02CB2: Rolling With The Financial Punches

Tuesday - Salad

I've been a BPI customer for quite some time now. As much as the experience has been generally positive over the years, it does feel like they've been slowly falling behind other financial institutions in one way or another. A good example is how I used to maintain a significant savings account with them due to relatively higher interest rates but I killed the account when they increased the minimum to earn interest to a crazy level. I ended up moving my money over to CIMB given they offer much better rates and their being a digital-only bank kind of makes them more practical for a savings account. The money is harder to get to and that sorta makes more sense for long-term savings. Doing this cost me my Preferred Customer status apparently despite my having a Gold Mastercard with them since forever.

At the start of the month, BPI announced that peso-billed transactions processed by foreign carriers would incur additional charges. I didn't think too much of this change at first as I do tend to favor getting billed in foreign currencies instead of local ones when making ecommerce purchases on Amazon or via PayPal. What I didn't immediately consider is how this will impact services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video which advertise peso rates for their subscriptions but process these charges overseas. And true enough, I see the additional 1% added to our recent streaming site fees. It's not a lot...but it is annoying. And I know it's going to add up. BPI can argue that it's a Mastercard fee and not a BPI fee, but they're still choosing to pass this fee on to its customers instead of absorbing it themselves.

To address this, I'm working on shifting our subscriptions for Netflix, Prime Video, and even YouTube Premium over to my Globe Telecom bill, so that will shift the biller to a local one. I don't mind using my BPI Card for things like Amazon and such since the expectation is for these transactions to be foreign ones. There are still some peso-billed charges like our Google One subscription that are probably too big for me to move over to Globe given my credit limit there, but we'll see how to handle the additional charges moving forward. But I am finally thinking about the fact that BPI has been my only credit card since forever and maybe it's time to make a change. Or at the very least, maybe it's time to get a second credit card with another bank.

I admit that I'm leaning towards a Unionbank card as their app and digital banking solutions have been quite impressive thus far and they've been great as our payroll bank. Plus there have been special cases like the recent Hamilton run that had Unionbank-exclusive promos, so that's something, too. 

Does any of you have any recommendations in this department?