Friday, January 8, 2010

Opening a Dollar Deposit in the Philippines

I have begun to cull available information on the internet on where my husband and I can open a dollar account. Several restrictions such as the amount of available dollars I expect for us to have on the first month, the location of the bank, bank schedule (whether they have after-office hour transactions), its credibility and ease of transactions such as transfers from one account to another, are some of my considerations.

I have been trying to get the information from the websites of the various banks I can recall to memory. So here are some of the more reputable banks you can open a dollar account in, the type of deposit, minimum initial deposit, minimum deposit to earn interest, and interest per annum:

AsiaTrust Bank $100 $100 .25%

DBP $100 $500 .25%

Banco De Oro
Club 60 Dollar
>=60 years $200 $500 .25%
Dollar Savings
Account $200 $500 .25%

Bank of the
Philippine Islands
Express Dollar
Savings $500 $500 .25%
Dollar Savings
with Passbook $500 $500 .25%

BPI Family Savings Bank
Get Started Savings
Account with
Life Insurance $1000 $1000 .125%
Dollar Savings
with Passbook $500 $500 .25%

Union Bank $1000 $1000 .25%

Metro Dollar
Savings $500 $500 .25%
US Pensioner $100 $500 .25%

Security Bank $500 $500 .5%

Landbank of
the Philippines $100 $500 .25%

Citi Dollar
Everyday Banking Below $1000 0%
$1000 and up** 0%
Citi Dollar Saver Less than $1000 0%
$1000 and up** .1%

** Minimum opening and maintaining balance requirement is for Citibanking clients only. For Citigold clients, no minimum opening balance is required for as long as Total Relationship Balance (TRB) of P 4,000,000 is maintained.

I also asked the bank how long before an international checque can be cleared. The majority answer was from 30 to 45 BANKING DAYS.

Also, they said that they need the Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR), in order for a foreigner to open an account. Unfortunately, my husband won't have that on the first week. So he agreed to have the dollar account under my name.

If you ask me which one I would recommend, if money was not the consideration, it would certainly be the Bank of the Philippine Islands. For one, it has been in operation for as far as I can recall. Also, my peso account is with them and I have made remittances from my peso account to the U.S. with ease, in the same manner that I have received money from the U.S. also with ease. Aside from that I have several of my bills enrolled with my account, such that I make payments through the ATM. One of the biggest PLUS factor for me also is that they have Express Deposit ATMs, which allows me to make cash and cheque deposits even after office hours. Although I haven't yet made am international cheque deposit on an ATM. They said it wasn't allowed. I don't know though if it was because I had a peso account.

Also they have branches ALL OVER the country and even ATMs in the mall. They are linked with Expressnet which covers almost ALL the banks, unlike Megalink.

1 comment:

  1. My wife has had an account with BPI for years and they have always treated her well. But when we arrived here in the Philippines they pulled that ACR routine on me. It isn't that I have a problem not being "on the account", but it would really cramp our lifestyle if I didn't have full banking access. Part of my (small) contribution to our married partnership is I always do the banking and bill paying.

    Our local BDO branch manger is, however, able to read the BSP regulations .. many don't seem to know ... and was happy to offer joint Peso and Dollar accounts with no ACR-I card. He's definitely in the minority. The ACR-I card issue has become such a problem that the BI will now issue and ACR-I card to those on tourist or BB privilege, according to their written answer to my quey ... but the ACR-I card will expire at the end of the visa being used to support it. At least it's a band aid for the situation, although the real issue is the BSP needs to stop standing in the way of foreigners and Phils/foreign customers trying to bring money in.

    My father-in-law is a retired Central Bank staffer and he's completely mystified by the whole issue ... he claims the BSP has never required any sort of registration for account holders, in his own words, "That's silly, why would we make it hard for people to deposit their money in the Philippines?" I'm with you, Tatay, why indeed.