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Davaoeno

Which is the best bank to deal with in the Philippines?

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Kabisay-an gid

The HSBC Basic charges the same annoying fees that other banks do. The HSBC Premiere is out of reach for most expats, who simply don't have enough money to maintain the minimum balance required. Paying a very substantial fee of $50 a month in lieu of maintaining the minimum balance makes no sense, since the main reason behind getting the Premier account is to avoid fees.

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nothingbutquestions

I read all 4 pages of posts and drew the following conclusions:

Most positive posts were for BPI.

Unless you have substantial deposits on hand at Citibank to qualify for a "CITIGOLD" status or similarly a HSBC "Premier" account then these 2 banks are not for you.

Other possibilities mentioned: China Bank, Bank of Commerce , and EastWest Bank.

 

Is using only an ATM and making withdrawls from your stateside bank a viable option?

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Enuff

I read all 4 pages of posts and drew the following conclusions:

Most positive posts were for BPI.

Unless you have substantial deposits on hand at Citibank to qualify for a "CITIGOLD" status or similarly a HSBC "Premier" account then these 2 banks are not for you.

Other possibilities mentioned: China Bank, Bank of Commerce , and EastWest Bank.

 

Is using only an ATM and making withdrawls from your stateside bank a viable option?

 

yes, Charles Schwab doesn't charge for overseas withdraws

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wildman01

Im just wondering what would be the most money you would trust putting in any Philippines bank? Because when i get ready to move there i don't want to have my money in a U.S bank living hear.

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Lee

Im just wondering what would be the most money you would trust putting in any Philippines bank? Because when i get ready to move there i don't want to have my money in a U.S bank living hear.

You would be insured for p500,000 per person on the account, now the bad news, should one of you die, the bank locks the account until an estate tax is paid, so separate accounts with each having the others ATM card might work and then up to p500,000 in each of the reliable banks but I would never keep all my money in the Philippines but that is just me,

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NOSOCALPINOY

Here's my comments on another topic "ATM Overview" http://www.livingincebuforums.com/topic/77625-atm-overview/page-3#entry1119618

We've had it using our U.S. ATM debit/credit cards here in the Philippines, because of all the freak'n transaction service fees! We now only write U.S. personal checks for deposit (without any fees for deposit) into our BPI joint USD ATM savings account and use only our local bank's ATM without any service fees or withdraw over the counter for huge amounts in pesos or dollars. Anyways, since I'm a senior citizen I get to go to the head of line in any of our branch named bank.  
We now only use our U.S. ATM debit/credits cards mainly for emergencies and purchases we want or need.  
Some people will always recommend HSBC, Charles Shwabs, Capitol One and or USAA for their non-ATM service fees. The only problem, their offices are far and few in between and they all require some form of deposit like savings, checking and or investment accounts and always need to call or go on-line to contact them if any problems arises, where as our local bank they are all over the place in the Philippines with ATM and internet access and there are some branches in other countries, we have at least 2 BPI branches within walking distance from where we live, half a dozen driving distance just within a 2 to 4 mile radius and we can talk to a real live person during business hours or over the phone any time.   
 
It's best and safest that you keep all of your direct deposits of your pensions in a U.S. bank account or in one's home country, just in case the bank where you have an account in the Philippines suddenly closes their doors or on-line services denied for some unknown reason. It has happened before in past and it could happen to any bank one of these days, especially with small unknown rural banks.   
We've been banking with BPI over 15 years now in the Philippines ever since we retired here in 1998 and haven't any issues as of yet and I still have direct deposits of all of my pensions in our U.S. bank account since 1997.  
Edited by NOSOCALPINOY
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Alfred E. Neuman

Eastwest Bank. I can withdraw anywhere. Even on Saturdays and Sundays it's open in Parkmall Cebu. Brewed coffee not bad.

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hyaku

I started out with an HSBC premium account in Cebu. I had opened a small HSBC account in the UK to be ready to transfer pensions which was stripped by ridiculous fees for international letters when I specifically said NO MAIL. I tried to get HSBC Cebu to deal with it.... no go. Finally in red with HSBC UK they said they would be transferring me to a debt collection service. I wrote them a letter telling them i worked before in debt collection and not to send me such stupid letters. The kind of letter that had already put me in trouble. Also that if they wanted to fly somebody over and find me in the jungle to try and collect ten UK pounds? I could pay them in either banana, copra or papaya.

 

I closed my premium and put the money where it would 'make more money'. I use and am pleased with Metrobank for one simple reason. It's the only one in town. I cant keep going off to Cebu to get money. Some poor guys here have to catch the boat once a month to get funds as their cards don't work here.

