Opening a Bank Account in the Philippines

Bank Account in the Philippines

The Philippines is undoubtedly one of the best countries to move to. The accommodative nature of the government and citizens alike make it a friendly place while the fair living costs make it a budget-friendly place. However, one of the most challenging things you will have to do is choosing the best bank to open an account with. There are several factors you must consider when selecting a bank to ensure you get the best deals with the lowest charges.

Things to Consider When Opening a Bank Account in the Philippines

Initial Deposit

  • Different banks have different minimum deposit rates when opening the account for the first time, and that is a crucial factor to consider because chances are, the minimum balance will be on the same range. You have to remember that the minimum balance will remain in the account without getting any interest.

Interest Rates

  • Banks usually use their interest rates to try to appeal to customers and beat the competition. Compare the different rates and choose the bank that will benefit you the most. You must weight the interest rates with the other charges to ensure that the overall benefits will be more. You should also factor in other factors such as inflation, which usually affect interest rates.

Account Maintenance Fees

  • Paying attention to the monthly fees is also very important when opening a bank account in the Philippines because some banks don’t charge them, especially when you open a checking account. In such cases, the banks use a lack of monthly fees as incentives for customers to use the same account for different purposes. For instance, if you wanted to open different accounts for your savings and retirement funds, you would be interested in using the same one that doesn’t charge monthly fees. However, you should still be careful to ensure that there are no other hidden charges that the bank uses to compensate for the no-charge policies. There have been cases where a bank doesn’t charge any amount in one area only to increase their rates in another one. You also weigh the advantages and disadvantages of keeping both your checking account and saving account in the same place before you accept such incentives.


  • The ease with which you can access your funds is something you should never ignore when opening a bank account in the Philippines. One of the best ways of increasing accessibility is by having online or mobile access options. This way, you will have access to their funds regardless of what time it is and where you are. Another alternative is ATMs that you access without incurring too many expenses. The machines should also be distributed in different parts of the country to make accessibility easier.


  • Being able to access bank services without having to travel to the physical location of the bank can help increase convenience tremendously. Being able to separate your funds in the same account can also help with convenience. For instance, if you open a savings account with the bank, you should be able to separate your funds into different subcategories, such as money you can use to buy a home and money you’re saving for a vacation. The sub-categorization can also help you control your expenditures and help you achieve your goals easily.

Bank Options

The Philippines has a lot of bank options for foreigners and locals alike. As a foreigner, you may want to check out the international and national banks and leave the small local ones for the citizens. This is because the services offered by these will be more extensive and suitable for your needs regardless of how long you intend to stay in the country. The fact that you’ll be able to access your funds even if you travel back home is another advantage why the international ones are better suited for you. The smaller rural banks can also face closure at any moment and can inconvenience you greatly.

While this shows that the answer to the question “can a foreigner open a bank account in the Philippines?” is yes, you still need to understand the local currency in the Philippines. The Philippine Peso comes in different denominations, such as 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000. The coins are available in 5, 10, 25, and 50 centavos. One peso equals 100 centavos. The banking system, including the international banks, is usually monitored by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, which is commonly known as BSP. You can choose to have your money in a foreign currency or the local one, but either way, when withdrawing, you will need the local currency because local services are only available in pesos.

USA Banks In The Philippines

The list of US banks in the Philippines isn’t very long. Still, there are other international banks with affiliation with US banks available in the country, which makes it easier for you to choose the one that benefits your needs the most. They include:

Bank of America

27th Floor Philamlife Tower, 8767, 1226 Paseo de Roxas, Makati, 1227 Metro Manila, Philippines


Fort and Ester Building Missouri Street Northeast Greenhills San Juan, Metro Manila

JP Morgan Chase Bank

Five/NEO, 31st Street, Taguig, 1634 Metro Manila, Philippines

Wells Fargo Bank

15th Floor, Tower I, Enterprise Center, Ayala Avenue, Makati, 1226 Metro Manila, Philippines

From this list, you can open an account with only one bank, and that is the Citibank. With the main offices in Makati City, this bank has some of the most extensive services and options for foreigners looking to open an account in the Philippines. They have several branches in other parts of the country, such as San Juan City and Cebu City. They also have more ATMs in different sections, including Taguig, Pasay City, and Muntinlupa, among many others. Their ATM has higher withdrawal limits of $3000 or its equivalent in pesos. There are no ATM charges, and you can get your money in dollars or pesos. These are some of the reasons why most foreigners prefer to open accounts with the bank. You can call them or visit their offices to find out more information. The Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase Bank only offer services to corporate organizations, government institutions, and other large institutions.

Additional Tips

You can always use your US credit card at the ATM if you’re undecided about opening a bank account in the Philippines. Most of the ATM’s also allow a maximum limit of 10,000 pesos per withdrawal, but you can withdraw that amount more than twice in one day. The cards allowed include MasterCard, American Express, visa cards, KTCP, UnionPay cards, and NYCE, and in most cases, you’ll have to pay between 200 and 250 pesos as withdrawal charges. It’s therefore advisable that you travel with more than one type of card to increase convenience in- case you get to an ATM that doesn’t accept all of them.

Although direct deposits are available in the banks in the Philippines, you can still deposit from your US account using any of the available online transfer options once you set up the account. This option is ideal if you want to deposit a check.  Checks that are given out into the US can take up to one month to clear in the Philippines, and that can inconvenience you greatly.

