How To Access Your Money From the Philippines.
(Last updated 25 December 2016)
I’ve published a few articles on this subject in the past, it’s always an item of interest. Perhaps my best article is here:
This also goes hand in hand with a recent article about the dangers and inconvenience of trying to get your Social Security payments while living in the Philippines:
So What Do I recommend?
- 0.1 So What Do I recommend?
- 0.2 Advantages
- 0.3 Disadvantages
- 0.4 Non-Bank Or Credit Union Methods.
- 0.5 Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account
- 1 What are the fees and minimums?
- 2 What do I get with this account?
- 2.1 Western Union Netspend Master Card service.
- 2.2 My Closing Thoughts
- 2.3 No one knows anything
- 2.4 About twenty years ago, Permission Marketing was getting ready to go to the publisher. We sent a copy to Jack Trout, co-author of the classic book, Positioning.
- 2.5 Surprisingly, Jack replied with a long letter, letting us know that my book was based on a fundamentally flawed idea, that it would never work and we’d be better off not even publishing it. Not something most authors want to hear.
- 2.6 The good news was that the book went on to become a bestseller and, even better, it transformed the way many organizations engaged with email and with consumers. It led to a market that’s now worth billions of dollars a year.
- 2.7 The lesson from Jack’s note was simple: Since no one is sure, since no one can guarantee that it’s going to work (or not), all we can do is our best work. All we can do is share our ideas with generosity, speak up and shine a light.
- 2.8 Critics can share their experience and they can point out what doesn’t match their expectations.
- 2.9 But it’s up to you, the person on the hook, to choose to care enough to share your project and your vision of possibility, regardless.
- 2.10 Everyone has an opinion, but no one has a guarantee.
- 3 Related Posts
- 4 Share this Article:
My current method hasn’t changed in 10 years from the simple procedure I outline in the article above.
- Every month I write a check on my US Federal Credit Union account, payable to me.
- I go to my Philippine BDO bank and deposit that check in my BDO US Dollar account. Free, no charges at all.
- 25 banking days later that money is available for me in cash, or converted at a decent bank rate in Pesos.
- Next month? Wash, rinse, repeat.
- Works For Me.
- It’s essentially free. There are no fees from my US credit union for writing a check, and there are no fees from my Philippine bank (BDO) to deposit a check. (Each check actually costs about $0.04 cents if you do the math, I brought 400 checks with me in 2006, I’ve used about 120 so far (one check per month), so I still have a healthy supply.
- I get the best exchange rate I can find when I need pesos from my dollars in the bank. I withdraw US dollars and normally I change them to pesos right there at the counter in the bank … BDO always gives me a decent rate. If I want to shop around for a better rate from other money changers, I just take my withdrawal in actual paper dollars and go to another vendor.
- No carrying around huge lumps of cash. Normally I change the dollars to pesos and deposit the pesos in my peso savings account,all in one transaction, then I can use my BDO ATM card through the month to draw out only the pesos I actually feel I need to carry. Most of my Philippine bills … electricity, satellite TV, etc. with my free online BDO Internet banking. Having a lot of cash in your pocket or stored in your home is not safe, in my view, in the USA or in the Philippines, so I avoid it.
- It’s simple. It may sound complicated at first reading, but really in a normal month I write one check, spend a few minutes at the counter in the bank just once, and pay a few bills when they come in, online. The 1st of this month I went to the bank, deposited a check, withdrew some dollars, had them changed to pesos and deposited in my savings account and said, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” to the smiling teller. “See you next month” were my parting words to her, and I meant them … I’ll next go to the bank January 3rd or so when the holidays are over. Any bills I have in the USA I pay from my Credit Union online banking site. also for free. It doesn’t get much simpler, folks.
