Banking in the Philippines, Transfers & Access; 1of2

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51 comments

    1. It’s been a while because my account has been open for some time. But I also believe your most recent immigration certification will suffice. In fact, that is actually more accurate as far as your legal status in the country. But they may have changed the rules.

    2. @Bruce Wyatt At BDO, they wanted the ACR card, mandatory.  I don’t know if other branches insist on it.. perhaps another viewer here can comment on that.   ??

    3. I opened mine with BDO using my standard US passport, my ACR Card (only available after 59 days from Immigration), two small photos, driver’s license, local reference with a landline phone # and a $200 USD opening deposit.  No special visa, just the tourist visa stamped in my US passport.

  1. Man your videos are so addictive.  I really appreciate them.

    For Americans I recommend getting a CitiBank account, as CitiBank has many branches in the Philippines.  You can also get a Philippine bank account through CitiBank when you’re there as well.

    1. Based on what CitiBank tells me, you can avoid international money transfer fees by getting one of their CitiBank accounts within the Philippines.  It’s like having a Philippine bank account that is connected to your American bank account, but without money transfer fees.  I haven’t done this yet, as I have yet to move to the Philippines, but this is what they tell me.  You may want to contact CitiBank for more details.

  2. Hoping to find some new upload soon after reading this ” I’ll have new vids out tomorrow, so stay tuned.” Unpacking after my visit to US kinda thing.

  3. In 2008, the Exchange rate was 50 pesos to the dollar.  I would of converted it all to the pesos to avoid losing my money holding US dollars………especially with the FED continually printing them up…

  4. most banks will open an OFW account for you with only 2 id’s (passport and drivers licence) i have an account with BPI London and  BPI account in san fernando La Union. all my pensions go to BPi london then with Internet Banking i send amount to BPI phils at a very low cost and at the best ex/rate. exchanging cash at malls is crazy because they are robbers just waiting for forigners. 

  5. Your bank preference is as per need or experience. For the locals, they would prefer a bank that do not charge fees when you deposit in the same bank like BDO. BPI does not charge you fees like that. for me I still prefer BPI, even there’s a lag time in sending money for overseas remittance, well in some tie ups do not have lag time (I send the money at night) after a night’s sleep the next morning it will be there. Another is, BDO as per my experience do not have the best customer service they tend to place tellers who look down from head to feet for some ordinary people it is disrespectful, BPI employees seemed more grounded and humble in customer services. and by the way, BDO pirated a lot of BPI Manager’s during their push to make it as competitive as possible. As for having a loan, BPI has lower interest but stricter policy which sometimes irked applicants but its understandable. BDO will grant your loan without so much hassle which is a good thiing for those screened out by BPI. At the end of these ups and downs between the two, it still depends on your preference and presence of the bank near in your area. And by the way, I used to work long time ago with BPI (not being bias).

  6. I’m retiring to Imus Cavite in February from the US and Citibank makes it so easy to transfer money. If you open an account in the US you can transfer money to Citibank Manila free and it’s immediately available.

    1. @Charles Harrison i’ve not used a travel agency except once for a return flight from cebu. i set up my own tickets online either through priceline.com, cheapoair.com or travelocity.com. if it is your first trip to just kinda get a feel for the area, i’d say 2-3 weeks and visit at least cebu and bohol. i also recommend landing in cebu, avoid the manila airport.. it’s a madhouse, rated as one of the worst in the world. the cebu/mactan airport is much better, organized.

  7. Today I had went into both BDO and BPI banks and was told I couldn’t open an account with them because my ACR card says Tourist. Are you here on a Tourist or something else? Thanks.

    1. @LifeBeyondTheSea – Philippines The second BDO I went too seemed like they were going to let me open an account but said they had to call in to get me approved which was then denied stating the tourist status. Also when I first came in she said something about having to be here six months? I’m in my third month. May also have something to do with it?  the first BDO and the BPI both said it was their policy to not open accounts to tourists. I’ll try again later on when I’m not located in Manila area. You may have just got lucky 🙂 Thanks.

