How To Pay MERALCO bill using your Credit Card

We have a house in Manila but only a caretaker lives there. Someone goes to see her (either me, my parents or my sister) once a month to give her her salary and some groceries but there's no telling when that happens because our collective schedules are very erratic. There's even a chance when no one gets to go because there's too much going on at home/store or (and this sounds bad) we forget. That's why being able to view our MERALCO and MAYNILAD bills online is a massive convenience. There's little risk of not paying them before the due date because as soon as it's generated, I get an e-mail that tells me how much we need to pay and when  they are due. No need to go to Manila at all.

Before, I used to pay them at the Robinson's Business Center 5 minutes away from where I live. But I'm a lazy git, and I wanted to cut the step where I would go out of the house just for that. I enrolled our MERALCO and MAYNILAD bills to my BPI Express Online account so I could just pay them online without having to wear a bra (or something). That was cute until I realised I keep paying for them bills out of my own savings account but I don't get reimbursed. Boo. (We have a complicated arrangement at home; don't judge.)

Because I'm the one who created, enrolled, and monitors (most of) our online banking accounts, I remembered seeing from the many times I've clicked and right clicked the many links on banking websites that some institutions allow bill payments using credit cards as long as your card has enough credit to cover for it. And since the business pays for my credit card bills, I thought - perfect! I'll just charge it! No more having to reimburse expenses — it will just get grouped with other expenses that the business pays for. 😆

Although majority of the credit cards offer an auto-debit scheme where you enroll/link your utility bills to your card, that option is not for me because there's no telling which card I can use to pay for the bills because we use our credit cards a lot for our business and there are times when they do get maxed out so I need to be able to pick and choose which card to pay the bills when I want to (aka One Time Payment). The ones that have allowed me to do that so far are Citibank and BDO.

A quick Google search lead me to this post on how to pay your MERALCO bill using your Citibank credit card. This really helped because the website asks you for your "Account Number" but it's the ATM/Phone Reference No. in your MERALCO bill that you have to put in there. Beats having to call Citibank and ask "what should I put in here?" — especially since they no longer have a toll free number. Cheapskates. Btw, I have that post bookmarked in case I forget - and in my ripe old age of *bleep* my memory retention isn't that good anymore.

As for BDO, the closest post Google led me to was this but the person who wrote this has her paper bill on her hand and  I only get an e-Bill so there was a trial and error with this one re: the Subscriber Account Number/Account Number. 

The website was asking:

For MERALCO, fill out the requested Subscriber Account Number field using the 10-digit Account Number found on the upper left portion of your Meralco Statement of Account.

Taking a cue from Porsche's post, the account number is on the upper left portion portion of your Meralco paper bill. Now, I don't know how it looks like on the paper statement, but on the e-Bill, it looks like this:

"Account Summary for Account number xxxxxxxx-x" — that's 9 digits; 10 characters if you're counting the dash. I put it in anyways on the Subscriber Account Number field because I'm a ding dong even though I know a dash is not a digit. Unsurprisingly, it returned with an error message saying I've entered an invalid Subscriber Account Number and tells me to call their hotline but I didn't want to because I can't run the risk of hogging our (PLDT) landline because that's mainly used for business. 

Here's the fun part. I sent a Direct Message to Meralco's Twitter account asking them what my 10-digit account number is because that's what the BDO website is asking. Their reply was:

"Please input the first eleven (11) digits of your ATM / Phone reference number to your subscriber account number. Thanks."

Nyork. I just said the website was asking for 10 digits, why give me 11? Kaloka.

I put the first TEN digits of my ATM/Phone Reference number anyway for the LOLs and it still came up as an error. 

@Meralco suggested this next:

"KIndly try this, your Subscriber Account Number is 0 0xxxxxxxx x and your Meralco Reference number is xxxx x. Thank you"

So instead of giving me an 11 digit account number when I had asked for 10, I have to add 5 more? Kaloka again.

Anyway — since I noticed that the 9-digit account number (10 if you count the dash, but don't 😆) was in the beginning of the ATM/Phone Reference number, I just put in a zero before to make it 10 digits and it worked. Ha ha ganon lang pala yun. 

E.G. if your MERALCO Account Number is 78721367-3 — put in 0787213673 as your Subscriber Account Number when paying via BDO.

So if you're like me and find yourself asking:

"How can I pay for my MERALCO bill using my BDO Credit Card but I don't have my paper bill with me I only got the email notification from MERALCO what do I put in as my 10 digit account number?"

The answer is: Remove the dash, and add a zero BEFORE to make it TEN.

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