Money transfer options in the Philippines

Transfer Money
Updated 2023-07-19 07:28

The old system of transferring money from your bank in your home country to the Philippines and hoping for the best is long gone! The good news for you (and your finances) is that in this digital age, money can be transferred quickly and more cost-effectively to the Philippines from your home country and vice versa.

In the past, with currency conversion fees, time delays and red tape, traditional bank transfers charged upwards to 5-10%. With the introduction of money wallets such as WISE, Revolut or cryptocurrencies, there are now many alternatives to the traditional high street bank options available on your phone!

Western Union is still very popular and is available on every ‘high street' in major towns and cities in the Philippines for international money transfers.  In this article, we shall explore the options available to expats in the Philippines.

Using Western Union in the Philippines

Western Union is the world's largest and one of the oldest international money transfer service providers. Western Union provides international money transfer services in 200 countries, and the Philippines is no exception.

You can pay for your transfer in cash (at agent locations), use a debit or credit card, or wire transfer or via bank account. The recipient can choose to receive the money in their bank account or pick up the money in-person from the closest Western Union location in the Philippines or get it deposited in their Western Union mobile wallet. The transfer limit in the Philippines varies depending on your transaction history and how you send the money.

Western Union fees and exchange rates

Western Union fees are not fixed. The fees are determined by many factors, such as the changing rate they charge in the Philippines, how the money is received, the amount of money transferred, and how you pay for the transfer. For example, bank transfers are cheaper than sending cash.

Using WISE in the Philippines

The ever-increasingly popular WISE (TransferWise) account is a universal way to send/ receive money internationally.

TransferWise is a relatively new way to move your money around the world.  With TransferWise, the expat should find that the fees are very competitive and can save money as compared to the more traditional methods.  Please note that WISE is an online platform only.

It's free to create an account with Wise, and the recipient doesn't need to use Wise for you to send money to them. The money can be sent electronically from WISE and can reach most big national banks in the Philippines, plus can reach the many local online money wallets. The sender can sign up as an individual, and, if they have a business, they can add their business to the Wise account.

Using REVOLUT in the Philippines

Another useful money wallet for expats is Revolut which provides users with a mobile app that allows them to open accounts, transfer money, pay bills, and exchange currencies. Popular amongst European expats, Revolut is very useful and can be used effectively in the Philippines.

One of the key features of Revolut and its attractiveness to expats in the Philippines is its ability to offer multi-currency wallets. Although it does not offer a wallet in Philippine Pesos yet, there are options for USD, AED, Euro and GBP.

Revolut is a great option for anyone who needs to transfer money quickly and easily from abroad to the Philippines.  Whether you want to send money to friends or family members overseas or simply need an easier way to manage your finances while living in the Philippines, Revolut is most certainly an option. 

Please note that Revolut can transfer to national Philippine banks but cannot transfer to smaller Philippine money wallets.

Using Cryptocurrency in the Philippines

Cryptocurrency has recently taken the financial world by storm, and the Philippines is no stranger to this digital currency. ‘Crypto' allows people to buy, sell or trade the ‘coins' securely and without the need for a central authority, such as a government or financial institutions.

As the first cryptocurrency ever created, Bitcoin (BTC) introduced blockchain technology to the world back in 2009, and BTC has since reached a price of US$25,590.83 in June 2023. Bitcoin is still, however, a highly volatile asset capable of highs and lows in a single day. Before you buy Bitcoin, make sure you understand the regulatory and tax status in the Philippines.

Using a conversion platform, such as Binance or Coinbase, cryptocurrency is another option to transfer funds internationally.

The three main ways of sending money internationally with crypto include:

  1. Pay a merchant who accepts crypto payments.

  2. Make a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment from your wallet directly to another wallet.

  3. Use a crypto debit card to convert crypto to cash.

Please be aware the crypto can be volatile and prices can fluctuate quickly. Crypto is an option for expats with expertise in this field and time to study the market.

Useful links:

Western Union






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