    2. @agiftedcurse i looked at my ACR card, and mine also says, ‘TOURIST’ on it. one thing i’ve noticed about banking in the PH is the lack of uniformity from one branch to another. when i opened my account on bohol, they would not accept a personal reference from cebu. but they did accept my ACR card with the Tourist label to open the account. i can only suggest trying another branch. : /

  8. My American co worker inquier to open a BPI account IN Bacolod city but he was told he need a filipino co account holder or have some business partner. What is exact criteria

  9. Great info Henry; one thing possible for people traveling there temporarily, there are branches of some of those banks in cities here,  that have a large Filipino population. I was able to open a prepaid account here through BPI, deposit money here, and the atm card could be used at any atm in the phils regardless of bank. Always good advice to not carry a large amount with you, and just try to stay out of the seedy areas. Sorry to say, already there have been 4 murders here in Jacksonville since New Years; it happens everywhere. We used Exchange in Robinson mall while in Dumaguete; highest rate I saw; like 48 in October; nice mall, its really safe there. I don’t mind being searched by armed guards at almost every door at stores there. I stayed at Microtel UP also, they had 6 armed guards; why don’t they do that in USA??? I don’t know.  tc  HNY

  10. Welcome back, Reekay! For me, as a permanent resident, I prefer having both a USD and PHP account, with my Social Security pension going into the USD account, then transferring it into Pesos for everyday spending at the best possible rate. Also, If you receive your funds this way (by direct deposit or wire), you can walk across the mall from the Forex to the Bank, without ever going outside! BTW – BPI also has online banking. 😉 Another great video – THANKS!
    Todd.P

  11. If coming from the UK you can get a Halifax Bank (HBOS) Clarity Credit card which allows fee free purchases at a reasonable exchange rate. Be prepared to show your passport when making a purchase. I found that all supermarkets accepted this card.

    To move “cash” to the Philippines I use AZIMO.Com. They will do a transfer over the internet from your UK bank or creditcard to either a Philippines bank or any of the numerous pawnshops. They charge £3 minimum and £15 maximum. I think the maximum they will transfer in one transaction is £15,000. Again be prepared with your passport when collecting the money. You do not have to collect the money at a particular branch of the pawnshop chain. Just turn up at any branch with your transfer number and passport. They don’t work at weekends or bank holidays and take about an hour to do the transfer. They email you with the transfer number when the money is ready for pick up. If you use a creditcard rather than a debitcard for the transfer there is an additional small fee.

  12. Great video as always, thank you. Do banks require that you have a fixed address? If you change location every 3 months or so in the Philippines or change apartments frequently and have different addresses all the time, how do you do with the bank?

    1. my bank, BDO, only wanted an address on that island and a reference who lived on that island (Bohol, at the time.) with that and my ACR card, i had my account. how often i move after that doesn’t matter since i get my statements and balance online.

  13. When I was down for a visit in August of 2017 the best exchange rate I saw was out at the airport I flew in the Manila on a Saturday night then flew out Sunday morning with my fiance down to Iloilo City so I went over to the money exchange and cashed in a thousand US dollars got 50000 pesos and handed it to her I thought her head was going to explode lol I got lectured the entire flight down on how you don’t do that in the Philippines haha luckily nothing happened to us

  14. I’m a foreigner still living in my country. I have a baby in Negros Occidental, Philippines which I support through Western Union on a monthly basis. I intend to retire in The Philippines someday.

    Can I open a bank account in the Philippines while I’m still a foreigner and can I keep depositing money in it until my retirement?

    Can I open this account on my son’s behalf even if he’s still underaged?

    It would be great to make it an investment account that will gain some interest.

    I’m afraid to live in the Philippines without any income.

    Thanking you kindly and in advance.

    1. in order to open a PH bank account, it needs to be in your name and you will need an ACR card. an ACR immigration card can be applied for at your 59th day of stay in the PH.

  15. I would personally suggest that folks entering the Philippines for short term vacation or long term stay bring a whole lot more than $600 USD and a whole lot more than $1,000 USD…In order to open a bank account here you need an ACR Card which is issued by the Philippine Immigration Dept (Tourist Visa)…You can not get an ACR card until AFTER you’ve been here for 59 days (you get that when you apply for your 2nd Tourist Visa Extension ~I’m unsure about 13A Marriage Visa holders or those that have other types of visas)…There may be a few (very few) exceptions to this rule but it is standard operating procedure that banks are required to see the ACR card and Passport from the Tourist before opening up a bank account to a foreigner…Its been that way for many years now…

