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Citibank ATM fees?


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I'd avise you read some ofthe horror stories about lost atm cards. The Philippines is a bad place to be without access to cash. Some of the advantages of following Mr. Lee's advise by opening a local account include the ability to make withdrawls in person should you lose your card and the advantage of having them return your card the same day should their atm devour it. I also have a Fidelity Card and am not charged ATM fees for withdrawing cash. They do charge a currency translation fee.

 

By far the most economical method is to just write a check to your Phlippine dollar account.

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Thalcoozyo

"May I suggest if you are going to, or do live in the Philippines, that you get yourself local dollar and peso accounts and then write US checks and deposit them into your local dollar account and then you would have to wait the 21 business days for it to clear and then take the cash to a money changer for the best rates. If you are a tourist and do not spend a lot of time in the Philippines, then it is probably better to just use your card at a local Citibank ATM and pay the fees."

 

This is interesting. Maybe I'm dense, but how does this work?

To whom do you make the check payable?

Does this work consistently?

Does the deposit usually "go thru" in about 21 days?

 

Seems to me that this is a low-budget, no-brainer way of maintaining US-mainland bank accounts, and doing away with all the bullshit fees and transaction costs and crappy exchange rates.

 

At what bank(s) will this work? (assuming you have a dollar-account).

 

Thanks much!

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Thalcoozyo I answered it in a pm reply to you but I will now copy and paste my reply here for others to see also so maybe it can help them as well.

 

Hi,

I make my checks out to me and then write for deposit only on the back and the Philippine dollar account number on the check and deposit it into my Philippines dollar account.

 

Time to clear will depend on the bank you are dealing with how quick the check clears but it is consistent as long as there are no holidays in between and I have been doing it for about 16 years. In Citibank Philippines it would take me just 21 days, in BPI it usually takes 21 business says, in Bank of Commerce it takes about 30 days, so ask the bank you are going to do business with and make sure if it is business days or actual days until the check clears. I check online and my US check clears my US bank within a few days and the rest of the time is just float the Philippine banks are taking advantage of using our money but still if you have extra money and can stay ahead a few months, then you can pick the day during the week or month to do the exchange.

 

In BPI I can even do the exchange online from the US or anywhere in the world I happen to be and I have mailed my US checks to the manager of all the banks I had done business with that agree to it and they deposit them into my account and send me an email when they get the check and deposit it, so I then wait the time for it to clear and then with BPI can do an online exchange when I see the rate hit what I feel is a good exchange rate, I did that late last year and was able to get over 44 to one and it has been down since then. I find the middle of the month to usually be the highest exchange rates and Tuesday to Thursdays most often to be the best.

 

If you are in Cebu then the easiest bank I have found to do business with will be Bank of Commerce on Osmena circle across from Robinsons mall, if you wish then go see the lady in charge Mayen or you can call her at (032)253-1951 to 53. My wife and I happen to know her since 2008 and she always takes care of members of this forum and friends I send there. Paul the owner of this forum also knows her. The reason I can highly recommend her is that you can call around for the best rate and then she can make a phone call to her black market money changers and she can actually facilitate the exchange for you without any money changing hands if you so desire, all I do is sign the withdrawal and deposit slips and she takes the dollars out of my account and deposits them into the money changers account and then takes the pesos out of the money changers account and deposits them into my account and it all takes just minutes, or you can withdraw the money and go do it yourself. I have found the exchange rate her money changer offers to be within centavos of the best place in Cebu that I can find and sometimes they will meet a better price we found at another place but if within centavos why bother.

 

Also you can have a money changer of your own come to the bank if the money you are changing is large enough, Robinsons money changer has done that for me a few times in the past before I met Mayen, now I just let Mayen do it and save the hassles.

 

Hope that helps.

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Thalcoozyo

Yep... thanks much! I too will copy my response here so that others can maybe learn about this topic. What I wrote was:

 

Recap... am I correct?

 

For BPI:

1 - have a dollar account AND peso account

2 - write self a dollar-check and desposit into the dollar-account

3 - wait about 21 days for it to clear, at which point the dollars are available

4 - once dollars are available, await the best time to convert dollars in the dollar-account into pesos in the peso-account. This can even be done online to save another trip to the bank.

 

Right?

