You need a valid ID to apply for a valid ID — is an irony that we simply shrug off. True, and this but also applies when it comes to getting your first credit card. You’re asked if you have an EXISTING credit card. And it matters!
Getting the first credit card in the Philippines is hard. Unless you have a good credit history to check or above six-digit savings in your account, expect the upsetting experience.
Declined credit card applications cause some degree of frustration. That’s normal. Soon you will have yours approved. Now, here’s my ultimate guide to getting your first credit card and easy approvals on your next applications.
 Check Your Credit History and Credit Score. If you’ve been reading my blogs here, you might have come across another article about how I managed requesting TransUnion Philippines for a credit report.
You might not have heard about credit reporting, but this system is widely used in many countries. It’s already available in the country and getting popular among those who get into credits and loans.
As Investopedia writes, a credit report is a detailed breakdown of your credit history prepared by a credit bureau.
Credit bureaus collect financial information about you and create credit reports based on that information, and lenders use the reports along with other details to determine your creditworthiness.
Read about my personal experience here – How to Check Your Credit Score in the Philippines (TransUnion) and why it helps taking a peek into your credit history.
 Apply for a Secured Credit Card (SCC). Let’s say, the bank where you keep your hard-earned savings denied your first credit card application. Don’t feel betrayed. It maybe that as they checked your credit history, you got nothing in the records, and they just could not give you the trust yet.
Try their secured credit card (SCC) then. If you apply and get approved for this, you will be given a card that works the same way as a regular credit card although the real catch is that — a certain holdout amount has to sit in your account until such time that you decide to cancel it, or if the bank is generous enough, converts your card to a regular one.
You may read more about it here —RCBC Instacard: Just a Regular Credit Card (8 Months of Experience).RCBC Instacard is a good example. If you’re interested, you may check my other article —RCBC Instacard: Application Requirements and Process (Actual Experience)
 Look for Reliable Credit Card Agents. Facebook, in particular, has become a big marketplace of products and services. You can always find reliable credit card agents in FB groups and pages (and comment sections) who can assist you in your application for the first credit card.
They do the filling out and submission of forms for you. Others give tips and even suggest the opening of savings account first.
Good thing, most of them are legit bank employees who do not require service fees and even make follow ups with their credit departments. So, the chance of getting your credit card application approved is high.
In another article — PNB Ze-Lo Mastercard: How I Got My First Regular Credit Card, I detailed out the timeline of my application with the help of a certain Ma’am Lhen whom I just got to know in an FB group. I was just asked some personal info, a copy of ITR, and a PNB savings account. No CI!
 Use Your Secured Credit Card as a Referral Card. Your SCC works the same way as a regular credit card, and you can use it as a referral card in your next applications. Just make sure, you have built a good credit score with it. You pay your bills on time.
 Try Applying for More Credit Cards. I already have five credit cards in a matter of a year — an RCBC Instacard Visa (NAFFL), a PNB Ze-Lo Mastercard (NAFFL), a Citi Rewards Mastercard (NAFFL, after hitting the required 20K spending within first two months), a Citi Simplicity+ Mastercard (NAFFL), and a Union Bank Classic Visa (PHP1,500 AF). Plus, I have pending applications with EastWest Bank and BDO.
Many don’t see the advantage of having a credit card. I, too, did not see this years ago when I was just starting with my career — or maybe because I was not yet then into managing household finances, weekly groceries, bills, and not yet into an online business.
But now that I am, I see it something really helpful to make finances at least breathe out. It just requires some degree of responsibility.
Credit Card Stigma — and Why Filipinos Should Break It. This article explores the existing negative stigma surrounding the use of credit cards, justifies the benefits of getting one, and warns against the financial risks that weight almost equally with the benefits.
How to Choose the Right Credit Card [Beginner’s Guide]. This article provides beginners a seven-step guide in choosing the right credit card and a detailed discussion on the most important factors to consider.
12 Reasons Your Credit Card Application Got Declined [Plus Tips Inside]. This article identifies and examines the most common reasons why credit card applications get declined and provides helpful tips and guides on what to do with them.
How to Check Your Credit Score in the Philippines (TransUnion). This article serves as a credible guide on how to request a credit report from TransUnion Philippines and check the current credit score and all historical credit data.
Best Secured Credit Cards (SCC) in the Philippines. This article provides an in-depth discussion on secured credit cards, the best ones available, and how these can be used to build and rebuild credit score.