QUICK SUMMARY- HOW TO REMIT MONEY TO THE PHILIPPINNES
Money transfers from outside the country are big business in the Philippines. Nearly 9% of the country’s GDP comes from remittances. Nearly US$32.54 billion in international money transfers is sent to the Philippines annually.
With the influx of money, more and more companies want a piece of this action. Over time, methods of sending money to the Philippines have evolved, with various money transfer providers offering quicker, safer, and more affordable options.
I often use online money transfer platforms because they’re secure, offer great PHP exchange rates, and ensure my loved ones get the most from my support.
Online transfers have emerged as a popular, cost-effective choice, offering secure, fast transfer times with competitive exchange rates. With 24/7 service from many providers, it’s a convenient option to send money anytime.
With competition comes more choices- choices with a dizzying array of fees, rates, benefits, and promotions. Which method you choose to send money to the Philippnes will depend on if you want the cheapest, safest, most convenient, or fastest method.
Let’s look at the process of remitting money to the Philippines, what makes up the costs, and which of the 5 most common methods is the best for you.
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QUICK TIPS- PHILIPPINES
Show a mandatory departure ticket. You cannot enter the Philippines on a one-way ticket if you only have a tourist visa or visa on arrival. You will need a flight ticket with a date leaving the country before your visa expires. Save money by showing immigration you have a cheap onward travel ticket for just $14.
Get help with your visa. The Philippines visa process can get complicated. The rules and regulations change frequently. Avoid the hassle of dealing with the immigration bureaucracy by speaking with a Philippines Visa Specialist.
Learn some basic Tagalog phrases. While nearly everyone speaks some English, learning some basic Tagalog is always appreciated by Filipinos. Get a FREE Language Lesson using the same learning technique used by the US State Department, FBI, and overseas military.
Save On Moving Costs. Save up to 40% on your international moving costs. Nomadic FIRE has partnered with 10,000+ pre-screened global moving companies to save you time and money. Fill out our 60-second form and get 5 free quotes from accredited moving companies competing for your business.
Get Free Expat Health Insurance Quotes. Your home insurance will not cover you while abroad. However, you can find affordable international health insurance for less than what you would pay in the United States.
What is the cheapest way to send money to the Philippines?
For amounts less than $10,000. Wise and Remitly tend to be the cheapest ways to send money to the Philippines. Which one is cheaper depends on each company’s exchange rate that day.
Wise is almost always the cheapest if you need to send more than $10,000 because Wise provides discounted fees and rates the larger the amount you send.
Understanding the Exchange Rates & Fees
How do Exchange Rates Affect Money Transfers?
When sending money to the Philippines, the exchange rate, sometimes called the interbank exchange rate, decides how much the person on the other end gets. This rate, often known as the Forex or FX rate, can change daily due to various influencing factors, such as:
- Market Conditions
- Shifts in currency values
To maximize your transfer, seek the best exchange rate so your recipient gets the highest Philippine Pesos per dollar. Local banks often offer unfavorable rates, tacking on an additional 3–5% to the mid-market or spot exchange rate. Specialized Money Transfer Operators (MTOs) such as Western Union or Wise (formerly TransferWise), which may add less than 1% to the spot exchange rate, can result in substantial cost savings, particularly for larger transfers.
Even with specialized money transfer companies, it pays to shop around. I found a difference of up to 5% on the exchange rate offered by different MTOs.
|Sample Exchange Rates As of 10/3||1 USD to PHP|
|XE Money Transfer||56.3414|
By monitoring the ever-changing currency exchange rates, you can ensure your loved one gets the most value from your transfer.
Understanding Transfer Fees
Different FOREX rates are just one way you’ll get charged when sending money to the Philippines. Additionally, you’ll often have to pay transfer fees. These fees can change based on the transfer method you choose and which money transmitter you’re using.
There are two main types of fees:
- Flat fees: A fixed amount you pay no matter how much you’re sending.
- Percentage-based fees: A variable fee based on a portion of the money you’re sending.
The way you choose to pay can also affect the fee. For instance, using a credit or debit card might cost more than a wire transfer because credit card companies might charge a cash advance fee for money transfers.
INSIDER TIP: Exchange Rate Markups – Not all providers, including financial institutions like the Bank of the Philippine Islands or the Philippines National Bank, offer the same exchange rates as traditional banks, which can sneakily increase your costs through exchange rate markup. Additionally, many transfer services will give you a better exchange rate for larger money transfers. For example, Wise provides mid-market competitive FX rates and lowers transfer fees by .02% (2 basis points) for sending 150,000 USD vs 100,000 USD. Check the lower rates for larger money transfers.