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PIM

It is interesting to look into the management of Filipino banks. BPI is mainly controlled by Filipino-Spanish and Metrobank by Filipino-Chinese.

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SkyMan

Seems to be a lot of misinformation about HSBC here.  I don't work for them or get any kick backs for recommending them but I post positively about HSBC because I think a lot of expats could benefit from having an HSBC account and no I'm not talking about the stupid premiere account that requires a huge sum of money to deposited there earning next to no interest or paying an outrageous $50/mo fee.  I have a US HSBC Advance online savings account that requires $1 to open.  I can withdraw money from the HSBC ATM near Ayala or from any Metrobank ATM with no fee.  UCPB also used to do no fee but I'm not sure if that's still true.  I have advised several people to use an HSBC account to get money here to Cebu and all have been quite happy with results.  It takes 2-3 days to get money from my regular payroll account to HSBC via web billpay.  Back when I was in the US and sending money here I had two HSBC accounts.  The girl I was sending money to had the card for one of the accounts, the other account had a chunk of money in it.  If there was an emergency I could transfer money to her account and it was available to her instantly.

 

Just go to HSBC in the US and open an Advance Online Savings Account.  Then transfer money to that account.  As soon as it's funded they send the ATM card.  Pretty simple.

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wildman01

                                                          When Traveling to the Philippines

 

            For foreigners/tourists traveling to the philippines you can withdraw cash in over 2,000 BPI or BPI Family Savings Bank

 

Express Teller ATM's. These ATM's are strategically located at commercial areas like airports, shopping malls and near hotels

 

in keys cities within the country. For your added convenience, Express Teller ATM's are also found at over 800 BPI or BPI

 

Family Savings Bank branches nationwide. These ATM's are available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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arentol

Agree with SkyMan re: HSBC. Many more positive aspects for me than negatives... no ATM fees is one. The other is the ability to have multiple currency accounts -- not just USD, but also NZD, AUD, GBP, EUR, CHF, SGD, etc. In my line of work, it's invaluable.

 

For day to day banking I use HSBC. For loans, we use BPI... absolutely no complaints: their online banking works fine and the loan process was extremely easy. 

 

Having accounts with different banks also helps when making online bill payments. For example, I can pay Globe and Smart via HSBC, but not Cignal... but Cignal can be paid via BPI. It may sound like a minor issue, but it's a HUGE time-saver for me... physically going into offices and standing on line to make monthly bill payments is a royal pain in the arse and I'm happy that I don't have to do that anymore.

 

 

Cheers,

Aren

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Lee

HSBC is a good choice for those who live near one of their banks, I had considered opening an account with them but never followed up since we deal with two banks in Cebu City and have multiple accounts in one of them. I like BPI for the online exchange of dollars for pesos and the ability to move money between accounts, as well as to family in other parts of the Philippines who have BPI accounts that we linked to ours, and all of which can be easily done during business hours and takes seconds.

 

I like Bank of Commerce because of the very helpful staff who always gets me a great exchange rate when I bring in a handful of $100 bills, so we do business with both. We used to have accounts with Citibank Savings on Osmena which was the best to do business with for us because of the great staff and since we also had US Citibank accounts but they closed that branch and we never bothered to open another Philippine Citibank account.

 

Maybe others can chime in but as far as doing online conversions from dollars to pesos, I think BPI may be the only one, if not, then it sure is the easiest that I have seen, but the exchange rate we get is not as high as if we do it in person at BOC.

 

One thing I will suggest to people, have many ways to get cash in case one fails. One year my US Citibank ATM expired while we were in Cebu, that cut me off from my funds, luckily we have had a BPI account for around 19 years now, so problem solved. When the bank on Osmena closed, we promptly opened the BOC account and if we lived there full time, then I would have accounts with at least 2 other major Philippine banks as well as a couple of US banks that have free ATM withdrawals worldwide. ATM cards have daily limits, the easy way to get more money per day is to have multiple accounts, be it at one bank or by playing it much safer, having them at more than one bank, which is a heck of a lot safer should someone need a major medical care and not have Philippine health insurance. 

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RogerDuMond

 

 

premiere account that requires a huge sum of money to deposited there earning next to no interest

 

This also is misinformation. It does not require cash. It requires any combination of cash, CDs, or investments. We have our IRAs at HSBC US and they do not charge for their financial manager.

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wildman01

Well in small towns in Mindanao you don't have all the choice's you have in Cebu, that's the only good thing i see about Cebu :sarcasm:

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