That’s what I am reading on several forums on the internet. Pension companies, SSS and others do not like to send your money to the Philippines directly. +Not to mention the fact that sending money from the United States and Canada carries with it varied tax stipulations for senders when they go to prepare their e-file. + For that reason an EXPAT has to find an other way of getting his money here. And going to get it yourself in your home country every month is NOT an option.
Many people are using bank checks to get their money available in the Philippines. Others are asking their family to transfer money to them through Western Union, Xoom or other companies. Some are using their credit cards and withdraw from ATM machines. All these methods cost lots of money. Costs vary on the way they do it and varies per bank. I have read of percentages of 5 to 10,
and that is a lot pesos which can NOT be spend on some cold SanMig.
Why not try to do it much cheaper, easier and keep the control over your money by yourself.
Did you ever hear of ON-LINE banking?
On-line banking is easy and 24/7 available.
Today, most large national banks, many regional banks and even smaller banks and credit unions offer some form of online banking, variously known as PC banking, home banking, electronic banking or Internet banking.
Check What is online banking? and/or check the website of your own bank if they offer this service. If they do: check the terms and just apply for it. In the mean time you take care for a bank account in the Philippines with an ATM card (BDO is good and easy). Ask your Philippine bank for their BIC or IBAN code, this is a code to recognize the bank in the world and makes transfers faster.
After you have applied for on-line banking and it is approved you can easily transfer your own money from the USA or Europe or other country to your bank in the Philippines. All you have to do is logging in on the secured pages of your bank, make a money transfer to your account in the Philippines, and send it by filling in a secret code (your bank will provide you with that). After that, two days later your money is available for you in the Philippines.
All you have to take care for is that your pension, SSS or whatever money you receive is put on your bank in your home country.
In my case I have a bank account in the Netherlands with ING-bank. My pension is monthly put on this account. I am using on-line banking for more than 5 years now, never had any problems.
And I have a BDO bank account with ATM card in the Philippines on both our names (my wife and me).
Transfering 1000 euro ( 1,369.05 USD as of today Nov 13, 2010) cost me 5 euro ( 6.85 USD = ½ percent of the transfered amount) and the money is available in the Philippines after 48 hours. BDO always gives a good rate and do not charge me any more. BDO offers also on-line banking so you can check when your money is available. Is also handy to pay your monthly electricity bills, water bills and more (you don’t have to fall in line at the bayad center anymore).
Do the test
Compare how much it will cost you at the moment to transfer 1000 dollars or Euros to the Philippines, with how much on-line banking costs in your case. And do not forget that you are the one in control over your own money. You have to ask your bank (USA, Europe etc.) how much they charge you to transfer such amount to the Philippines.
And calculate how much money you loose every time you have to cash a check or when you get money from the ATM with your credit card. Not to mention the high fees for Western Union and other companies like that.
Also check how fast you will have your pesos in your hand by the present way of getting your money.
Is on-line banking safe?
Yes, I think so. The websites of the banks have secured pages where you have to login with user name and password. Only then you have access to your account data and are you able to send money. For every transfer you make you are asked for a secret code to make sure that it is YOU who is transfering money. Some banks are using a TAN codes list, others are using a security token device to produce that TAN code. Both ways are proven very safe.
I would appreciate your views on this matter, your experiences and how much money you loose every time you transfer money to the Philippines.
If you use on-line banking already, please let me and other users know about your experiences, costs and the like.