    Before you leave home call your banks and tell them where you are going (if you plan on using your credit card and/or debit card here) so they can put an “OK alert” on it and allow the charges/withdrawls to go through while your here ~ If you move here permanently you may have to ring them quarterly or semi annually to renew the “OK Alert” on the cards ~ I had a bank close down one of my CC accounts as they wren’t comfortable about the real possibility of fraudulent charges coming from here…Make sure your pin codes are up to date and functioning…If you’re moving here (as I did) I left my bank accounts back in the USA open and brought a big old stack of checks…I bank with BPI for several reasons but mainly because they are one of the most stable in the country (BDO also) and I can conduct business at ANY branch (most banks here require you to bank at the office in which you opened said account)…Also, if you rely (or are going to rely) on credit card/debit cards from USA based institutions make sure you have a plan in place when those cards hit their expiration dates…I’ve heard some horror stories about US financial institutions not wanting to send cards to a foreign country…Check with your bank(s) before pulling up stakes and moving here as this scenario could affect you in a bad way…

    I opened a USD dollar account (the minimum for a dollar account is usually $500 from the research I’ve done here on the ground/Peso ATM account is far less) ~ When I make a withdrawl I also make a check deposit for the same amount ( $500 out/ $500 in ~ You do not want to be making multiple trips per month to banks here…Wait times can be well in excess of an hour at times so try to take care of all your banking needs in one visit per month if you can)…I’ve never seen a 6 week delay in clearing time but maybe there are banks that hold funds for that long ~ Most banks have a disclaimer regarding clearing time of foreign checks deposited to them…Generally speaking it runs about half of whats being stated here in the video however they are all probably a little different…Usually its about 21 to 25 business days before the check clears and your funds are available to withdraw…So you better have funds available to use while waiting for your ACR card from Immigration and check clearing times if you go that route that I (and many others) did…There are many ways to do it here for certain so you may have your own options and ways of doing things (best is to have several in my humble opinion)…

    Many banks had security breaches this past year (2017) that was associated PRIMARILY with Peso ATM Online Banking accounts…Millions of account holders across the country saw their balances hacked, breached, stolen. temporarily disappear, whatever…How it ever was 100% rectified will never know ~ I assume it was but we all know what assume means…I do not use ATM’s here nor do I use online banking ~ never have, never will BUT I do have the ability to use my USA based debit card to get emergency cash in the event of a major emergency if desperately needed…I just do not believe the network is safe but that’s just me…Many use it frequently and enjoy its convenience ~ Just not for me… Also, if you keep a balance of $10,000 USD or more in your bank account here that triggers the US IRS to shine its spot light on you and your account and you will be required to file paper work and submit it to the IRS (I believe it is called a FACTA form so just a word to the wise about that)…Other than that good info here…

  16. For credit card transactions I’ve been using PayPal with a little hack to make transfers instant and free. For places that accept credit cards it’s perfect … And, I get an email the instant a charge to the card is made telling me the amount charged in [in my case] US Dollars. Their exchange rate has been very favorable.

    One thing I haven’t hacked very well yet is getting cash to myself which so far always has been costing me too much….

    I was under the impression that I need an ACR-I card before I can open a bank account in the Philippines. True, or no?

    1. i do the same, i use my debit card as a ‘credit’ transaction. and i get a 1% cash-back reward at the end of the month. for moving cash easily/cheaply, i use my Fidelity money-management debit card, since fidelity will reimburse all overseas ATM fees. schwaab does the same thing and some credit unions also. this way you just pull the money at the ATM and not have to pay the 250p/transaction fee.

  17. The thing to is for a direct deposit dollar account it will cost you $5.00 a month service fee! Also I disagree with the assessment of not utilizing local money changers, just be smart about it! the thing is they will give a way better rate than the bank or the mall were talking upwards of 50 centavos. I have lived here for 16 years never a problem! utilizing an atm with your foreign card is going to cost you from both banks then international fee than a cut in the exchange rate if you do use them take out the maximum amount you will pay the same for whatever you withdraw! a dollar direct deposit is the best way! I have both regular dollar account and DD accounts plus peso accounts remember some accounts do not have fees and some you must maintain a certain balance. checks 31days to clear!!

  18. Henry
    I just found out that my bank doesn’t do transfers but i can use my debit card for withdrawals up to $1000 a day with a 3% fee..so my question is Why do i need to set up a foreign bank account at all?

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