Always compare fees across different providers to get the most bang for your buck. And don’t forget to consider your payment option – some come with hidden charges. Stay informed, and you’ll save a good chunk!
Costs of Sending Money with Different Payment Methods
Sending money to the Philippines offers various delivery options. Each method has its own costs and considerations, with some being more cost-effective than others. “Traditional” methods of sending cash to the Philippines include:
- Bank Transfers
- Credit Cards
- Debit Cards
- Cash Pickups
While newer “fintech” options include platforms like:
- Remitly or Appsend
- Mobile Wallets such as Coins, U-mobile, GCash, PayMaya, and GrabPay,
- Cryptocurrency Transfers
Before sending money, think about the total cost. It’s helpful to compare wire transfer fees, PHP exchange rates, and other possible platform fees or charges. Don’t forget to check for extra charges from your bank or card company. Making a smart choice with these apps can save you a significant amount of money!
My recommended method to transfer large sums of money to the Philippines.
Wise (formerly known as Transferwise) has special rates for large dollar transfers. When I had to move $10,000 US dollars to the Philippines, I first transferred the amount from my US bank to Wise, then Wise to my Philippines bank.
To save more money, I converted USD to PHP using Wise, which gave me a rate of roughly 56 Philippine pesos for each US dollar. BDO only offered 54.5 PHP per USD, saving nearly $1,500 on a $10,000 transfer.
Transfer Money Internationally- For expats and nomads, Wise offers an International Bank account for your money transfers. It’s an easier and cheaper alternative for paying your bills while overseas.
Looking to buy property abroad or a vehicle abroad, Wise has a Large Transfer Rate for even bigger savings.
Top 4 Payment Methods to Send Money to the Philippines
When sending money to the Philippines, pick a payment method that’s both convenient and fits your budget. Here are the methods:
Method 1: Bank Wires for Safe International Money Transfers
Bank transfers are a reliable way to move money between accounts easily. This tried and true method is also the most secure method. Bank wires are ideal if you value:
- Safety: Banks prioritize the Security of your funds. They make sure your money is safe and sound.
- Convenience: Forget long lines or trips to the bank. With bank transfers, you can send money online or via phone anytime, anywhere.
Method 2: Fast Money Transfer Services To Philippine Bank Accounts
This is my recommended method to move money internationally. Companies like PayPal, Revolut, Xoom, and Wise (formerly Transferwise) can send money directly to bigger Philippine banks, like Banco de Oro or Metrobank. Typically you can get favorable exchange rates on for money transfers vs. bank deposits.
Plus, money transfer services are often paid in minutes for so you or your loved ones in the Philippines get the money fast.
Method 3: Cash Pickups in the Philippines for International Transfers
Cash pickup is a dependable way to send money to the Philippines, especially for those without a local bank account. It’s a convenient option and ensures quick access to funds. Cash pickup allows recipients to collect the funds at designated cash pickup locations in the Philippines.
To receive money through this method, recipients follow a few simple steps.
Pick a Service: Choose a company that offers cash pickup in the Philippines. Big names include Western Union and MoneyGram.
Details: When setting up the transfer, you’ll need to give the receiver’s name and contact info.
Reference Number: After you send the money, the person getting it will get a unique number called an MTCN (Money Transfer Control Number).
Pickup Time: The receiver then goes to a popular cash pickup location in the country, including:
- Cebuana Lhuillier
- Palawan Express
Receivers should show an ID and give that unique number to get the cash. There are many places to pick up money, from banks to pawnshops. The receiver can choose the most convenient option for them.
Method 4: Sending Money with Mobile Wallets in the Philippines
Using mobile wallets like GCash makes sending money to the Philippines a breeze. These apps, including popular ones like PayPal and Apple Pay, offer quick transfer times and added features, like linking to your bank.
Leading e-wallets or e-payment services in the Philippines as of October 2022
With the rise of smartphones in the Philippines, they’re becoming the preferred, safer alternative to traditional bank methods. Consider trying them out; they’re game-changers!
Method 5: Cryptocurrency Transfers: The newest kid on the block
Cryptocurrencies are the latest technology solution for sending money to the Philippines. Bitcoin and Ethereum are the most prevalent crypto coins, but several digital currencies are getting more popular daily.
Here’s how it works: First, you’ll need a digital wallet to keep your cryptocurrency safe. Then, you change your regular money into cryptocurrency on a trusted exchange platform.
Once done, you can send it to someone’s digital wallet in the Philippines. They can then change it back into regular money if they want.
Why try it? Cryptocurrency transfers can be super fast, sometimes just taking minutes. They can be the cheapest option, especially if you’re sending a lot of money.