 

Am curious... does your US-based bank charge you anything when the check goes thru that bank's system... some fee or foreign fee or anything like that?

 

How about BPI debit card to use in Phils... what's the daily withdrawal limit? Is there an ATM fee of any type?

 

Finally... how much money we talking about on the check written to self... $500? $1000? $2000? (USD) If one can plan ahead, once you get this system going (accounting for the processing time), you could just write yourself a check for your monthly total living expenses, and you'd be all taken care of! With retirement checks and such, I'd hope to be living on $2000 USD monthly... would that amount process ok without raising alarm bells?

 

Thanks again!

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OK since we are asking the same questions here that you asked in a pm, I will post my reply here to you as well. I will then address some additional questions you asked in another reply.

 

Correct but with BPI it is 21 business days.Weekends and holidays do not count toward the 21 days.

 

Many banks or branches will offer their own black market money changers if you ask if they have one, call around and get the best rate and then see what theirs will pay and do whatever you feel is best. On small amounts a little is no big deal but on thousands of dollars it can make a difference worth shopping for.

 

I do the exchange in the bank when we are there in country, that way I get a better rate. Online they have one exchange price for $0 to $1000 and then a little more for $1000 and up to $5000 I think, and then more over that. With a local changer they will pay the most no matter what amount you change as long as it is in crisp $100 bills. I only do the online exchange when out of the country because there will be a difference and you will have to look online and see the rate and call around and decide for yourself if it is worth the trip to the bank.

 

The US bank does not charge anything at this time but who knows what the future might hold. If you deposit your dollar check into a dollar account then there should be no fees from anywhere but I have heard some banks in the Philippines might charge a fee to deposit a foreign check, BPI does not and neither does Bank of Commerce.

 

BPI has a P20,000 per day withdrawal on ATM card withdrawals and no limit on cash withdrawals and they do not charge any fee if you use a BPI ATM and those are all over the place in the malls etc, I usually use the ones in the malls to be safe.

 

Get yourself a few ATM accounts and carry around one with only the money you will need for the day and keep the rest in the other accounts, p20,000 per day withdrawal is for each account, so the more you have the more you can withdraw if in an emergency.

 

Once you establish yourself then you can also get a checking account to pay your bills with, that is what we do and I rarely have to carry any cash for anything except daily life.

 

Also BPI will usually give you a prestige account if you deposit over p100,000 and that means not having to stand in lines and getting better service.

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Finally... how much money we talking about on the check written to self... $500? $1000? $2000? (USD) If one can plan ahead, once you get this system going (accounting for the processing time), you could just write yourself a check for your monthly total living expenses, and you'd be all taken care of! With retirement checks and such, I'd hope to be living on $2000 USD monthly... would that amount process ok without raising alarm bells?

 

Thanks again!

 

You can write yourself up to the $10,000 without ringing any bells and more once the bank gets to know that you are not using any funds to destabilize the govt. When we bought our condos I had to transfer a fairly large amount I borrowed from my retirement account in the US to Citibank Philippines and they required proof of what we were going to do with the cash, so I supplied them with copies of the contract to buy the condos and then they wanted a copy of the title once it was completed to keep in their records, I have no idea where those papers eventually went or if they were just playing it safe. I have been told amounts over US $10,000 ring bells, I would say to keep way below that to play it safe but to possibly build up a reserve to be kept in the Philippines for emergencies, so if it cost you $2000 a month to live, deposit $3000 or $4000 for a few months.

 

I would recommend people have more than one way to get cash for an emergency and not keep all their eggs in any one basket, so a few high limit US credit cards would be good to have as well as some US ATM cards for different banks. One time I needed cash and my US Citibank ATM card had expired while we were in country, so it was good I had other sources to get the money from.

 

Plan ahead and if you are going to live in the Philippines full time or even spend a lot of time in country as we do, make sure you have access to funds in many ways. One time a few years back the underwater cable was damaged in an earthquake and it took a few days until the traffic was rerouted. Until it was rerouted my US ATM cards would not work, I have no idea if every bank cards were affected but I do know two of mine were or maybe there was too much traffic for them to handle, so again it was good to have a local account and I can only image what might have happened during 9/11 if there was any access during those days, maybe someone can tell us who was in country at the time, we were in the states when it happened.

