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Being constantly on the move as an expat has probably gotten yourself used to identifying your to-do list before coming to your new country of assignment. That includes learning how to get your finances set up, especially opening your bank account. So, if it’s your first time to be assigned in a foreign land and that country happens to be the Philippines, then you’ve come to the right page. We’ve broken down the steps for you to follow so you can open your Philippine bank account, as smoothly as possible.
Find the right bank for you
Good news is that your employer may have prepared this for you beforehand. That’s wonderful, as it’s one less task to tick off of your to-do list. But, on the other hand, if you’re left to do this on your own, or you just prefer to create a separate bank account for yourself while living in the country, it’s best to first identify what you’re looking for in a bank. You know that every bank is different from the other, that’s why we suggest you study them and if you have more time in your hands, scrutinize every bank aspect that matters most to you.
Here are some points that you might want to consider during your research phase:
- Accessibility of bank branches or ATM machines- Convenience is one of the most important considerations to ponder on when deciding on the right bank for you. The right questions to ask are, “Is there a branch near my home or workplace?” and “Can I access my money anytime in case of emergency”? If the answers give you a yes, then you can already narrow down your list of banks.
Some major local banks that have several branches in the country are Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Banco De Oro (BDO) and Metrobank. You can also find international banks like HSBC and Deutsche Bank in the city.
- Online or Offline- Does the bank you’re considering have a reliable online banking services? Now that almost everything can be done online, it helps to have a bank that can provide you with internet banking so you can deal with your finances anytime, anywhere, with just your mobile phone.
BPI and BDO have taken advantage of this online service, offering it to their clients. Good thing is that their service is mostly dependable. You may also ask the locals for reviews.
- Banking services at low costs- Of course, you wouldn’t want to be ripped off by your bank. Thus, it’s also best that you ask your banker and understand the terms and conditions for bank services that you may use in the future. May it be withdrawal from an ATM machine or money transfer from your Philippine bank account to your overseas account, money matters, hence, know the fees in advance to avoid any unexpected charges.
Familiarize yourself with the available Philippine banks in the city
Below is a list of some of the local and international banks that can be found in Metro Manila, in no particular order:
- Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)
- Banco De Oro (BDO)
- Land Bank of the Philippines
- Security Bank Corporation
- Standard Chartered Bank
- Bank of Commerce
- The Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation
- Bank of America, N.A.
- JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.
- Deutsche Bank AG
- Union Bank of the Philippines
- Development Bank of the Philippines
- Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC)
Get your documents ready
When you’ve chosen your bank, it’s time for you to prepare the necessary documents. Generally, here is a list of documents you’ll need to bring as a new account holder:
- Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR)- This is the immigrant’s certificate of residence in the Philippines, which you can apply for in the Immigration office and costs for about P3000.00 or USD60.
- Photo ID such as passport or national identity card
- Visa to show how long you’ve been in the Philippines
- Documents that prove your permanent address (i.e. recent utility bills, rental contract, etc.)
- At least two copies of 1” x 1” or 2” x 2” ID picture taken within the last three months from the date of application
- Proof of source of income
- Minimum deposit that varies from bank to bank
Note that the bank personnel may ask you to fill out some application forms for bank documentation purposes. Allot some time for it.
In addition, don’t be shy to ask all the questions you need to ask your banker. This will save you time and help you choose the most fitting bank for you so you can finally open your Philippine bank account.