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Philippines – Banking

Philippines is diverse and rapidly evolving. There are a number of local and international banks operating in the country, providing a range of services to both locals and expats. In this article, we will explore the main local and international banks in the Philippines, their contact details, the accounts and services they offer, typical bank opening hours, areas of concern for expats, and the process for opening a bank account as an expat.

Main Local Banks in the Philippines

The main local banks in the Philippines are:

International banks in the Philippines

There are a number of major international banks that have a presence in the Philippines. These include:

  • Citibank – Citibank operates in the Philippines and offers various banking solutions.
  • HSBC – HSBC serves customers in the Philippines with its banking services.
  • Standard Chartered Bank – Standard Chartered is a major international bank with a presence in the Philippines.

Accounts and Services for Expats

Banks in the Philippines offer a range of accounts and services for expats. These include:

  • Savings accounts
  • Current accounts
  • Time deposit accounts
  • Foreign currency accounts
  • Online banking
  • Mobile banking
  • Debit and credit cards
  • Remittance services

Typical Bank Opening Hours

Banking hours in the Philippines vary depending on the bank and the location. However, most banks are open from Monday to Friday, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Areas of Concern for Expats

Expats should be aware of the following when banking in the Philippines:

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  • The banking system is regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), which is responsible for maintaining the stability of the banking system.
  • The BSP requires banks to obtain identification from their customers, which can include a passport, driver’s license, or other government-issued ID.
  • Banking services in the Philippines can sometimes be slow, and there may be long queues in branches.
  • Fees and charges for banking services can be high, particularly for international transfers.

Opening a Bank Account

  1. Research different banks and their account options to find the best fit for your needs.
  2. Visit a branch of the chosen bank and bring the necessary documents, which may include:
  • Passport or government-issued ID
  • Proof of residence (e.g. utility bill or rental agreement)
  • Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) or Special Investor’s Residence Visa (SIRV) for non-Filipino residents
  • Tax Identification Number (TIN) or proof of application for a TIN
  1. Fill out the necessary forms and provide any additional information requested by the bank.
  2. Make an initial deposit to fund the account.
  3. Wait for the account to be approved and activated, which may take several days or longer.
  4. Once the account is activated, you will be given a debit card and/or checks to use for transactions.