How to open a bank account in the Philippines for a foreigner: If you are traveling or living in the Philippines, you may be wondering how to open a bank account in the Philippines for foreigners.
The process of opening a bank account is relatively simple, but this requires a few basic requirements. Nonetheless, throughout this guide, we will show you how you can open a bank account in the Philippines, cover the best banks for foreigners in the Philippines and lastly, discuss if you can open a bank account in the Philippines while abroad.
How To Open A Bank Account In the Philippines For Foreigners
This section will cover a step-by-step guide on how to open a bank account in the Philippines for foreigners. Each bank in the Philippines has its unique requirements, and thus these steps could be in different orders depending on your chosen bank.
Nonetheless, by law, there are specific requirements that banks need to adhere to in order to open up an account in a foreign name. The details are as follows;
The first step in opening a bank account in the Philippines as a foreigner is, unfortunately, something that cannot be controlled, and that is time.
They have a different policy as compared to banks from other countries. Just to compare, you can open an N26 bank account even if you’re a foreigner as long as you’re a resident of any EU country that they support.
Some banks in the Philippines have a minimum time requirement before issuing a bank account to a foreigner living in the Philippines. BDO is one of the leading banks in the Philippines, and currently, their time scale is six months. In other words, you will need to be in the Philippines for a minimum of six months before they will grant you a bank account.
This, of course, can be frustrating. I was in this exact position myself. in certain situations; however, if you have a connection or set up a business in the Philippines, you may be able to open a bank account in the Philippines as a foreigner much sooner.
Submit Your ACR Card
The first official documentation you will need when looking at how to open a bank account in the Philippines for foreigners is an ACR card. ACR, which stands for Alien Certificate of Registration, is a small microchip card used for identification purposes in the Philippines.
You can apply for an official ACR card when you have stayed more than 59 days in the Philippines. Fees for an ARC card remain relatively low, and there are many different types of colors of cards depending on your purpose, such as tourist, employment, student, etc.
Think of an ACR card as an extension. By having this ACR card, you have slightly more status in the Philippines as a foreigner. For example, you will now have one of the essential requirements to open up a bank account in the Philippines for foreigners.
Present Your Passport And Identification
The next stage on how to open a bank account in the Philippines for foreigners is to present your Passport and any identification. The process is simple and often quick. The bank teller will open your Passport, scan relevant pages, including your photo and visa stamps, and then your Passport will be handed back to you.
Show Your Housing Contract And/Or Utility Bills
Step four is also a swift and straightforward process: hand in your housing contract and utility bills. Again, this is a pretty much standard requirement for many banks across the world.
You may be wondering if you need to own a house or condo in the Philippines before opening a bank account. Do not worry. There is no such limitation. If you do not own your house, you can use your rental agreement and utility bills, including the water, electricity, or Internet.
Once you have successfully submitted all documents, the final stage is to deposit a small amount into your bank.
Typically a small deposit can range between 1,000 to 2,000 Pesos, but depending on your type of account (saving account, debit account, etc.), you may need to pay a higher or lower amount.
If you are looking to someday apply for a bank loan or use any investment products with your bank, you may wish to leave some cash in the bank. A good friend who works in a senior role at a bank told me this does help in the future. Of course, loans are not always guaranteed, and it is a very grey area; nonetheless, it is possible in some situations, thus, keeping money in your Philippines bank can build trust with the bank.
Best Banks For Foreigners In The Philippines
Here is a list of all banks that you will find in the Philippines.
- CIMB Bank
- EastWest Bank
- ING Philippines
- Security Bank
All banks have slightly different rules and regulations when opening a bank account in the Philippines for foreigners. Thus the best bank account for foreigners in the Philippines will depend on what you are looking for.
If you are an entrepreneur, you may be interested in China bank as that has a lot of investment opportunities. Looking at the company’s mission, it seems that is the direction the bank is going in.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a Standard Bank to use while living in the Philippines as a foreigner, you may be better suited to a security bank or BDO account. When I first looked into opening a bank account in the Philippines as a foreigner, I found these two banks much easier and more pleasant to deal with than any other bank.
Security bank was perhaps one of the easiest. My bank account was open reasonably quickly, but if you are looking to pay your utility bills and other things, then there may be limited features with security bank; however, if you only wish to get your foot in the door, then security bank or other similar banks are a great option.
A borderless bank also accounts for an excellent idea for living or moving to the Philippines. TransferWise, for example (more on this in the section below), is a borderless bank account that allows you to send and receive money similar to PayPal. Still, you can also request an ATM card which makes life in the Philippines so much easier.
Can I Open A Bank Account In The Philippines While Abroad
There are limited options available for a foreigner to open a bank account in the Philippines while being abroad. However, one option is to have an account with a bank situated in the Philippines. Citibank and HSBC are examples of this.
However, there is another option for foreigners looking to open a bank account in the Philippines. Using the services of Wise (used to be known as TransferWise), TransferWise is very similar to PayPal in many aspects. Still, with more added benefits. One of those benefits is that TransferWise allows you to order an ATM card that can be used in the Philippines.
A borderless bank account is often used while living and traveling in the Philippines and across South East Asia. However, banks can sometimes make the process challenging even if you decide to later open a bank account in the Philippines as a foreigner; having a borderless bank account such as TransferWise may be a good decision for those unexpected emergencies.
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