What is the best prepaid debit card for the philippines?

Hi everyone, I'm new to this site. Thanks in advance for any help. I'm planning to move to Dumaguete City and would like to know what debit card if any I can bring with me?
i am retired on pension and have no bank account just a debit card where my social security check goes to. it's a matercard debit card.
Also any tips on if i should get filipino bank or not. I don't want to bring cash but i hear you need cash in most places there but wouldn't mind using atms in safe areas
Thank you for any tips suggestions
Everyone have a great day!


Hi Bill,

What is the best one?  I would assume you are speaking of cards available in the Philippines as opposed to the one you already have. If that is the case, I cannot speak from experience with the cards available in the Philippines and using yours at local ATM machines to access your cash would most likely be no different that using one issued by a local bank or business, excluding the fees that may be associated with using yours in a local banks ATM as well as the banks conversion rates from dollars to pesos as your money will be dispensed in pesos. 

With the new FACTA reporting rules in place in the Philippines, opening bank accounts as a foreigner has become a little tougher with some banks simply denying the request by a foreigner here on a tourist visa the ability to open and account, though if you walk in wanting to deposit 50K US they may welcome you with open arms and forget the rules.
Without a resident visa and a ACR-I card or an SRRV visa (special resident retirees visa, requires a deposit), you may have trouble opening an account.

The following is a link to a list of pre paid debit cards available in the Philippines, if you want to know more I would contact the bank with questions regarding opening an account and obtaining a pre paid card. BPI may be a good place to start as they have ATM's throughout the Philippines and offer a pre paid card.

Pre-paid cards:
http://www.newsgra.ph/1716/list-of-prep … -get-them/

If you do decide to simply use your own card using local ATM machines, using the ones in a bank branch may offer a little more security with regard to you pin and or password when making withdrawals.  Caution helps, you do not want to be penniless in the Philippines.

Hope this is of some help to you.

Best wishes,


good morning...i also live in dumaguete ...out in dauin....i have my ssa go direct  to my BPI bank so there is no fees...its been good the last 7 years....i also had direct deposit also in thailand...i am working here in india now and my filipina gf is here with me...if you need any help please contact me..my gf will fly home next week and she could help you if you need it....

i use mastercard pre-paid ,my pension go's on my belgium acount and i transfere what i need to my pre-paid mastercard .this i find to be safe and easy ,many ATM's acept this card and as far as i know all supermarkets acept it to .

greets Dirk

Hello Joe, I also started receiving my SS direct deposit at BPI in April of this  year. I started the process when i landed in Manila  from the states and went to the US Embassy to pick up the proper paper work to transfer my SS from my American bank to BPI. They partially filled in the blanks as to what bank i chose and told me to have BPI finish the document and send it complete back to the US Embassy. A few weeks later i received a call from the SS branch in the Embassy confirming that was my request. The following month my funds started showing up at BPI to my account  on the 3rd of every month. The Philippines does not have an agreement with our SS system so i see my funds are transferred to the US Bank of Mellon and onto BPI. You need to open a dollar account with a 100.00  US dollar balance. BPI  charges me 6.50 to wire to my Phil. account and 5.00 monthly service fee. You have to pick up the funds in person monthly and SS will not allow them to give you a debit card. I figure in case your dead they want to see you in person verses your gf or some criminal using an atm card to get your funds. I find it so much cheaper to do it this way. When i used my US bank atm card to with draw my SS , the atm's here only allow 10,000 peso draws and charge 200 pesos per draw. Plus my US bank charged me a similar fee for using my atm card. The fees totaled around 60,00 dollars per month, big rip off! Now it only costs me  only 11.50 per month. I enjoy the extra money to my benefit , not some fat bankers pocket.

Hi Dirk
Can you tell me what sort of prepaid MasterCard allows you to make a deposit directly from an overseas account? And is there a limit to how much you can deposit at one time?

Hi Rob,

i'm belgian so i use belgian bank prepaid masterCard ,have no limits on it,big advantige is wen i use it for shopping ,i have no costs charged on it .i also use my regular bank card  to take money from ATM as the costs are the same as for the mastercard,most ATM have 10000 peso limit to redraw except BPI were you can take 20 000 at a time ,and the charche is the same so BPI is cheaper .
for on line shopping i use the prepaid .

greets Dirk

Thanks for your response Dirk. I thought you might have had a Filipino prepaid card like Paymaya, Smart Mastercard or BDO Cash card that could be topped up from an overseas account. No such luck I guess.
I do however have an Australian  CitiBank Visa card that allows free withdrawals from CitiBank ATMs, unfortunately they are all located in Manila, at  the Peninsula Hotel, Manila Polo club and SM Aura BGC only.

i also have an BDO acount were i transfer money from belgium to BDO a  transfer takes 2 days forgot to mension that one hahaha
wen transfering large amounts it will take up to a week as there is money laundring investigation ,i usualy trans around 100K peso to 250K peso , so that takes only 2 days
greets   Dirk

It would help to know what a "large" amount is.


100k PHP would be about 2k US

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