Other International Banks

Other than the above US banks, there are also many other international banks you can consider opening an account with. Some of them include Bangkok Bank Public, First Commercial Branch, Shinhan Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank, among many others. When it comes to national banks, you can select one that has a wide variety of services you’ll be able to enjoy. They include:

BDO bank: this is one of the national banks with the largest assets in the Philippines. They have multiple branches and ATMs distributed across the Philippines, and they also have a wide array of services ranging from deposits to consolidation of resources.

Metro bank: with over 230 ATM machines in the Philippines, this is one of the banks that will give you easy access to your money should you choose to open an account with them. It has some of its branches located internationally and has been around since 1970.

Security Bank Corporation:

Philippine National Bank: this bank is considered to be the largest private bank in the Philippines with universal services, but they mostly provide services for institutions. They also have multiple financial products you can find beneficial.

Union Bank of the Philippines: if you’re looking for a local bank with a wide range of online services, then consider the Union Bank. They were the first bank in the country to have an online presence and have continued to make those services easily accessible for their customers. Their online features allow easy transfer with other banks.

How to Open a Bank Account in the Philippines

Opening a bank account in the Philippines has to be done in person because you will have to present the required documents, which may differ from every bank. However, some documents are required by every bank. They include an ID card or passport and an Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card, which is mandatory for those who got into the country using non-immigrant visas and have been in the Philippines for more than two months.

Your first step should, therefore, be to apply for the ACR I-Card at the bureau of Immigration. This card proves that you’re in the country legally. But there have also been some cases where banks ask for an Immigrant Certificate of registration instead. You will be expected to provide several documents which such as a photocopy of the bio page of your passport, two of your pictures taken on a white background not longer than three months before, and a copy of the Records Section of the Board of Commissioner’s order approving the visa issuance. Remember to carry copies of your payment receipts as well and a filled application form. The cost ranges between $50 to $61.

Once you get the ACR I-Card, you can proceed with your bank application. Apart from this proof of your right to be in the Philippines, you will also need to provide a photographed proof of your identity by providing your passport size pictures and photo ID of your passport or ID card. You will also need to provide proof of address by giving the bank your rental contract or your recent utility bills. The final requirement by the bank will be the minimum deposit amount, which ranges with every bank. Some banks ask for a minimum of 10,000 pesos, which is an equivalent of $255, while others ask for 5,000 pesos.

Some banks will go as far as for reference letters from your previous banks, while others will call the bank you used back at home to confirm that you were a good client or even ask for your bank statements. This mostly happens to those who have been recommended by the bank’s customers. Or those who are opening accounts with bank branches that they already use at home. Local banks may go through more extensive processes because of money laundering laws, so you should confirm the documents they need as part of their requirements before you decide to open an account with them. In cases where the bank follows up on references, it usually takes longer before you get to use your account.

Is it Possible to Open an Account Online?

The stringent measures taken by banks in the Philippines make it impossible to open accounts online. However, you can still increase your convenience by opening the account before you travel. You will have to look for a local bank in the US that has its branches in the Philippines. This is a simpler process because the bank will just transfer the account and shorten the process. Alternatively, you can look for a Philippine bank that as its branches in the US. You may still have to provide the same documents mentioned above, but you will have access to your funds when you get to the Philippines. Opening an account with the bank in your country is also good because opening a bank account in the Philippines is impossible if you’re still a non-resident. It makes it easier for you to start using the account as soon as your residency is confirmed.

How Much to Open HSBC Account in the Philippines

HSBC is one of the banks preferred by many foreigners moving to the Philippines. The bank has multiple account options such as premium and advanced bank accounts that are beneficial to those who want to save for investments and peso accounts that include savings accounts, checking accounts, and time deposits. They also have foreign currency accounts that also include savings and deposit accounts.

Another reason why HSBC is a good alternative is the fact that you can open an account with them while still in the US. You can express your interest online and fill a form, after which their agents call you to request the necessary documents needed for the opening of the account. Some of the benefits you’ll enjoy when you open a peso, or a foreign currency account with them include receiving text notifications whenever a transaction is made on the account. Getting monthly statements, cash-free transactions with their debit card, and amazing interest and exchange rates.
When it comes to how much to open an HSBC account in the Philippines, you will need at least 10,000 pesos. Remember to compare the different service rates as well.

How much does it cost to open a bank account in the Philippines?

“How much does it cost to open a bank account in the Philippines?” is a common question among expats, but there isn’t a specific answer. Different banks have different rates that you can find out about before you open the account. For instance, the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company charge 10,000 pesos for account opening with an additional 2000 pesos for ATM, while BDO charges 5000 pesos for the passbook and 500 pesos for the ATM. This shows that the amount can be as low as 5000 pesos and as high as 100,000 pesos. Make sure you ask your bank about the deposits before you hand over the required documents.

Is the Deposit Insured?

Knowing that your money is safe at the bank you choose to use can help you relax and increase the level of your trust in that bank. This is where insurance comes in. In the united states, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ensures that you’re protected from bank failures if you use any of the banks under their authority.

The body covers different types of accounts including savings accounts, checking accounts and time deposits among others. There is a similar body in the Philippines known as the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation that offers similar protection with the only difference being in the minimum coverage. Your money will be insured up to 500,000 pesos regardless of the amount you have or the number of accounts you have opened.

Opening a bank account in the Philippines is simple due to the availability of multiple options to select from. However, you should consider all the essential factors which include what you intend to use the account for and how close you are to the bank. This will make it easier for you to manage your funds and how well your relationship with the bank will be. Try to some background checks on the bank you’re interested in to find out how the customers are being treated before you forge a relationship with them

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