If an OFW wants to put up an online business or start investing in various financial instruments, he has to have a savings account for him to facilitate his transactions efficiently.
However, opening a regular savings account in the Philippines may not be too affordable for an OFW because of high required minimum maintaining balance. Remember that OFWs’ remittances to family members back home are oftentimes consumed to the last drop that leaving at least Php2,000.00 in their bank account may not be possible at all. In fact, if only a Php1.00 coin can be withdrawn from the ATM, their loved ones back home will definitely do it.
So let’s identify what are the most affordable and convenient savings accounts available in the Philippines for OFWs to take advantage of.
BDO Kabayan Savings
The good thing about opening a BDO Kabayan Savings is that an OFW only has to deposit a minimal amount of Php50.00 for the Peso Account and USD100 for Dollar Account. That already includes an ATM card and a passbook. BDO Kabayan Savings also does not require a minimum maintaining balance so you need not worry about it being deactivated by BDO. But, you need to make at least one deposit/remittance transaction within a year to avoid being charged with a dormancy fee.
Having a BDO Kabayan Savings will also provide OFWs convenient access to other BDO products such as the Asenso Kabayan loans and insurance through auto-debit arrangements. This is also good for those who may want to try “automatic” affordable investing in UITFs (unit investment trust funds) of BDO through the EIP (Easy Investment Plan).
Based on my experience, I only presented my Philippine driver’s license when I opened by BDO Kabayan Savings. That means if you are an OFW, you only have to present one valid ID when opening this account. Just the other week, I texted my mother to open a Kabayan Savings for herself in Marikina. She told the bank officer that she is my beneficiary and then presented her Senior’s Citizen ID. Her application was processed right away. Sweet.
Make sure to tell the bank officer that you want enroll your account for an internet banking facility to maximize its worth.
PNB Global Filipino (OFW) Peso Account
I don’t have an account with the Philippine National Bank (PNB) but based on their website, they offer a special ATM Peso account for OFWs called the Global Filipino Peso Account.
You don’t need to have money on hand for you to open this account. It also requires no minimum maintaining balance.
So if you are a newly-hired overseas worker or an OFW on vacation still processing papers at the POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration), you can open a Global Filipino Peso Account at their branch inside the POEA building. Or at any PNB branch near you.
UCPB’s U-Remit ATM Savings
An OFW has to present only one valid proof of their OFW status upon account opening. According to UCPB’s website, the following can be presented in lieu of IDs:
• Unexpired overseas employment contract
• OEC or overseas employment certificate issued within the last 6 months
• A copy of your working visa
• An employment pass (for countries requiring this)
• Residence ID where an OFW is based such as Iqama, Sojourno, Green Card, Permanent Resident Card, etc.
Together with any of the above-mentioned documents, you just need to submit a standard UCPB account opening form.
For the U-Remit ATM Peso Savings Account, there is no initial deposit and no required maintaining balance.
Similar to other savings accounts offered by banks to OFWs, BPInoy Savings Account requires no initial deposit and maintaining balance. However, you need to have at least one remittance transaction every 6 months to avoid dormancy.
If you ran out of cash in the country where you are working, BPInoy ATM cards can be used in Cirrus-affiliated ATMs in over 210 countries in the currency of the country you are in, subject to corresponding transaction charges.
You can monitor your account balance, transfer funds, pay bills or reload cellphones through BPI Express Online or even via your roaming cellphone with BPI Express Mobile.
However, while BPI Direct Savings Bank claims that you can open an account from anywhere in the world online, that is entirely a joke. You still need to nominate a branch in the Philippines for you to pick up your ATM card in your next sweet homecoming.
I just hate it when banks fool you by saying that you can open an account online. Seriously.
Metrobank OFW Peso Savings Account (ATM/Passbook)
Metrobank’s OFW Peso Savings Account is very similar to BDO’s Kabayan Savings in terms of account opening requirements. You also need to have an initial deposit of Php50.00 only. No maintaining balance. (UPDATE: There is no more initial deposit required to open an OFW Peso Savings Account. Zero maintaining balance. However, your OFW Savings account will be converted to a regular account if there are no foreign inward remittances within a year.)
And if in case you were not able to remit any amount in 6 months, you OFW Peso Savings Account will be converted into a Regular Account. Which means your account will be under the spell of a burdensome minimum maintaining balance.
But what caught my attention is that you can present a “Barangay Certification” to the bank officer in case you don’t have your ID’s with you when you open an OFW Peso Savings.
So be good to your Barangay Chairman. Make him believe that you will vote for him in the next election as an Overseas Absentee Voter. 😛
Don’t forget to always bring the following with you when opening a bank account:
1. ID photos (1×1 or 2×2)
3. Remittance invoice/slip copies (for experienced OFWs)
Other banks are also offering similar services and products for OFWs like Chinabank, Landbank, RCBC, etc. Also, the savings accounts that I included in this list have services available in countries where most OFWs are located.
If you have a savings account from another bank with similar offers for OFW’s, please do not hesitate to share the information in our comment box below.
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I’m inviting you to attend our entrep webinar called “Negosyo 101 for OFW’s: A Crash Course on Entrepreneurship and Business Development“ on September 28, 2013 at 3PM (Philippine time) with our ever reliable personal finance blogging celebrity Fitz Villafuerte. This online seminar is cool and fits (Fitz!) those who are based abroad and either wanting to grab business ideas or just expand/grow their existing ventures. You can get more details of the webinar by clicking here.
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