Wednesday, December 26, 2012

BPI eCredit - a credit card for internet payments

Are you paranoid like me about disclosing your credit card number when purchasing stuff online? 

If you are, you should be rightly so. There are so many horror stories out there on the internet about syndicates who are able to get hold of your credit card number and max out its credit limit with illegal purchases. Most times, when my kids want to purchase games online, I use PayPal and decline their requests if the merchant site requires a credit card number instead of PayPal.

Now my kids will be a lot happier. Here is something I just recently got in the mail from my bank, BPI (important card info were blurred out).

In the flyer that came with the card, the BPI eCredit card was described as "a companion card to your existing BPI Express Credit Mastercard. This card is for virtual and internet payments only..."

Here are some of its features:

1. Attached to your credit card - the eCredit forms part of your main card's credit limit. Anything you purchase using the eCredit card is also deducted from your main card's credit limit.

2. Security - though connected to your main credit card's limit, the eCredit uses a different card number. This means that even if compromised, your entire credit limit won't be compromised. You will be exposed only up to the eCredit's sub-limit.

3. Flexible sub-limit - With the card, I was assigned a sub-limit. However, if I felt it was still too high, I could request for a lower sub-limit (minimum sub-limit is P5,000). Conversely, if I wanted a sub-limit increase, it cal also be done. There are 2 ways to do this. 1) by calling the 89-100 hotline or 2) by logging on to the BPI Express Online account, if you have one, click Other Services > Credit Card Services > Increase in Credit Limit. Fill out the required fields and indicate "Adjustment of eCredit sub-limit". Requests are processed after one (1) banking day.

4. Convenient payment mode - Your online purchases can be settled together with your main card. But when you log on to your BPI Express Online account, online purchases are reported separately so you can monitor usage. Here's what my account looks like:

5. Rewards - Just like the main credit card, online purchases using the BPI eCredit card entitle you to 1 reward point for every P35 spent.

6. No annual fee - eCredit comes free with any BPI Express Credit Mastercard.

Does it work?

It sure does. The day after this card came in the mail, my son wanted to buy two online games. We tried doing so by using the BPI eCredit and the purchases went through. I'm just waiting now for those transactions to show up on my BPI Express Online account.

So far, I think this is the solution I've been waiting for and I am glad BPI thought of it. More and more, as transactions are done online, features such as these allow me to shop virtually without worrying about exposing my credit card.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Knorr's Homecoming Treat for OFWs this Christmas

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I remember when I lived abroad for 2 years while working on my Master's. I sorely missed home. Filipino friends always took opportunities to get together and partake of Filipino food. But despite those get-togethers, being away from home meant missing a lot of familiar stuff. I particularly missed Christmas, seeing our native parols, being with the family for Noche Buena, hearing the Filipino Christmas carols and even the local food - Chinese ham, queso de bola, spaghetti, and native delicacies like puto bumbong and bibingka during Simbang Gabi.

So can you imagine what it must be like for returning OFWs who have been away from the Philippines for many more years, even decades? Can you imagine what it must be like for them to see Philippine soil from the air, excitedly looking through the windows as the plane prepares to land? Can you imagine their hearts longing to see their dear ones even as they collect their baggages from the carousel? And can you imagine them planning exactly what Filipino food they will indulge in while they are in the country, especially those which may not always be available abroad?

Knorr recently treated returning OFWs to a heartwarming homecoming treat with the homecooked goodness of sinigang. Instead of the usual salubongs of Filipino music playing from bands at arrival areas, the "Knorr Sinigang's Umuwi sa Sarap ng Sinigang" campaign added a flavorful twist. Arriving OFWs at NAIA Terminal 3 were invited to a cozy dining area and were fed Filipino food like fish, pork and shrimp sinigang.

Some celebrities were at hand also to lend additional surprise. Singer Erik Santos gave his own rendition of "Pasko na Sinta Ko". Marvin Agustin was also on hand as part of the cooking ensemble. And the OFWs were given special tokens and floral leis to complete the homecoming treat.

I think the gesture of Knorr meant a lot to those returning OFWs. After all, they are some of the heroes of this country. They sacrifice being away from loved ones, often live under very difficult circumstances, and send a significant part of their earnings home. 

Tomorrow, my own daughter is coming home for the holidays. She has lived in a foreign land most of 2012 and will be with us just for 2 short weeks. But we intend to make the most of the time just being a family and bonding as much as we can - over food, of course. I also have my own homecoming treat for my girl which Knorr also sent over for me to try - several mixes including sinigang. She'll have her share of native dishes, something she has not eaten since she left.

Finally, watch these videos of the actual Knorr Homecoming Treat right at the airport.