Step By Step Guide To Remit Money To The Philippines
Calculate the Total Amount
You need to consider the total amount to complete the transaction, not just the dollar amount to send. Check for the provider with the best exchange rates and lowest potential fees to ensure you’re getting the most value. Additionally, be aware that some providers have daily or monthly transfer limits on the amount of money you can send.
Choose Your Transfer Method
Besides cost, speed of transfer and your urgency are the next biggest factors playing a role in choosing a remittance method. Instant money transfers or cash pickups offer same-day transfer speed, but bank transfers, although potentially slower, might be more economical for larger sums.
You’ll need to factor in the money recipient’s convenience as well. Philippine banks are notoriously inconsistent in what their requirements will be to receive cash. Some bank branches require having a cash account at the branch, while other branches only require valid identification.
I have found sending money to a digital wallet is the easiest.
Provide Recipient Details
Accuracy is paramount. Whether it’s bank details for a direct transfer, matching names for cash pickups, or contact information for online transfers, always double-check. This is not the time for fat fingers, transposing numbers, or getting lazy when checking for proper spelling.
There is no easy process of getting your money back once your transfer is completed. If you make a mistake, your money is as good as gone.
Pay for the Transfer
There are several payout options to cover the transfer cost. You can opt for a credit card payment, bank transfer, or cash advance. Watch for additional charges that some apps sneak in because you inadvertently clicked on an option without realizing it.
An example is this Paypal screen. I choose “No Fee” transfer, but if I click on the receive “in minutes” option instead of 1-3 days, I get hit with a transfer fee. It’s the same issue if you choose to receive a paper check- additional fees apply.
Track and Confirm
Lastly, monitor your transfer to confirm receipt. Many reputable providers will send you an email or SMS notification for each step in the money transfer process. Notify the recipient of the potential delivery times, and always confirm with the recipient once they’ve received the funds.
Popular International Money Transfer Providers Used By Locals and Foreigners In The Philippines
If you’re into tech, GCash and PayMaya are popular platforms. They’re fast, have loads of agent locations, and tend to be the cheapest providers. The cash apps are easy to use. Just get the app from the Google Play Store or Apple Store, and you’re all set! And, they do more than send money – think shopping and paying bills.
For those who like online options, WorldRemit is a winner. It’s speedy, has different ways for folks to receive money, and their customer service is top-notch.
Don’t forget Western Union – it’s been around for ages and is still one of the most widely used money transfer companies. I just sent $2,000 from my American Bank yesterday, as a matter of fact. They have the fastest transfer speed when using a bank debit card (literally only took a few minutes).
And, for those who stick to banks, BDO, BPI, and PNB are the big names in the Philippines. They’ve all got their own benefits, from having loads of convenient locations to user-friendly services.
Keep an eye out for our next article, where we rank the best ways to transfer money to the Philippines!
Precautions and Tips When Sending Money To The Philippines Ensure Security And Avoid Scams
When sending money to the Philippines, ensuring Security and avoiding scams should be a top priority. Here’s a quick guide to keep your money tranfers safe:
- Pick the pros. Always use trusted international money transfer services. If they’ve been around for a while and have good reviews, that’s a good sign.
- Do your homework. Before sending money, check out different services. Look for ones with good feedback and avoid those with bad reputations.
- Watch out for random offers. If you get unexpected emails or calls about transferring money, be wary. Scammers love this trick.
- Double-check details. Ensure you’ve got the correct info for the person you’re sending money to. Please don’t send money to strangers or anyone who can’t prove who they are.
- Stay safe online. If you’re sending money online, ensure the website is encrypted and secure. Look for “https” in the URL (remember “s” for secure) or a lock icon in the address bar of your web browser. And don’t use public Wi-Fi for any money transfer or financial transaction without a VPN.
- Beware of fake messages. Scammers might send you fake emails or texts pretending to be from real money transfer services. Please don’t fall for it. Always double-check before giving out any info.
- Be Aware of sneaky fees. Again, always check for hidden fees when transferring money. Some providers might have low fees but not-so-great exchange rates, or vice versa.
FAQs- Philippines Money Transfers
If you use a money transfer service like Xoom, Wise, or Revolut, sending money to a major Philippine bank (like PNB, Metrobank, or BDO) account can happen in minutes. Transfers to mobile wallets or cash pick up also happen in minutes.
However, if you want cash delivery to your home, it can take up to 6 hours in Metro Manila or up to 2 days if you are sending money to the provinces.
Sending money from the Philippines to another country requires you to prove how the money was made and whether and if funds were from illegal activities. If your funds meet the remittance requirements, a local Philippine bank can assist with a transfer.
The Philippines, like many Asian countries (notably China, Vietnam, and Thailand), has strict restrictions for sending money out of the country to cut down on money laundering and to keep more capital in the country.