Times are unpredictable and there are instances when holidays affect the payout times as in my previous post. It is during these times that a credit card can be very helpful to us online workers. But getting one can be tough especially if we don’t have income supporting documents like an Income Tax Return. Most banks are still very conservative about who to lend credit to and they think online workers are a big risk because well, we don’t really have an office per se and our clients are thousands of miles away from us.
A few years ago, I was thinking of applying for a secured credit card from BPI since the minimum opening balance is only 10,000 pesos and 80% of that will be your credit limit. But since I wasn’t really convinced about how a secured credit card can build your credit history, I put it off for a while. Then last year, BPI just called me and said I was preapproved for a Blue Mastercard and it was already processed for delivery. You can just imagine how happy I was then. I think the main reason BPI preapproved a credit card for me because all my online earnings are coursed through them for the last 3 years and counting and they are able to see a consistency of income.
This year, I decided to see if I can be approved for other banks’ unsecured credit card. These are the banks that I do not have any relationship with since I’ve always loved BPI and its service. I just went through these applications so I can give you an idea of the process and possibly, open the bank’s eyes to have a credit card specifically for the online worker with different requirements from those that are employed locally.
I completed an online application at their website and got an email asking me to send certain requirements. I sent the requirements after the cutoff time on their website so my application will be processed the next business day.
Around lunch time the next day, their customer support representative called me and verified all the information I wrote down on the application. When it came to asking me what my work was, I told them I was an online worker and explained my nature of work to them. That’s where the verification stopped and their representative told me nicely that they currently can’t process applications from online workers and that if their policy will change soon, they will contact me again. I doubt that’s gonna happen anytime soon though..
I also applied for a BDO credit card online. I got an email from Grace, their customer support representative, asking me to submit requirements (Government ID and a copy of my credit card statement as a proof of billing address). I was not able to submit the requirements right away so I got a call from Grace the next day asking me if I received her email. I said I did and explained my current work situation with her. That I don’t have an ITR and I only have a Certificate of Employment from my client in the US and proof of earnings via oDesk. She said that was okay and she asked me to write a letter of explanation about the work arrangement. I had my hopes up because Grace was such a nice person to talk to and she explained everything clearly.
So I sent in the requirements and Grace said someone from BDO credit group will call me after 5 days.
And indeed, someone did.. She verified the information on my application and when we got to the employment part, I explained to her that I was working online. She asked if I was a freelancer. I said yes technically but that I’ve been with my client for about 3 years now having full time work. So she repeated, “So freelancer ka nga?” I said, “yes” and she said, “may small business?” I said “yung registered sa DTI/BIR?” and she said, “oo”. Of course, I said No. When I said that I didn’t have a small business, she said it was the end of the verification, which I know isn’t true because there is still a reference section in the application form she hasn’t asked me about..
On my side, it sounded condescending asking me if I am a freelancer. Maybe in the tone that she used with me. Probably she thought it was a waste of time processing an application that will never get approved ever… LOL. Not my loss though. 🙂
I tried doing an online application for an HSBC card but when I got to the employment section, I only found a dropdown with the Top 100 companies in the country to choose from. That’s when I decided not to proceed with the application because oh well, I’ve been turned down twice already.
Now, after 2 weeks, I got a call from HSBC asking me if I wanted to continue my application. I didn’t think they’d save that one so I said, “okay”. She asked me some information over the phone and I explained to her about my work. She just said that some applications may be considered granting that I have some proof to show and because I already had a BPI Mastercard for one year plus already. So she asked me to submit the supporting docs through their website.
The waiting game is now on.. I will update this post once I receive feedback for my application in HSBC.
As you can see, it is very difficult to get a credit card if you work online, never mind if you earn N times more that those with “regular” offline office work..
Update: HSBC called me two more times to verify information on my application. A few days after the last call, I got a text informing that my application was approved. I was given a Gold card, when I only applied for their regular card! Way to go HSBC! About two weeks later, I got my card and had it activated over the phone!