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How to set up a bank account in the Philippines

11 Jun 2021 - Category: Blog /
send money to philippines

People new to the Philippines may want to familiarize themselves with the banking system. There are some things that will take some time to get used to but once you’re up and running you’ll find that banking in the Philippines is quite simple.

In this blog we’ll discuss how you can set up a bank account in the Philippines. We’ll go over the details required to open an account, the types of banks in the country and how you can get started.

How to open a bank account in the Philippines

There are over 500 banks in the Philippines and they all have their own system of enrolling members and opening accounts. The process will be different if you are not a citizen or resident of the Philippines. Whether you are based in a major metropolis like Manila or a small city like Lucena will also impact your banking experience.

But don’t worry, we’re here to help you.

A Filipino resident going to open an individual bank account at a major bank in the Philippines like BDO, BPI or Metrobank will require the following documents:

  • A valid Passport or ID
  • Proof of address such as a utility bill or a rental contract
  • A minimum initial deposit which is usually at an amount set by the bank
  • 5x7 size passport photos

The exact requirements may differ from bank to bank but as long as you have the basic documents you should be able to get started in most banks in the Philippines.

You can find further guidance on the regulation, oversight and management of the Philippines banking system by visiting the website of the Central Bank of the Philippines.

Opening a bank account in the Philippines is straightforward. Once you know how the basics work then you’ll also know how to open a bank account for students or other family members too.

Online banking in the Philippines

The evolution of online banking has happened quite rapidly in the Philippines over the last fifteen years. For many people, online banking is the most convenient and secure way to manage their money. In the Philippines the online banking experience is common among most of the large banks.

For example, Metrobank offers substantial online support for their account holders. Metrobank Online allows you to access your account, pay bills, send money safely and schedule transactions. The internet banking services offered by Metrobank for Filipino citizens, and others banking in the country, are comparable to online services provided around the world.

How to open a bank account online - To sign up for online banking at Metrobank as a new user all you have to do is access their website, fill in the sign-up sheet, use the mobile number registered at your brand account and enroll your accounts.

How to open an account in the Philippines with BDO

BDO Unibank is the largest bank in the Philippines. Established in 1968 as Acme Saving Bank in Manila, the bank grew in size and scope before merging with Equitable PCI Bank in 2007. As of 2020, BDO has the largest distribution network in the whole of the Philippines.

BDO Unibank acts as a full-service universal bank providing investment banking, private banking, insurance brokerage, foreign exchange and remittance services. An advantage of banking with BDO is that they have offices in China, Japan, Singapore,and Korea which will allow you to conveniently support yourself if you are travelling or living within other countries in Asia.

BDO Kabayan Savings is the start of a lasting relationship between BDO Remit and Filipinos migrants and families. Overseas Filipino and their beneficiaries may open a BDO Kabayan Savings Account at any BDO branch in the Philippines.

  • Only PHP100 initial deposit
  • Zero maintaining balance with at least one (1) remittance within two (2) years
  • With passbook and ATM debit card
  • Free life and accident insurance for remitters. Click here to register.
  • Earn BDO Rewards points too from your savings. Know more.

In order to open a Kabayan Savings account at a BDO branch, there are three key steps you have to take:

  1. Fill out and print the downloadable forms
  2. Prepare the minimum initial deposit and 2 valid ID’s
  3. Go to a nearby BDO branch

The process is relatively quick and simple. Within no time you can be up and running with a BDO account.

For a BDO account the list of accepted identifications include:

  • Passport (in case of foreign passport, must have English characters/translations and the holder must have a residence address in the Philippines)
  • Philippine Postal ID
  • Tax Identification Number ID
  • New Social Security System (SSS) ID
  • Government Service and Insurance System (GSIS) e-Card
  • PhilHealth Card
  • Driver's License issued by the Land Transportation Office (LTO)
  • Senior Citizen ID
  • Voter's ID
  • Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) ID
  • School ID (for minors)
  • Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) ID
  • Unified Multi-Purpose ID (UMID)

It is a good idea to have a few of these accepted identifications prepared and copied before you start your bank application. This will ensure you don’t waste any time and can start managing your money in the Philippines. See here to learn how to apply for a BDO Online Account.

How to open an account in the Philippines with BPI

Founded in 1851, Bank of the Philippine Islands is the first bank in the Philippines and in the Southeast Asian region. BPI is a universal bank and together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, it offers a wide range of financial products and solutions that serve both retail and corporate clients.

BPI's services include consumer banking and lending, asset management, payments, insurance, securities brokerage and distribution, foreign exchange, leasing, and corporate and investment banking. The bank has a network of over 800 branches in the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Europe, and close to 3,000 ATMs and CAMs (cash accept machines).

Pamana Padala is a remittance solution for Filipinos abroad where they can remit their hard-earned salaries and manage remittances effectively.

  • PHP500 initial deposit
  • Zero maintaining balance as long as there are four (4) remittances a year
  • Remittance Continuation Plan which provides free 90-day Personal Accident Insurance of P100,00 and free life insurance coverage of up to Php 300,000 or USD 6,000.

How to open a BPI Pamana Padala account?

  1. Visit any BPI or BPI Family Savings Bank branch near you.
  2. Bring the following account opening requirements:
  • One (1) original, valid ID with photo and signature
  • Proof that you are an Overseas Filipino Worker (work contract, work visa/permit, OEC certificate, OWWA ID, Seaman’s book, CFO Certificate, PDOS Certificate, Local residence ID)
  • Initial deposit of only Php 500 or USD 500

Padala Moneyger on the other hand, is an affordable savings account specially designed for the beneficiaries in the Philippines who receive remittances from abroad.

  • Zero initial deposit
  • Zero maintaining balance as long as you receive four remittances a year
  • No withdrawal fees

How to open a BPI Padala Moneyger account?

  1. Visit any BPI or BPI Family Savings Bank branch near you.
  2. Bring the following account opening requirements:
  • One (1) original, valid ID with photo and signature
  • Proof of remittance (Copy of the previous remittance transaction receipt (may be from pawnshops, remittance centers, etc.)

Banks in the Philippines

Now you know how to open a bank account, it helps to know about some of the biggest banks in the Philippines.

Here are the top banks in the Philippines that are partnered with Small World:

You can also transfer money to any of the following banks:

Any other banks listed in the Central Bank of the Philippines.

There are a variety of private and public banks in the Philippines to choose from. You can find a list of all banks serving people in the Philippines here. Exploring their individual websites and try and see for yourself which bank suits your financial situation.

Whether you choose to bank with a local bank, a commercial bank, or a foreign or specialized bank in the Philippines, you can also rely on Small World to help with any of your money transfer needs.

Our money transfer services to the Philippines include bank deposits, cash pickups, cash card reload, airtime top-ups and home delivery. When it comes to sending and receiving money in the Philippines, Small World has got you covered.

Send Money with Small World

At Small World we help people easily and securely send and receive money. For many years we have operated on a global scale enabling financial accessibility. We know how difficult it can be to settle in a new country and to support your family back home. That’s why we try to make the process of transferring funds as hassle-free as possible.

Now that you know how to open a bank account in the Philippines, you can start your financial journey. The Philippines is a wonderful country and we are partnered with several banks in the Philippines that help you manage your money. Small World makes transferring money quick, safe and easy because we want to help you support your loved ones.

Your first transaction is always free of transfer fees. A great reason to try Small World to see if it is the right choice for you.



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