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The credit scoring system works a little differently in the Philippines but if you are considering moving to the country as an expat, you will need to account for your financial history. As of 2011, TransUnion Information Solutions set up the country’s first comprehensive credit bureau. Partnered with large banks such as HSBC, they now have the same kind of capacity to analyse the financial data of millions of potential borrowers. The system operates in similar way to credit checking organisations in the USA and Europe, but they don’t usually issue a “score” as you may have been used to. Though conditions can be a little different and even more lenient, it is always important to look after your credit rating. Here are some of the best ways you can do this:

Multiple Credit Cards

This is a great way of building a good reputation for borrowing quickly. If you can prove to potential lenders that you can manage to spend and repay on more than one card at a time, this will increase your chances of being accepted when you apply to borrow higher amounts. It will also affect how much interest you pay. People with good credit always pay less interest than those with poor scores. Using multiple cards can be overwhelming and its important to keep track of what you’ve spent and where. Thankfully there are several apps that can help you do this, and most lenders now offer some form of mobile or online interface to manage your account.

Avoid applying for more than one loan at a time

When you make an application for credit, your information is shared with a few agencies and a record is created. If you are applying for several loans at once, the chances are this will affect your credit rating negatively as it looks a little unusual. Try to leave if possible, between applying for large amounts of credit as multiple applications or refusals can be very damaging to your score in the long run. Ideally, you should shop around for the best rate and only go through with the application itself when you are fully satisfied you have found the best possible deal.

Make two payments per month, instead of one.

This simple trick is a very effective way of paying off debt and boosting your overall credit rating. Frequent payments that are additional to your agreed minimum monthly amount will be recorded by the rating agencies as well as your lender. Over time, this activity will be looked on as evidence that you can manage your finances well. Even a small payment can make a difference and if you set up a standing order or regular transfer, it simply becomes part of your monthly expenses.

Stay Within Your Limit

Since contactless payments become commonplace and subscription-based services are more popular than ever, it can be very easy to lose track of how much you have spent. Going over your agreed credit limit even once can be very bad for your credit rating. Most of the established lenders have technology in place to alert you that you may be nearing your limit, but this isn’t always the case. When you exceed your credit limit you are usually charged a penalty fee on top of what you already owe. Anything like this will make a serious dent in your overall credit rating.

Try to stay within 30% of your total credit card limit

When you’re applying for a loan in the Philippines or anywhere else in the world, lenders will look closely at your previous credit history. That means any cards that have been maxed out or used irresponsibly will colour your chances of being accepted. If you can manage to keep your debts down to 30% of your overall limit, agencies and lenders will consider this responsible financial behaviour. That means you’re more likely to be offered a better interest rate and a potentially larger amount. This is not a hard and fast rule and should be treated more of a recommendation, but many financial experts recommend this tactic for a slow and steady increase in your credit rating over time.

Pay Attention to Online Activity

More data is gathered about potential borrowers than ever before and whenever you search for a loan, credit card or other form of lending, it can potentially affect your credit score. Rather than searching for lending options in the Philippines on a regular basis, consider allocating specific days and times when you will do this. Essentially, if the credit agencies see that you have been searching for loans regularly for the past few months, this may give them a reason to believe you are in financial trouble. That means you can expect a higher interest rate and significantly reduced chances of acceptance.

Develop Good Financial Habits Early in Life

As soon as you can, apply for a credit card and begin using it. The rate will probably be very high but providing you can clear the balance each month, this will improve eventually. Young people and graduates can often struggle to get credit, but they can drastically increase their chances of being approved for something like a personal loan by demonstrating they can borrow responsibly. A savings account can also be a good option, even if you don’t have that much in it. This shows you are capable of investing some of your income and will reflect very well on your money habits overall.

Apply for different types of finance

If you can demonstrate that you can pay off both a credit card and a personal loan comfortably, this will signal to lenders that you are high value customer. Successfully paying off two types of credit simultaneously is one of the best ways to boost your credit rating over a short space of time.

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