One of the tasks on my to-do list before I leave the Philippines was to buy a luggage on sale. Not huge and heavy but enough to withstand the long flight and handling (more like tossing) of airport staff.
And another on my list was to open a bank account in the Philippines.
I found the will-do luggage that I dragged as someone lost in the woods and catching a flight.
Not surprisingly, I forgot to open a Philippine bank account. It’s not a priority back then. It was one of the money mistakes I dearly pay with grueling research on how I can open a Philippine bank account in Canada.
I am happy to tell you that I successfully opened a PNB savings account in Canada. And I’m looking for a new luggage to replace the old with its handle missing on its way to visit Mickey Mouse in Disneyland.
Learn from my mistake. Hear my plea and get a savings account while you are still in the Philippines. While you’re there, might as well set up an online account.
Not yet convince by my uninspiring story. Let me convince you by reasoning.
Reasons Why You Should Open a Philippine Bank Account
Maybe you are still planning to become an OFW. But you too should keep on reading. This is an important step in reaching financial independence (FI) or retiring early or simply FIRE (financial independence, retire early).
1. Save as early as possible. Do you have a new job? Put a portion towards emergency fund or paying debt or save for a house. Do not rely on alkansya. Your money wouldn’t gain interest no matter how small and there’s the risk of burglary or natural disaster. Knock on wood.
2. Invest through online discount brokerage. You can invest in stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and ETFs. But before you do, make sure to educate yourself first.
For Pinoys in Canada, you can open an online discount brokerage through Questrade on which I started investing in ETFs. In the Philippines, COL Financial is one of the many online brokerage to choose from. Banks are now offering the same features online.
3. Invest in UITF, PERA, and retail treasury bond (RTB). These are other ways to grow your money while you are sleeping. Go to your bank and inquire about these assets. PERA (similar to RRSP in Canada) and RTB are more conservative approach.
4. Invest in crowdfunding. This is a type of investment on which you can put extra disposable fund. It’s not as risky as cryptocurrency but it’s not for everyone. FarmOn, FundKo, and Cropital are some of the companies that will allow you to fund different businesses (like farming) of our kababayan.
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5. Deposit a check. What are you going to do if you happen to receive a check (from a Philippine bank) with your name on it? How are you going to cash the check?
Here’s a scenario shared by a reader from How to Open a Philippine National Bank Account in Calgary. Because she shared her experience, I was inspired to write this post.
I met with him (PNB staff) and 2 other applicants. One applicant was there to pick up his ATM. He and the other applicant needed theirs for Pag-IBIG. I needed mine because I was issued a cheque in the Philippines.
I tried to deposit mine on my Canadian bank but BDO in the Philippines returned it stating that as per Bangko Sentral they are no longer converting Philippine checks to foreign currency.
I should just have followed your blog and opened this account earlier. Now my cheque is stale and I had to ask Loyola to reissue it (still waiting for them to reissue). Got charged by RBC for processing it even if it was never cashed and had to pay Loyola to reissue. Such a waste of money. Thanks for your blog! Anyone who has a Philippine cheque but no Philippine bank account do this!
Never attempt to deposit it to your Canadian bank; it will save you all the hassle and a lot of money.
Reading her comment was similar to listening to a story of Lola Basyang. It’s scary that makes you want to run away from the situation.
6. Remit and pay the bills. I use my PNB online account to remit money to another PNB account for two reasons. First, my account remains active (dormancy has a fee). Second, I can remit to another PNB account for free; you’ll be charged when transferring to another Philippine bank.
7. Fund your vacation in the Philippines. For my upcoming trip back home, I plan to save my cash allowance in my Philippine bank account and withdraw it when I arrive. This will allow me to get a statement since I cannot get it online. How weird and inefficient. Our banking system has to catch up to foreign banks.
Is there anything else that I miss? I wished I could make it to 8 reasons. Do I sound convincing enough for you not to be part of the unbanked population.
Remember adulting includes having a bank account at back home and somewhere else and buying a durable luggage or backpack (to visit all the Disneyland park in the world; it’s my secret, ambitious goal).
Where did you open a Philippine bank account? How are you using it to your advantage?