Money Matters of an Expat in the Philippines
As an expat in the Philippines, money really matters. It is very important to set up your own local banking counterpart and know the accessibility of ATM machines. An expat must know the locations of authorized moneychangers and currency converters.
The Philippines has many banking institutions that expats usually patronize. The list includes, but not limited to, Bank of America, Standard Chartered Bank, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Citibank, Metrobank, Hong Kong Shanghai Bank, and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation. It is obviously convenient if an expat is paid electronically through a US bank account that can be withdrawn in Philippine Peso currency from a local ATM.
Banks in the Philippines are usually open from 9AM to 3PM from Monday to Friday, except on holidays. The passport of an expat is required for identification. Major household bills such as electricity, telephone, and water bills can be paid through the banks. The SSS (social security) contributions of an expat's house helpers can also be paid through any banks in the Philippines. Just be sure that you have all the receipts filed.
An expat can have a Non-Peso account or Dollar account in any major bank. An expat should know that the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation or PDIC insures accounts up to 250,000 pesos for every customer. However, if we take a worse case scenario, PDIC stated that it might take as long as two weeks to clear a check. This time frame depends on the bank you chose to transact with. That wait time can get longer, so a good tip for expats is not to rely so much on checks if you really need cash fast.
Just like in the Unites States, it is necessary for an expat to inquire with any bank for their charges, interest rates, and balances before making any accounts. ATM machines can be found anywhere in the Philippines especially in malls and shopping areas. But if ATMs go offline, having some cash on hand is also wonderful. Having a small home safe is a great investment so an expat will have extra cash in case of emergency. Just be sure that the safe is locked safely.
If an expat has an international credit card, it can be used in the Philippines. But not all establishments in the Philippines accept international credit cards. Applying for a local credit card is also advisable for an expat. There are also gas stations that give out gas cards and take credit cards as well. Having these can be convenient for an expat and the driver.
There are a lot of moneychangers in the Philippines. Moneychangers are available at hotels, shopping centers, banks, and other moneychanger shops that are accredited and authorized by the Central Bank of the Philippines. An expat must first know the official exchange rate of the day before going to any moneychanger to have a good idea of how much money an expat is getting in the PhP currency.
Money is an important matter for an expat in the Philippines. Having knowledge of the banking policies of the major banks in the Philippines is a great advantage for an expat in keeping track of money.