Best bank to use

Wondering what's the best bank to use when going to the Philippines. I'm looking for a good American bank that is friendly with Filipino banks as far as money transfers and no fees when using your ATM card.

Tariq1983 :

Wondering what's the best bank to use when going to the Philippines. I'm looking for a good American bank that is friendly with Filipino banks as far as money transfers and no fees when using your ATM card.

In most cases you will not be able to open an account at a bank in the Philippines, there are exceptions that someone on this forum can explain. I use Citibank in the states, but wanted to open a Citibank here but the Citibank in the Philippines told me they cannot link the accounts for transfers, so didn't bother. (Would have open the account in my wife's name since our account in the states was a joint account.)

You can use your US debit card at an ATM here but will pay a  fee. Most ATM's limit 10,000 php per transactions, but you could do multiple transactions. (Citibank 15,000 php but very few Citibank ATM's.

After you are here after 6 months you can get a acr-1 card, then open an account. With this account you will be able to transfer money online with many firms like Western Union, but you will pay a fee.

Exactly.  Difficult to get bank accounts without an ACR card.  In my case, I am getting an SRRV visa so they directed me to a bank (Bank of Commerce) to do my SRRV deposit.  I was allowed to open a USD account and a PHP account and get a debit card.  Unfortunately,  There are not many BOC branches around.   I can move to a different bank later.
It seems like many of the foreign banks here are only in Manila and usually have a large balance requirement.  There may be exceptions that I am no aware of.

W9XR :
Tariq1983 :

Wondering what's the best bank to use when going to the Philippines. I'm looking for a good American bank that is friendly with Filipino banks as far as money transfers and no fees when using your ATM card.

After you are here after 6 months you can get a acr-1 card, then open an account. With this account you will be able to transfer money online with many firms like Western Union, but you will pay a fee.

One of the requirements of BPI is an ACR1 card  (Not tourist class)

Didn't say if you are coming short or long term. There are banks and or card companies in the USA that refund ATM fees. Maybe someone here can mention them.

Most banks in the RP will require you to have a permanent resident visa like a 13A (married to an RP citizen), along with an ACR-I card.

An SRRV (special resident retiree visa), requires a deposit to secure it which varies with age and income, as well as a one time $1400 processing fee.  One of the benefits of having this type of visa is it allows you (they will assist) to open a bank account and acquire a Philippine driver's license.
https://pra.gov.ph/

Exceptions do exist though. A friend who is here on a tourist visa was able to open an account with a new BDO bank branch.  He had tried other banks and BDO and was turned down, they wanted a permanent visa.
We had just transferred our account to a new BDO branch and asked if a friend here on a tourist visa would be able to open an account, they said yes. Apparently, they were looking for new depositors.
You may try looking for newly opened bank branches.

TeeJay4103 :

Most banks in the RP will require you to have a permanent resident visa like a 13A (married to an RP citizen), along with an ACR-I card.

An SRRV (special resident retiree visa), requires a deposit to secure it which varies with age and income, as well as a one time $1400 processing fee.  One of the benefits of having this type of visa is it allows you (they will assist) to open a bank account and acquire a Philippine driver's license.
https://pra.gov.ph/

Exceptions do exist though. A friend who is here on a tourist visa was able to open an account with a new BDO bank branch.  He had tried other banks and BDO and was turned down, they wanted a permanent visa.
We had just transferred our account to a new BDO branch and asked if a friend here on a tourist visa would be able to open an account, they said yes. Apparently, they were looking for new depositors.
You may try looking for newly opened bank branches.

And if you open a BDO account you will want to do all your banking business at the branch where you opened the account, for other branches will charge you 200 pesos per transaction, even to remove money from your checking or savings account.

TeeJay4103 :

Most banks in the RP will require you to have a permanent resident visa like a 13A (married to an RP citizen), along with an ACR-I card.

An SRRV (special resident retiree visa), requires a deposit to secure it which varies with age and income, as well as a one time $1400 processing fee.  One of the benefits of having this type of visa is it allows you (they will assist) to open a bank account and acquire a Philippine driver's license.
https://pra.gov.ph/

Exceptions do exist though. A friend who is here on a tourist visa was able to open an account with a new BDO bank branch.  He had tried other banks and BDO and was turned down, they wanted a permanent visa.
We had just transferred our account to a new BDO branch and asked if a friend here on a tourist visa would be able to open an account, they said yes. Apparently, they were looking for new depositors.
You may try looking for newly opened bank branches.

I have an account with my wife with BDO here in Ormoc City, which required an ACR-I Card (mine is still a Tourist), proof of a minimum 6 month stay, and I also showed them my Driver's license.

