What the world needs now…

Published June 29, 2021, 6:31 PM

by Philip Cu Unjieng

Yes, the song would have us believe it’s “Sweet Love.” And while love is certainly good; to be brutally frank, a good number of people survive, function and even thrive, without that kind of love. Plus, with the COVID pandemic still casting a long shadow over our collective lives, there may be a shifting of what really counts in life during these unusual times.

Characterizing these times is the shift to prioritizing expenses, sticking to the essentials, and finding an ideal in contactless, cashless transactions. If you peruse the social media posts, it’s often centered on great buys, and how it was delivered to one’s home. Credit cards play a major role in how business is conducted today, and it’s to their credit that Metrobank and Visa recently launched a new product that’s responsive and sensitive to what the Filipino consumer is going through today.

It’s the Metrobank Cashback Visa, and a quick appraisal of its unique features will convince you that this is the credit card we may not have known we needed above all other cards. What the card does is turn “cashback” into a tangible reality. The Metrobank Cashback Visa recognizes spending in three essential categories, and offers up to 8% rebate (for their introductory, promotional period; after which it becomes 5%) on this spend. The three categories are grocery spend, telecom spend, and bookstore and learning expenses. From all walks of life, we’re bound to be entailing spend in at least two, if not all three, categories.

And there’s no hidden trick or “did you read the fine print” in the offer. Metrobank has made it very easy to qualify. In the grocery category, there’s a wide range of accredited supermarkets and groceries. Globe and Smart, and even Netflix billings, fall under the telecom category. Tuition fees, NBS purchases, they all fall into the third category, which should make any parent grin from ear to ear.

I polled a number of my friends about their credit card preferences, usage, and gripes; and while they will remain unnamed, this is the general gist of what I got from them:

There were the usual complaints about annual fees, about foreign currency transaction fees, and some even brought up how exorbitant late fees and interest rates are. And a good number moaned about their particular card’s acceptance in several retail establishments. Lessons to be learned there, but that holds for both sides of the coin.

While the credit card companies would do well to listen to their users; it’s also the users themselves who should realize and appreciate the privilege they’re enjoying. It’s credit, and unlike say GCash mobile payment apps or debit cards, you’re financially transacting on the guarantee that the credit card provider will initially pay for your purchase. To complain about late payment fees and interest rates seem petty, and an unfortunate misunderstanding of what the arrangement is all about.

More enlightening was how my friends who used to be regular travelers were saying that they were now opting to use payment apps as it was more convenient. The rewards system of most credit cards was a compelling incentive when it was linked to travel and/or miles with some airline. With travel at a virtual standstill, these rewards were no longer attractive, and these friends admitted that more often than not, their cards would just lie idle in their wallets. Obviously, a new incentive is needed for these credit card users.

A number of mommies commented that they found the rewards system too confusing, and that quite often it would slip from their minds and they’d only remember when the redemption period had lapsed. They also bemoaned how most of the rewards were linked to enjoying a discount on something you originally had no intention of purchasing. In these days of stricter managing of the household’s finances, the notion of credit didn’t seem as attractive; and it was more prudent to use cards or apps with money you had on hand.

And uniformly, they made the comment about how most of the credit card providers didn’t seem to even notice how the world had changed, what’s been happening for over a year now – other than making more convenient the payment of bills online, and going paperless.

So when I described the Metrobank Cashback Visa, they were genuinely intrigued and metaphorically applauded the cashback system. They loved the recognition established via the three categories of what the essential spending of today consist of. They felt the rebate mechanism was a vast improvement over the Rewards system. The clear consensus was that the Metrobank Cashback Visa would be very popular, and would make them favorably reassess the value of credit card usage.

Metrobank and Visa certainly have something precious with their cashback card; as it’s the first credit card that clearly understands what the Filipino consumer is undergoing while the COVID community quarantine continues to be part of our lives. It’s a response that takes us in the right direction, and users will be happy to take this card out of their purses and wallets.

Don’t spend more, spend smart with the Metrobank Cashback Visa. Get up to 8% rebate on essential purchases on your first 6 months, when you apply until August 31, 2021. Terms and conditions apply. For more information, visit https://metrobankcard.com/Cards.