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A Second Chance: Low-interest debt program to help credit card users

Most of you have either watched “A Second Chance” (after presumably watching “One More Chance” for the 24th time) or longed for that exact thing. While your ex probably won’t give you another chance, even though you ended up in deep debt just to bring her/him back, your credit card provider can now give you that second chance you’ve always wanted. Thanks to the Credit Card Association of the Philippines (CCAP), a cardholder can have an easier time with credit card debt management via the Inter-Bank Debt Relief Program (IDRP).


How the IDRP helps with your debt management

The IDRP, which launched June, is a new program through which 16 banks* help their credit card clients who are burdened with debt. Through this new program, a cardholder can get a debt restructuring scheme through which all his credit card debts to multiple banks will be combined into just one debt with the bank to which he owes the most. This rearranged debt carries lower interest rates, but imposes a few restrictions on the debtor.

However, not all debtholders will be allowed to use this debt management tool, in the same way that not everyone deserves a second chance. Well-meaning people, who only got indebted due to unfortunate situations such as sickness, job loss, or natural disasters, will be prioritized, while those who racked up credit card debt due to irresponsibility and expenses on luxury items and gambling are prohibited. In the same way that you would likely give a second chance to a nice but unlucky guy and not to a careless jerk.

The IDRP also helps banks manage the money they lent to their credit card users, in hopes that easier debt management for credit card users leads to more amounts being recouped. In 2015, before the IDRP was created, around ₱14.5 billion of credit card loans were considered bad debt, ₱2.3 billion of which were under various restructuring programs while the remaining ₱12.2 billion either remain unpaid or paid at minimal amounts.

If you are not eligible for this program, check out these 9 tips to pay off your debt.

How to get out of debt via the IDRP

To get that second chance, you should first be a Filipino citizen residing in the Philippines, who has at least one credit card from two banks or more. Those cards should be with you for at least six months. You might also need a co-maker if you would be more than 65 years old by the time you pay off the restructured debt, or if you don’t have enough income (or any income) to pay for the debt monthly. Remember that you might not be able to get in the IDRP if the banks deem you as irresponsible or if you have sought legal actions regarding your debt problems.

Now, get these documents: a filled-up application form, a signed IDRP payment agreement contract, latest income tax returns, a statement of income and expenses, a government ID, proof of income, and either a consent form, a promissory note, or post-dated checks. Your co-maker might need to produce these files as well.

If you get through these requirements, the easier debt management process will begin. If you don’t, well, you’ll have six months to shape up before being allowed to apply again. Yeah, I know, it’s longer than the “three-month rule” in breakups, but you’ll need all the time you can get to put your finances in order.

Under the IDRP, all your debt across credit cards, whether from two cards or two dozen, will be consolidated into one, under the bank from which you owe the most money. That new loan arrangement, which may last for one to 10 years, will carry interest rates as low as 0% or as high as only 1.5%, depending on the amount of debt you have. Here’s the catch though: you’ll lose your access to credit cards with other banks, and the points, rewards, and airmiles you accumulated will be revoked. But then those might be the least of your worries anyway.

You have to religiously pay your monthly dues, because if you miss your credit card payment, that second chance will be gone, you’ll automatically default on your loans, and the banks may sue you to get what’s theirs. And you thought your break-up was bad.

But, hey, once you commit to getting rid of the debt, you would be in a better place money-wise, and you’ll regain the banks’ trust in you. And then you’ll come out of it a (financially) more mature person. Before you know it, your stress-induced wrinkles will be gone and you’ll look like John Lloyd Cruz or Bea Alonzo again. And then maybe (just maybe, wag umasamasyado) you’ll get a second chance with your ex.

Which banks offer this kind service?

Banks participating in this debt management program, in partnership with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, are Asia United Bank, Bank of Commerce, BPI, BDO, Chinabank, East West Bank, Equicom Savings Bank, HSBC, Citibank, Maybank, Metrobank, PNB, RCBC, Security Bank, Standard Chartered, and UnionBank.

Are you looking for a credit card that can help you with your debt management plans?Compare credit cards with GoBear Philippines to get the best credit card with the lowest interest rates.

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