11 Useful Credit Cards That Can Help Your Budget

You've probably heard of people having multiple credit cards. Great way to get buried in debt, right?

If you have no financial discipline, that's the most likely outcome.

But if you can control your spending, some credit cards can actually give you an edge. Here are some examples of useful credit cards that can help you with your budget.

Cards with Good Rebates

Some cards pretend to offer rebates - but in reality offer only dangle a token amount in exchange for spending big. These cards at least give rebates you can use without profligate spending.

RCBC Landmark Ansons card

You get 5% rebate in all Anson's stores and Landmark groceries and dept stores. At 5% that one of the highest "money back" promises you'll see, and you can get it even if you don't spend a lot. The big caveat though is you can only get it if used in those stores.

Standard Chartered Platinum Cash Rewards

You get 3% rebate on all dining and department store expenses, plus you get 0.3% rebate on all other expenses. While 3% isn't so thrilling, it's just big enough to be useful - especially since you can get it in any store. The 0.3% rebate on all other expenses isn't much, but it's better than nothing.

The big downside is that it's more suited for people who dine out and buy a lot from department stores. So check you budget first if that's where the bulk of your spending is.

EastWest EveryDay MasterCard

You get 5% rebate on all supermarkets, gas stations and drug stores.

That's a pretty much the most impressive rebate promise out there. The only drawback is that you have to spend Php10,000 a month on all other expenses to get 5%. If you spend only Php5,000-9,999 you only get 3% rebates. And if you spend less than 5,000 you only get a negligible 0.5% rebate.

Those are pretty hefty caveats. But if you spend Php5-10k a month on dining, utilities, department stores, then this card can be very useful.

Citibank Cash back card

You get 6% rebate in all supermarkets, a 2% meralco rebate, and .20% on all other expenses.

Those are pretty good rebates. It could be the best rebate card out there, except for the caveat. You have to spend at least Php10,000 per month on non-grocery and non-meralco items to get those kinds of rebates. Otherwise your rebate turns into a negligble 0.2%. 

BDO Shopmore Card

Get 5% rebates during SM's 3-day sales, and a free SM Advantage card (plus you earn higher rewards)

This card looks great - I mean, you get 5% rebate during sales so that's fantastic savings, right? But since you only get rebates during 3-day sales, that limits the benefits. But if you shop at SM a lot, then this could be useful.

Save on Gas and Car expenses

Owning a car is a big expense. A lot of people that have them try to use them sparingly to save on costs. So if you have a car, one of these cards may help you deal with fitting those costs into your budget.

EastWest Bank Hyundai Card -

You get 3% rebate at any gas station and 10% rebate at Hyundai service centers, 0.5% rebate from all other retail purchases.

That looks like a pretty good offer, however the rebates are in the form of Hyundai Vouchers - which can be redeemed only at Hyundai dealerships. Plus, you can't get the 10% rebate form Hyundai service centers if you're paying with the vouchers.

If you're a Hyundai aficionado, it's a good card. Otherwise, it's only good for the 3% fuel rebate at all gas stations - which isn't bad.

Metrobank Toyota Mastercard 

You get 3% rebate at Petron, 10% discount in your chosen Toyota dealer (plus 24/7 roadside assistance)

Those are good rebates if you own a Toyota. Plus, you can still accumulate rewards points and double points when spending at your chosen Toyota dealer. The big drawback here is that you can only get rebates from Petron and one Toyota dealer (you can call to change your preference, but still...)

Petron-BPI Mastercard 

You get 3% gas rebate at Petron, 10% discount on Petron lubricants and auto services, and - interestingly - in case of a price increase you get the lower fuel price from the previous day (plus 24/7 roadside assistance)

That 3% rebate is about average, but that price shield is enticing. In those cases where the price jumps by 1 peso or more, you could be getting as much as 5% "discount" (price shield + 3% rebate). The drawback is that it's only for Petron stations.

Security Bank Diners Club Seaoil

Get 4% gas rebate at Seaoil affiliated gas stations, 10% discount on Seaoil lubricants (and 24/7 roadside assistance)

That's a pretty good fuel rebate. You might not be able to maximize it since there are appreciably fewer Seaoil stations than the big three (Caltex, Shell, Petron).

Citibank Shell Card

You get 5% rebate at Shell, 5% rebate on all auto repairs , 5% rebate on NLEX and SLEX toll load.

Those are great rebates for car owners. Unfortunately, in order to get them you have to spend Php10,000 a month on all other purchases - which you won't get any rebates on. However, even if you don't spend 10k , you can still get a 3% rebate at Shell.

You'd probably only want this if you own a transport business (like maybe transport for tours or a UV express). Or if fuel, toll, and auto repairs are the bulk of your expenses - which is not likely for most households.

No Annual Fees (ever!)

You can usually get it waived. But sometimes, they ask you to spend a certain amount before doing so. Or the guy at the other end decides you're bluffing and let's you cut the card. In either case it can be a hassle

Metrobank M Free credit card 

You won't get points (and consequently no rewards) or rebates, but you also don't have to meet minimum spending requirements or otherwise negotiate to waive the annual fee.

The benefit of this card is that it's perfect for people on small budgets or just want a back-up card. It can also be a "training" card if you want to teach your child how to responsibly use credit cards.

Please subscribe to my feed, like me on Facebook, circle me on Google+, or follow me Twitter @thePFApprentice. It's free, you won't miss new articles, and you'll also get my free ebook: the Super Savings Guide.

Enter your email address for your free subscription

This article is part of a series:

photo credit: Josh Kenzer via photopin cc


  1. Because of your post, I no longer feel bad that my application the rebate cards constantly gets denied. They're not all they're cranked out to be pala.

    I hope for the day when we can get free airline miles for simply opening up a card or spending x amount. I really drool over sites where they get free vacations by playing their credit card points.

    1. Hi Jill!

      Hehe, I think that's the opposite of my intended effect. But yeah, these rebates usually come with significant caveats.

      But based on my earlier post, some of these rebates can actually be worth more than the points you get from an "ordinary" credit card.

    2. True. But if you're an average credit card user, the savings will not be worth the strategizing and whatnot to maximize your points. Or at least that's what I tell myself. Bitter pa rin ako. hahaha!