- Philippine banks normally hold deposited check funds for 25 (or so) banking days. This is the “800 pound gorilla in the room” for some folks. If you are living completely “paycheck to paycheck”, this can cause problems. IMO you also have much bigger problems than the approximately 1 month wait to access the money you have deposited. You really should read this article and take steps to get yourself out of this pickle you are in, because “paycheck to paycheck” s NOT a safe way to live here in the Philippines. What if you step wrong off a curb and break your ankle, get run over by a bus or your child comes down with dengue fever, etc.? You need some spare cash, no matter where you live. Food for thought: Money Statistics That May Scare You
- You do need a US Credit Union or Bank account. If you broke all ties with the USA and have no bank account, opening one from overseas can be a big issue. No commercial US banks that I know of will allow you to open an account without a personal visit to the bank. But many Federal Credit Unions will, and I strongly recommend you use an FCU rather than a crooked US bank. Here are the top 50, many will allow new accounts to be opened online (Hint, try Navy Federal, Pentagon Federal and if you can’t qualify to join them, go down the list. It can be done. Credit Union list here: US Banks More Crooked Than Ever
- If you need emergency funds from your US banking facility and you choose to use that facility’s ATM card, you may incur some health fees and a lousy dollar to peso exchange rate.
Non-Bank Or Credit Union Methods.
These are some methods readers here on PhilFAQS, (where we focus on practical living in the Philippines) are using, successfully. I know for sure these methods work, but as with any other money/banking issues, I don’t guarantee your results and I have no business relationship with any of these outfits, so do your own due diligence.
Most of what I know here about how to live in the Philippines I have learned from other readers who also ar living in the Philippines. Thanks to all of you over the years.
One reader (who wishes to remain anonymous, let’s call him Bill) lives near me in Angeles City. Unlike many of who live mainly of pension or disability monthly checks, Bill is a bit of a rarity. He is still employed by a US company and gets a regular bi-weekly paycheck. Since all his work is online, his company doesn’t much care where he lives, so he chose to come live here in the Philippines.
How does Bill handle his paychecks? Very cleverly I must say. He opened a Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account in the USA and he has his regular paychecks direct deposited to his Charles Schwab account. (And yes you can alos have civil service, Social security and military retired pay monthly annuity checks direct deposited there too)
You can open the Charles Schwab account online, no need to visit the USA, no minimum deposit to open. The benefits are pretty impressive:
What are the fees and minimums?
- Monthly service fees: $0
- Account minimum: $0
What do I get with this account?
Unlimited fee rebates from any ATM worldwide1
A 0.10% APY variable interest rate on any balance2
Free bill pay on Schwab.com and Schwab Mobile
Apply for Schwab Mobile Deposit™ to deposit checks from anywhere
Free standard checks and a Visa® Platinum debit card once the account has been funded.
FDIC insurance up to $250,0003
A linked Schwab One® brokerage account
Link to Apple Pay™ to make purchases with your iPhone® 6 or iPhone 6 Plus Learn more.
A Note For The Investment (Stock Market) Averse (Like me 😉 : This service requires a free, no fee linkedCharles Schwab trading account, excellent if you have stocks or securities in your portfolio. BUT you do not need to buy anything or invest in any stocks or such if you don’t wish to.
So all in all a great find and useful recommendation from “Bill”. Thanks Bill.
Reader Joseph turned me on to this (Thanks Joseph)
I use a Western Union Netspend debit/mastercard for cash and emergencies when I travel overseas. I have sent money to myself to the Philippines and Canada when I got low on cash for 5 dollars a transaction. It’s great, because you can sent up direct deposit and/or allotment to the debit/mastercard account with no fees if you deposit at least 250 dollars every 2 weeks or 500 dollars a month.
Basically this program fromWestern Union allows you to have your Social Security, Civil Service, Military Retirement and other monthly entitlements directly deposited with Western Union. You can then use the Debit card/Mastercard issued with the account to draw money from an ATM anywhere in the world when you need it.
You can also have Western Union cash remittances sent to any W-U location in the Philippines. Very useful, since no matter where you live in the Philippine sit’s hard to get out of sight of a Western Union sign 😉
There are some fees for some services but compared to what you have to pay for bank to bank wire transfers the W-U fees seem very reasonable.
My Closing Thoughts
I often offer advice here on PhilFAQS. I often have strong opinions that “my way” is, in fact the “best way”. But it’s advice only. The best “way” for you is “your way”, so go forth and be happy. Thanks to my colleague Seth Godin for putting this thought into powerful words.
by Seth Godin
The good news was that the book went on to become a bestseller and, even better, it transformed the way many organizations engaged with email and with consumers. It led to a market that’s now worth billions of dollars a year.
Everyone has an opinion, but no one has a guarantee.
Even when it comes to How To Access Your Money From the Philippines.