want to be paying credit for that long! I also thought I cannot have my own family, or at the very least won’t have a boyfriend until I paid for my dues!

And so from then, I vowed to eliminate my debts as fast as I can. It took me less than a year. All excess amount was geared towards paying the debt. Most of my bonuses and leave conversions in 2005 were used to pay for my debts. I promised myself that my January 2006 bill should have no charges. And I was able to do that, hooray! And I never looked back. And I never put myself in that situation again. Or will I ever do it again. Never.

These days, I still charge everything that I can in my credit card. But I make sure that I already have a budget for these charges, and that I can pay for all charges in full every month. I still charge because of the points and it’s more convenient for me since I can pay my bills online. And because I’m no longer a delinquent payer, all my requests for waiving of annual fees are granted.

Since my first credit card, the same bank also issued me the Gold version of their card, so currently I have 2 with the same bank. BDO also issued me a credit card without me applying for it. Maybe because my Payroll account is with them. While I am able to manage 3 cards, I’m now thinking of discontinuing the use of the other card because my insurance premium charges also ended. I don’t need as many as 3 cards. Two would be enough so that there’s still a backup. We’ll see.

My credit card frustration: I really want to have a Citibank credit card. I applied 5 or 6 years ago but was denied. I applied 2 months ago and was also denied. I learned from an HR friend that Citibank does not approve applications of BPO employees. Another friend mentioned that Citibank also don’t grant credit cards to lawyers. So, maybe that explains it. But it is still frustrating hehehe.

What’s your credit card story?