Two weeks after I applied for a BPI e-Prepaid Mastercard, I went to the bank to claim the card. Here are the five (5) things that you should do to have a smooth, hassle-free experience. (For those who have come to this page for the first time, you may want to read on general information about prepaid cards that are issued by Philippine banks.)
1. Make sure to come back a little over the turnaround time
The clerk told me to wait two weeks. I remembered asking if I could come earlier. She replied, it was not something they recommend. The cards are to be shipped from Manila. By her experience, she had customers who dropped by thinking they could get the card but the bank had not received any delivery. What she suggested though was to come back a day or two after the fourteenth day from the application (the fifteenth or sixteenth day) to make room for any delivery issues.
I also recalled that I asked if I get a notification, like an sms. It would be great, wouldn’t it? I would not have to remember appointments and dates. The very day I get the message, I can set aside a few minutes to visit the bank. Sadly the answer was no, it was not possible.
Takeaway: The turnaround time the clerk will give you might vary depending on your location. I have read that those in Greater Manila Area do not have to wait as long as those in the provinces. Ask the clerk to be sure.
Another thing you can do is to give them a call in advance. That way, you are sure that when you do visit the bank, you could walk away with the card in hand. And this is also the reason why that when you are selecting a bank to have business with, choose the one that you can reach out conveniently.
2. Bring a valid ID
The clerk knew me through the various banking transactions I had with her in the past, from opening an account to replacing a lost debit card. We are at the point of familiarity where either she or I would say hi when we chance upon each other in the bank. But I still brought a valid identification card, my SSS UMID card. The last thing I want to happen is her asking me to come back with a proof of identity that I am who I claimed I am. That’s just laughably inconvenient.
So don’t just walk right in. Bring with you an ID. Avoid situations where you need to ask favor from the bank to make an exemption for you, because there is a small chance they will.
3. Sign the papers
The clerk would ask you to fill out some forms. I had to write down the card number, and affix my signature on a document stating that the bank has issued the card, that I have received it, and the date of issuance.
4. Sign up for online account
Before you leave, make sure that you request that your BPI e-prepaid Mastercard is enrolled online. Its purpose may not be apparent right away or relevant to you at the present time, but down the road you would need an online access. For example, you might want to load the card with funds from your other BPI savings or checking account. You might also need to see the transaction history without having to request a statement from the bank, especially when getting the confirmation code for Paypal verification.
Again, this is worth repeating: request for an online enrolment only when you have other bank deposit accounts. That’s what I did. I asked the clerk to enrol the card to my already existing account.
5. Go through the steps of using the card
I have already researched how to reload, how to do balance inquiry, and how to use the card. But I do not want to leave any stones unturned, so I just went over the steps involved in those transactions with the clerk. It turned out that I knew a good deal more than she did. Still, it pays that you go over the steps one last time before you go. You might learn something new or get more tips.
Update: You may want to read my experience using the BPI My e-Prepaid Mastercard for the first time.