The first & only debit card to earn GetGo Rewards points – Union Bank GetGo Visa Debit Card

I have reviewed a number of reward credit cards on this blog, including for Cebu Pacific Airlines, the low cost carrier! Now, Union Bank of the Philippines is offering the Cebu Pacific GetGo Visa Debit Card – the first and only debit card to earn GetGo Rewards points and one of the few rewards debit cards in the world – find out all the details and whether it’s worth signing up for it!

Few debit cards offer reward points, so it’s great to see Union Bank offer one for Cebu Pacific’s GetGo Rewards program: Here is a summary of what the Cebu Pacific GetGo Visa Debit Card offers:

  • 500 Point sign-up bonus
  • Earn Points for Spend
    You earn 1 point per PHP88 spent and points are automatically transferred to GetGo every month. That’s a reward rate of 0.3%, not much but better than nothing
  • Fees
    There is a PHP500 annual fee as well as ATM fees, even at Union Bank ATMs, unusual for debit cards! The terms don’t list a foreign exchange fee, but I’d expect it to be the same 3% as the Union Bank GetGo Visa credit card!

Union Bank currently offers a sign-up bonus of 500 GetGo points, worth PHP150 (USD3) – not much, but better than nothing.
The debit cards earn rate of 1 point per PHP88 reflects a reward rate (or discount) of 0.3% – that’s much lower than the GetGo credit cards offering 1pt/PHP30 (or 1% discount), but it’s the only debit card to offer any reward points at all.
Most debit cards I have seen in the Philippines don’t charge an annual fee or ATM fees at the issuing bank’s ATMs, so the annual fee of PHP500 and the ATM fees of PHP10-175 are obviously offsetting the awards, making it more difficult to tell whether the card makes sense or not. Let’s assume you use a domestic ATM 4 times per month and an international one 2 times per year, resulting in ATM fees of PHP830, for a total of PHP1,330 of fees per year. You would have to spend more than PHP390,000 per year to offset the fees, before you earn any rewards! If you have another ATM card for cash withdrawals without fees, you need to spend almost PHP150,000 to offset the annual fee of PHP500!

Bottomline: The Union Bank GetGo Debit Card sounds good on first sight, but the modest rewards barely offset the fees. If you have another ATM card for free cash withdrawals, spend at least PHP150,000 per year on your debit card and don’t want to risk carrying a balance with high interest, the GetGo debit card can be an introduction to rewards cards!
For most people who can qualify for a credit card and pay off their balance every month (read my advice for rewards cards FIRST), applying for the Union Bank GetGo Visa Credit Card is more cost effective and rewarding!

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