Credit cards around the world: The Philippines

Our ongoing series moves to Philippines, where debit use nearly quadruples credit card use.


Credit report

Debit cards reign
Only about 7.7 percent, or 7.4 million, of Filipinos have credit cards, compared to 32.6 percent, or 31.3 million, who use a debit card. The number of credit cards grew 32 percent from 2003 to 2008, while debit cards more than doubled to 64.3 percent (Euromonitor International).

Changing credit card regulations
Because credit card use is still fairly new to the country, legislators are working on laws to regulate their use before they become popular. House Bill 2787, which was introduced in March and is pending approval, would limit the surcharges and interest rates credit card providers can impose (Congress of the Philippines).

Increasing incentives
To entice potential customers, many credit card issuers have cut their interest rates to about 3 percent, which is well below the industry standard (Manila Standard).

Cards and crime

Cybercrime on the rise
Philippine police report that credit card fraud through the use of a computer is drastically on the rise. In 2007, there were 1,843 reported cases, which is almost triple the 527 cases reported in 2006, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Cameras help bust crime
A common offense in major cities is to entrap cab passengers and make them withdraw money from their credit cards. Lawmakers have proposed installing cameras at every major ATM location to combat the act (Philippines News Agency).

Local voices

Official tourism site
- Philippine Tourism Authority

Financial news sites
- Daily Inquirer
- Mindanao Times
- Sun Star
- The Manila Standard
- The Manila Times
- The Bohal Chronicle

Country info

Location: Southeastern Asia, east of Vietnam and south of Taiwan (map)

Population: 96 million (July 2008)

Internet users: 14 million (June 2008 estimate)

Area: 115,830 sq. miles (slightly larger than Arizona)

GDP: US$300 billion ( 2007 estimate)

Currency: Philippine peso (PHP)

Key exports: US$49 billion of semiconductors, electronic products, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, fruits

Key imports: US$57 billion of mineral fuels, iron and steel, textile fabrics, grains, chemicals, plastic

Famous Filipinos: Professional boxer Manny Pacquiao, former first lady and shoe aficionado Imelda Marcos, composer and leaf-player Levi Celerio

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Updated: 03-26-2019