I understand that different branches have different requirements.

In the US, I like USAA, where they refund ATM fees here.  For money transfers, I use TravelWise, which has the best exchange rate.

mugtech :
TeeJay4103 :

Most banks in the RP will require you to have a permanent resident visa like a 13A (married to an RP citizen), along with an ACR-I card.

An SRRV (special resident retiree visa), requires a deposit to secure it which varies with age and income, as well as a one time $1400 processing fee.  One of the benefits of having this type of visa is it allows you (they will assist) to open a bank account and acquire a Philippine driver's license.
https://pra.gov.ph/

Exceptions do exist though. A friend who is here on a tourist visa was able to open an account with a new BDO bank branch.  He had tried other banks and BDO and was turned down, they wanted a permanent visa.
We had just transferred our account to a new BDO branch and asked if a friend here on a tourist visa would be able to open an account, they said yes. Apparently, they were looking for new depositors.
You may try looking for newly opened bank branches.

And if you open a BDO account you will want to do all your banking business at the branch where you opened the account, for other branches will charge you 200 pesos per transaction, even to remove money from your checking or savings account.

It depends on the branch and how well they know you.  We have on occasion used other branches and have never been charged more than 100 pesos for the transaction.  Though locally there are three branches we frequent and they charge us nothing extra.

A link to money transfer businesses for rate comparisons.

https://www.remitrate.com/money-transfer-companies

first time ill be coming 90 days to 6 months.

Just use ATM Card.  Philippines is still pretty much a cash society, so you will be milking the ATM on a regular basis.  Hotels take credit cards, and the larger supermarkets will accept them as well.  But fast food, SariSari stores, gas stations, etc. You have to carry cash.

Charles Schwab and USAA waive ATM fees.  Might want to open an account.

I want to open a USAA checking account but not sure the best address to use to get the ATM card.
For your US bank accounts (USAA, etc), do you use your home address in Philippines? Or do you use a mail forwarding service like PhysicalAddress.com (which recently signed up for)?
I currently have a TIAA Bank checking account with debit card, and the ATM fees are relatively low. Thank you.

Well, under the lockdown, no mail or shipping.  I ordered replacement credit card and ATM Card to my Philippines address from USAA in December, and still have not gotten them.  Maybe if I had used a service, I would have gotten the cards.

moonunit0103 :

Well, under the lockdown, no mail or shipping.  I ordered replacement credit card and ATM Card to my Philippines address from USAA in December, and still have not gotten them.  Maybe if I had used a service, I would have gotten the cards.

When several of my cards reached expiration dates, the new cards were mailed to my re-mailers address and then I had them FedEx'd to me. Also the cards addresses are of that of my re-mail, I did that online.

I would never trust such a sensitive thing as cc to go through the Philippine mail system. Moonunit0103 better keep checking your balances online everyday.

ON A SIDE NOTE: Yesterday I sent my son to a BDO ATM to withdraw 10,000 PHP, the machine spit out one hundred  100 PHP bills. No 1000 or 500's in the ATM machine.

W9XR :

No 1000 or 500's in the ATM machine.

Oh no!!!
..A run on the banks?

:o

What "remailer" do you use?
BTW, many banks will not accept the use of those.  Apparently, they have a list where they check.

AaronAardvark :

What "remailer" do you use?
BTW, many banks will not accept the use of those.  Apparently, they have a list where they check.

I use US Global Mail . . . .I had one bank reject the address, then instead of saying Box # - - - - ,               
I used Apt. - - - -.

They give you a choice of what couriers to use at various prices and services. Also if you order stuff from Walmart, Amazon, Ebay or others, they will repackage and consolidate all of it for $5.

Since I don't have an address in Nevada where I formally lived, I will get a re-mail in Nevada so I can renew my drivers license, hopefully online when it expires.

Tariq besides normal ATM debit card usage (I always take two with me), I also use Wells Fargo to transfer funds directly to my GF's BPI account, for things like rent and expenses.  It's the only US bank I know of that has that. I use it both when I'm in the US and even when when I'm in PI,  to save ATM fees. The exchange rate is about the same as with other services.

I have Bank of Commerce accounts but there are few ATMs.  Across the street there is a BDO ATM which charges P250 and BPI ATM which charges 0.  BOC also charges me 0 for 3rd party banks.

BTW, all kinds of answers here but no one has actually answered the OPs question.  Having been here for just over 3 months, I am not qualified to answer.

Well I answered the first part. Wells Fargo is an American bank and plays well with PI banks. But they charge atm fees. For that some online only banks have fee reimbursement.  Someone mentioned one above. And I have also used Aspiration Bank, they will reimburse up to 4 withdrawals a month.

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