Your local bank branch offers an easy way to send money overseas in person. But you’ll save on fees and exchange rates with a money transfer company. We’ve researched the wire transfer fees of some of the top banks in the Philippines to show how they compare against one another and against independent money transfer services.
What kind of fees could I expect?
The fees your bank charges depend on whether you’re sending or receiving the money, as well as whether the recipient or sender is overseas. Some banks charge more depending on how you initiate the wire transfer — for example, online or in person.
Generally it’s cheaper send money domestically because less financial systems are involved. International transfers involve banks and wire processing services for each country — and with it come fees.
Wire transfer fees by major Philippine banks
We’ve gathered the wire transfer fees charged by 4 major Philippine banks. Before switching to a new bank for its lower wire transfer fees, consider its overall suite of financial products. You may also be subject to foreign transaction, minimum balance and other fees — and some banks waive fees depending on your account status.
Banco de Oro (BDO)
Peso account: PHP100 service charge plus PHP0.60 for every PHP200 for documentary stamps
US dollar account: US$5
Peso account: Equivalent of US$10
Foreign currency account: USD$10
An additional charge of US$20 for On-Us charge transactions
Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)
Peso account: PHP150 plus PHP0.60 for every PHP200 for documentary stamps
Foreign currency account: US$6.50
Peso account: PHP600 plus PHP0.60 for every PHP200 for documentary stamps
Foreign currency account: USD$14
Peso account: PHP100 plus PHP0.60 for every PHP200 for documentary stamps
Foreign currency account: US$5
Peso account: PHP125 plus PHP0.60 for every PHP200 for documentary stamps
Foreign currency account: USD$10
Land Bank of the Philippines
Peso account: PHP50 plus PHP0.60 for every PHP200 for documentary stamps
Foreign currency account: US$5
Peso account: Equivalent of US$15 plus PHP0.60 for every PHP200 for documentary stamps
Foreign currency account: USD$15
How can I compare these bank fees?
To make your decisions a bit easier, we’ve gathered wire transfer fees for several US banks below.
When assessing these fees, how much you’ll pay depends on where you’re sending money to and other elements like:
Incoming vs. outgoing. Incoming wire transfers tend to be cheaper than outgoing wire transfers. This is because the sender usually bears the brunt of the costs associated with the wire transfer.
Recurring vs. one-time fees. Some banks offer savings of a few pesos/dollars per transfer when you set up recurring wire transfers.
Initiation fees. Your bank could charge a fee for requesting the wire transfer in a branch or over the phone, instead of online.
Tracer fees. If your recipient hasn’t received your transfer as scheduled, you may need to trace it. This could incur more fees.
Exchange rates. An exchange rate shows how much one currency is worth in another currency. Nearly all banks skew the published exchange rate for a profit, and they aren’t always forthcoming about the margin they add. You may need to call your bank or initiate a transfer online to see the best exchange rate offered.
How can I beat the banks and reduce what I pay in fees?
Many providers give a break on fees if you send more money each time you use its service. Some smaller banks even give you a break on transfers to and from student accounts. This helps parents or guardians avoid being double charged if they’re funding both accounts.
Case study: Wiring US$1,000 to the US
You’ll pay more for an international wire transfer through your bank than you will using an international money transfer service, but you may find that the security and familiarity it offers is worth it. With a bank, you simply log into your existing online bank account to initiate the process, without handing your personal information over to a third party.
Take Jennifer, for example, who wants to send US$1,000 to her aunt in the US from her bank account in Philippine pesos. While she’s more comfortable with the idea of using her local bank, where she holds an account, she decides to compare its rates and fees against a popular online money transfer service.
Here’s a breakdown of what Jessica could pay to transfer US$1,000 to the US.
Local PH bank
Online money transfer service
USD$10 (outgoing international fee)
1 USD = 51.05PHP
1 USD = 50.87 PHP
Total USD received
The biggest drawback here is the cost. Jessica’s bank not only charges an outrageously high transfer fee, but also offers a weaker exchange rate. By going with a money transfer service like WorldRemit, Jessica could save money in fees and charges.
Compare banks to these independent money transfer services
Banks offer a secure and familiar way to complete wire transfers with friends, family members and merchants. However, you can expect to pay high transfer fees on top of weaker exchange rates than you would get by using an online money transfer service.
To send a wire transfer, you’ll need your recipient’s full personal and banking information, including their bank’s name and SWIFT code (if international) and their routing and account number.
Short for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a SWIFT code is an international bank code used for incoming transfers. Every bank has a unique SWIFT code that can be used to identify it in a global financial transaction such as a money transfer.
For international money transfers, it’s better to send money in your recipient’s currency. This takes the burden of converting the currency off of your recipient.
The processing time for a wire transfer varies from bank to bank and depends on several factors, such as whether the wire transfer is domestic or international. Some wire transfers can be processed within the same day if requested before the bank’s cutoff time. Others can take up to five business days.
Aliyyah Camp is a writer and personal finance blogger who helps readers compare personal, student, car and business loans. Aliyyah earned a BA in communication from the University of Pennsylvania and is based in New York, where she enjoys movies and running outdoors.
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