Should You Get a Supplementary Credit Card or Your Own Credit Card?

Venus Zoleta
Supplementary Credit Card or Regular Credit Card | Moneymax

You’re probably exploring your options for your first credit card, and you’ve heard that a sure-fire way to get approved is to apply for a supplementary credit card.

While getting a supplementary card seems the easier route to meeting your adulting goals or becoming financially independent, you have to think about whether this is the right option for you.

Read this guide about supplementary credit cards in the Philippines first before you decide on getting one.

What is a Supplementary Credit Card?

A supplementary credit card is a secondary card issued under a credit card account that the principal or primary cardholder can give to a family member (child, spouse, sibling, or parent), partner, or trusted friend.

Supplementary cards allow principal cardholders to extend their credit card benefits to their loved ones who are not qualified for a credit card due to age, lack of stable income, or poor/no credit history.

Related: No Income Documents? 3 Credit Card Alternatives to Consider

How Does a Supplementary Credit Card Work?

Supplementary cards in the Philippines vary from one credit card provider to another. However, they work the same way in general.

Supplementary Credit Card Features

1. A Different Card Under the Principal Cardholder’s Account

Supplementary Credit Card Features

A supplementary card comes with its own credit card number, CVV number, and expiration date. The card also bears the supplementary cardholder’s name. These details are different from those of the principal card.

Even if that’s the case, supplementary cards enrolled under a principal credit card account are all treated as part of that account. This means credit limits, balances, and billing statements are consolidated into a single account.

2. Same Benefits as the Principal Card

Typically, supplementary cardholders enjoy identical privileges associated with the principal credit card.

For example, if a principal credit card comes with free travel insurance and airport lounge access, then all supplementary cards under that account also have the same benefits.

Also, supplementary cards may earn credit card rewards with the same points system as the principal card.

3. Shared Credit Limit with the Principal Card

Supplementary cardholders don’t get a separate credit line from the principal cardholder. Rather, all supplementary cards under one account—regardless of the number—share the same credit limit. Because a supplementary card’s spending limit is part of the principal card’s total credit limit, it can never be higher than that of the primary card.

For example, if a primary credit card has a credit limit of PHP 50,000, all supplementary cards under that account share the same spending limit. This means the total monthly balance of all the cards under an account should not exceed that amount.

In case a principal or supplementary cardholder makes a credit card transaction beyond the credit limit, all the other cards are affected—either their next transactions will be declined or the principal cardholder will be charged an overlimit fee for every transaction beyond the credit limit.

To enable principal cardholders to manage the spending of their supplementary cardholders, some credit card providers give them the option to set a monthly credit limit per supplementary card.

If the principal cardholder doesn’t assign a spending limit, the default credit limit of a supplementary credit card will be similar to the primary card’s.

4. Supplementary Credit Card Rates Similar to Principal Card 

The interest rate charged on a supplementary card is usually the same as the rate on the principal cardholder’s account.

For example, if the principal cardholder fails to pay the total outstanding balance for the month (which includes the supplementary’s credit card purchases), the carry-over amount for the next billing cycle will incur interest. If the primary cardholder’s account has an interest rate of 3.50%, then the unpaid balance will be charged that rate.

5. Transactions Consolidated Into One Billing Statement

Supplementary Credit Card Features

The transactions of all supplementary cards under one account are added to the primary cardholder’s monthly billing statement.

This means the principal cardholder can track all the supplementary card transactions and is responsible for making credit card payments to the bank. Of course, you as the supplementary cardholder should pay for the transactions made using the card, unless you’re a student or stay-at-home spouse who’s financially dependent on the principal cardholder.

What’s the Difference of a Supplementary Card vs Credit Card?

1. Simpler Supplementary Card Application Requirements and Process

It’s easier to get a supplementary card than a primary credit card because the application requirements and procedures are a lot simpler.

The age requirement, for instance, is more lenient for supplementary vs primary cardholders. Even teenagers as young as 13 years old can own a supplementary credit card.

No income documents or credit checks are required to qualify. You don’t even have to be earning an income to get a supplementary card. It’s because the principal cardholder bears the responsibility for all the transactions made using the supplementary cards under their account.

2. Low Supplementary Card Annual Fees

Supplementary credit cards in the Philippines have either free or lower annual fees than principal cards. Annual fees on supplementary cards are usually half of the annual fee of their primary card.

Some banks such as BPI, Metrobank, and RCBC offer waived annual fees on the first supplementary card of all or select credit cards.

3. No Rewards Points Redemption for Supplementary Cardholders

Difference of Supplementary Card vs Regular Credit Card

In terms of credit card rewards, principal cardholders earn additional points or cashback from the credit card purchases made by their supplementary cardholders. All rewards points—including those earned from the supplementary cardholder’s transactions—are credited to the principal cardholder’s account.

Unfortunately, you can’t redeem your rewards points or convert them to air miles on your own if you’re using a supplementary card. The points go to the principal card’s account. But the bank may allow you to make a redemption as long as you get an authorization from the primary cardholder.

However, you may benefit from the combined rewards if the principal cardholder shares the credit card reward with you. For example, points earned from your total purchases can accumulate faster, allowing you to redeem free flights for your annual family trip.

Who Should Get a Supplementary Credit Card?

Supplementary credit cards are more suitable for some people than others. A supplementary card is perfect for the following types of people:

  • Students, aging parents, and stay-at-home wives and husbands who depend on a principal cardholder (parent, adult child, or spouse) for financial support
  • People who lack credit history and want an easy way to get their first credit card
  • Freelancers, unemployed people, and others who lack financial documents that banks usually require
  • Couples and families who want to accumulate credit card rewards faster and monitor each other’s spending

Supplementary Credit Card Options in the Philippines

Once you’ve decided to get a supplementary card, start shopping around for options. Here are the supplementary credit cards in the Philippines you can choose from.