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Thalcoozyo

Excellent info! Thanks so much! Yea, I've got the cards and US based ATM cards... but all have associated fees. The credit cards get a decent exchange rate, but most cards have a 3% fee for using them. OUCH! The Capital One credit card does NOT have the fee for foreign use and the exchange rate is favorable.

 

I've been trying to read the threads here and the who mess of Soc. Sec. checks being deposited into a Philpppine account... seems waaayyyyyy to complicated and subject to various fees/problems, depending on the bank and location. So writing a check to one's self seems to be the way to go.

 

The emergency access issue is covered (for me) with cards/ATMs. It's the routine, monthly transfers that I was dreading. Our discussion here today has given me hope! It seems simple and, best of all, no fees are involved! Of course, I understand that things can always change.

 

Thanks again.

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Excellent info! Thanks so much! Yea, I've got the cards and US based ATM cards... but all have associated fees. The credit cards get a decent exchange rate, but most cards have a 3% fee for using them. OUCH! The Capital One credit card does NOT have the fee for foreign use and the exchange rate is favorable.

 

I've been trying to read the threads here and the who mess of Soc. Sec. checks being deposited into a Philpppine account... seems waaayyyyyy to complicated and subject to various fees/problems, depending on the bank and location. So writing a check to one's self seems to be the way to go.

 

The emergency access issue is covered (for me) with cards/ATMs. It's the routine, monthly transfers that I was dreading. Our discussion here today has given me hope! It seems simple and, best of all, no fees are involved! Of course, I understand that things can always change.

 

Thanks again.

 

You are welcome. Yes living in a foreign country can be a pain at times, so finding the easiest way to do things is what forums are all about.

 

Another thing everyone should get is a Uniball 207 pen to make it so no one can wash their check. Check out the video below.

 

 

http://youtu.be/iwUTvIyRvdk

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Jim Sibbick

so finding the easiest way to do things is what forums are all about.

 

Sorry, but I thought your discussion was about the most cost effective way. Not the easiest way.

 

The easist way is to leave your money in your own country and stick your atm card in a machine to access it. Surely the easiest way, hands down! Not the most cost effective way, but the easist way.

 

For me, I do try to minimise the fees but I don't worry about them, it is just a part of the living expenses.

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Sorry, but I thought your discussion was about the most cost effective way. Not the easiest way.

 

The easist way is to leave your money in your own country and stick your atm card in a machine to access it. Surely the easiest way, hands down! Not the most cost effective way, but the easist way.

 

For me, I do try to minimise the fees but I don't worry about them, it is just a part of the living expenses.

 

You got me Jim, I misspoke, or should I say mistyped. :as-if: Often the easiest way is also the least expensive way, from my personal experiences of the time I have spent in the Philippines. Going to an ATM with a foreign ATM card and being limited to amount of withdrawals each time, and then paying a fee each and every time a withdrawal was made, seems to be harder to keep track of for me, maybe not for others like yourself and especially if your bank does not charge you any fees. To each his own and that is what is wonderful about having personal freedoms to do it anyway that each of us wishes to.

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broden

if you guys just give me all your money i will send you an allowance and cover the fees

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if you guys just give me all your money i will send you an allowance and cover the fees

 

Thanks Bro (den) :) mine just comes in the way of a few monthly checks so I would not want you to have all the trouble of the book keeping. lol :biggrin_01:

 

When a person has to learn to live month to month on a pension that barely goes up in future years, then they often appreciate the savings even a few centavos on a dollar can make over time as I do. Better all those fees or lower exchange rate costs are in my pocket than the banks.

 

Off topic, boy there sure are a lot of emoticons for a guy (Paul) who used to refuse to have any more than the small amount the forum used to have. :shit_stirrer::shitstormretarded::rofl:

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broden
Off topic, boy there sure are a lot of smiley's for a guy (Paul) who used to refuse to have any more than the small amount the forum used to have.

 

he's running out of vices. he has to keep something

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enoonmai
The credit cards get a decent exchange rate, but most cards have a 3% fee for using them. OUCH! The Capital One credit card does NOT have the fee for foreign use and the exchange rate is favorable.

If you just need to access your US funds take your Capital One card(s) to an HSBC ATM and withdraw pesos. There are no fees at all and the exchange rate is good. I have been doing that for years. Of course these banks could change policies at any time. If you want to deposit paper checks and wait, you have that option too.

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