AUB Supplementary Card

  • Maximum supplementary cards per account: No limit
  • Age requirement for supplementary cardholder: At least 14 years old
  • Credit limit: Assigned by the principal cardholder
  • Annual fee: No annual fee for life

Note: Supplementary cards are not available for the AUB Easy Mastercard. For other AUB credit cards (Classic, Gold, and Platinum Mastercard), you can enroll as many supplementary cards.

BDO Supplementary Card

  • Maximum supplementary cards per account: Six [1]
  • Age requirement for supplementary cardholder: At least 13 years old
  • Credit limit: Shared credit limit with the primary cardholder with an option to assign a spending limit per card (minimum of PHP 2,000)
  • Annual fee: 50% of principal card’s annual fee

BPI Supplementary Card

Supplementary Card BPI
  • Maximum supplementary cards per account: Six [2]
  • Age requirement for supplementary cardholder: At least 13 years old
  • Credit limit: Shared credit limit with the primary cardholder
  • Annual fee:
    • 1st supplementary card: No annual fee for life
    • 2nd to 6th supplementary card: 50% of principal card’s annual fee

Citibank Supplementary Card

  • Maximum supplementary cards per account: Seven
  • Age requirement for supplementary cardholder: At least 16 years old
  • Credit limit: Assigned by the principal cardholder (minimum of PHP 10,000 per card)
  • Annual fee: 50% of principal card’s annual fee

EastWest Bank Supplementary Card

  • Maximum supplementary cards per account: Nine [3]
  • Age requirement for supplementary cardholder: At least 13 years old
  • Credit limit: Shared credit limit with the primary cardholder with an option to assign a spending limit per card (minimum of PHP 2,500)
  • Annual fee: 50% of principal card’s annual fee

HSBC Supplementary Card

  • Maximum supplementary cards per account: Four
  • Age requirement for supplementary cardholder: At least 15 years old
  • Credit limit: Shared credit limit with the primary cardholder
  • Annual fee: 50% of principal card’s annual fee

Maybank Supplementary Card

  • Age requirement for supplementary cardholder: At least 18 years old
  • Credit limit: Shared credit limit with the primary cardholder with an option to assign a spending limit per card
  • Annual fee: 50% of principal card’s annual fee

Metrobank Supplementary Card

  • Maximum supplementary cards per account: Four
  • Age requirement for supplementary cardholder: 14 to 80 years old
  • Credit limit: Shared credit limit with the primary cardholder with an option to assign a spending limit per card
  • Annual fee:
    • 1st supplementary card: No annual fee for life (Applies only to World Mastercard, Femme Signature Visa, Travel Platinum Visa, and Platinum Peso Mastercard)
    • 50% to 60% of the primary card’s annual fee

RCBC Bankard Supplementary Card

  • Maximum supplementary cards per account: Nine
  • Age requirement for supplementary cardholder: 13 to 65 years old
  • Credit limit: Shared credit limit with the primary cardholder
  • Annual fee:
    • Classic and Gold cards: 50% of principal card’s annual fee
    • Co-branded cards: 50% to 75% of principal card’s annual fee
    • Premium cards: No annual fee for life for up to three to nine supplementary cards

Security Bank Supplementary Card

  • Maximum supplementary cards per account: Five [4]
  • Age requirement for supplementary cardholder: 16 to 65 years old
  • Credit limit: Shared credit limit with the primary cardholder
  • Annual fee: 50% to 62.50% of the primary card’s annual fee

UnionBank Supplementary Card

Supplementary Card Unionbank
  • Credit limit: Shared credit limit with the primary cardholder with an option to assign a spending limit per card
  • Annual fee: 50% of principal card’s annual fee

How to Apply for a Supplementary Credit Card in the Philippines

1. Prepare the Supplementary Credit Card Requirements

The document requirements for supplementary card applications are fewer and simpler than those for primary cards. Filipinos applying for a supplementary credit card need to submit only two documents:

  1. Accomplished supplementary card application form with the signature of both principal cardholder and supplementary card applicant
  2. Photocopy of valid government-issued ID with photo, signature, and birthdate (or valid school ID for students)

Foreign residents in the Philippines are required to submit additional documents, like any of the following:

  • Valid passport
  • Valid visa and work permit
  • Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) with “Permanent” status
  • Immigrant Certificate of Registration (ICR)
  • Special Investors Resident Visa
  • Special Resident Retirement Visa
  • Embassy Certification

2. File Your Supplementary Credit Card Application

Only primary credit cardholders can request supplementary cards from their issuing bank. This means if you’d like to have a supplementary credit card for yourself, you should first get a principal cardholder’s consent to apply for one under his/her account. The principal cardholder will then file your supplementary card application.

There are three ways to apply for a supplementary card in the Philippines. Simply submit the supplementary credit card requirements at the nearest branch of the principal’s credit card provider, via email, or via fax.

Some banks like HSBC have an online credit card application facility that allows their clients to apply for a supplementary card in one go.

Once your supplementary credit card is approved, it will be delivered to the principal cardholder’s home or office address as stated in the application form.

Final Thoughts

A supplementary card can be a useful tool if you know how to use it responsibly. Otherwise, the primary cardholder would be the one to pick up the slack for you if you’re unable to pay for your credit card purchases. If you aren’t sure you can manage your own spending, then postpone having a supplementary card or credit card and work on developing good money habits first.

Compare and apply credit cards today!

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