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Passbook Account for Banks

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Please be kind and don't give me grief about my questions below, OK?   :-\ I've been researching about banks in the Phils and I have read just about all the info regarding banking here on this forum which is really helpful. The banks have accounts with or without passbooks.  Here goes...

1)  I think I understand that with a passbook account, you will get this little book where they stamp it with the amount of money
     everytime you make a deposit or withdrawal.
     Does this mean that you would not be able to make ATM withdrawals if you have a passbook account?

2)  Can you deposit or withdraw money branch-to-branch - let's say if you have an account with BPI since they have
     many branches?

3)  If you have a passbook account, will your transactions be recorded in their computer system? 

4)  What are the advantages and/or disadvantages of a passbook account?

Honestly, I am ignorant about a passbook account (can you tell?  ;) ). When my husband and I were working (yes, we worked for the same company), Bank of America was just across the street from our office so we just crossed the street to do our banking business.  We seldom used the ATM as well, we just used the tellers for any transactions.

Well, thank you very much. I sure will appreciate your information and answers.


Art, just a re(tired) Fil-Am:
I too have a Bank of America account since day one when I started working in my younger years and still have an account with them today! My accounts here in the Philippines is with BPI since 1998.

I will answer your questions of what I've experience since we retired here in the Philippines since 1998.

1)  I think I understand that with a passbook account, you will get this little book where they stamp it with the amount of money every time you make a deposit or withdrawal. Does this mean that you would not be able to make ATM withdrawals if you have a passbook account?
With an RP passbook account, you will not have ATM or on-line access. You will have to go to your local RP bank in person when you need to deposit or withdraw your money, usually in dollars and convert your dollars into pesos and deposit the pesos into your peso saving  and or checking account that has ATM and on-line access.

2)  Can you deposit or withdraw money branch-to-branch - let's say if you have an account with BPI since they have many branches?
YES, in person and or with an ATM card from your RP local band

3)  If you have a passbook account, will your transactions be recorded in their computer system? 
YES, but you have no ATM and no on-line access with a passbook type account!

4)  What are the advantages and/or disadvantages of a passbook account?
Depends if you have U.S. direct deposit of your pension into your RP local dollar passbook account(which I don't recommend, because your passbook can only be used with that one bank only where you opened your passbook account with direct deposit).
You can write out U.S. personal checks for deposit into your RP local bank dollar savings or passbook account which takes 25 days tio clear and post to you RP local dollar savings account, you have no ATM or on-line access with your RP local bank passbook account, but with a regular RP dollar savings account, you do have ATM and on-line access!

Other tips about banking in the Philippines:
* Avoid using your U.S. credit or ATM cards here in the Philippines unless it's for emergencies, because there are additional charges using ATMs other than your own bank!

*Local RP banks usually have low exchange rates! Looking around for reputable money changers for the better exchange rates!

*IMHO, don't even bother with passbook accounts! Just keep your U.S. bank accounts active with your pension directly deposited into them, checking and or savings. Bring your U.S. bank personal checks with you to the Philippines so you can write out checks for deposit! You could transfer from your U.S. bank to your RP bank account, but it will cost you in service charges! I call my BPI account, my "free banking system", because I just write out my U.S. personal check for deposit into my RP dollar account and pay no additional service fees! When my deposits has cleared after 25 days and has posted, I just go on-line to convert my dollars and transfer my pesos to my other peso accounts and then I just go out to any BPI bank to withdraw my pesos via their ATM, P20,000 limit per day per ATM account or in the bank via their bank teller over the counter to get more than P40,000 from two ATM accounts! 

*I use my BPI ATM card at selected Mercury Drug stores listed on TRICARE Heath Coverage to pay for my prescriptions, because I get two receipts, an OR and cashier receipt I can use to file for my reimbursement claim to TRICARE to get 75% of what I paid for my meds!
I also use my BPI ATM to purchase large ticket items where they accept ATM transactions so I that won't have to carry large sums of pesos on my person! I also have a BPI pesos checking account I use to pay my building contractor by check when our home was being built!

*Keep the majority of your money in your U.S. Bank account and have easy access to it!
Anything over $10,000 in your RP bank dollar/peso account, you'll have to report it to IRS at tax time!

* It's ill advisable to have your U.S. pensions directly deposited to your RP dollar savings account, because you can only avail their dollar passbook type account only at that one branch where you opened your passbook account and without ATM or on-line access, unless you're an old fuddy duddy (miser/tight wad) Granny computer illiterate type of person and that's the way you prefer to do your banking transactions!  ??? :o ;)

*The majority of your other banking answers should be here:

Art....I guess BPI operates different than BDO.  The only accounts I have here, besides the one with the PRA time deposit, are both passbook savings accounts at BDO.  One is dollar and one is peso.  I have both of those set up for online banking and have an BDO ATM debit card which I will sometimes use to pay for groceries at the stores and/or to get pesos from the ATM.  I use online banking to pay Meralco, Cablelink, and the water bill.  Also online, I transfer pesos for the rent to my gf's BDO checking account as she wrote out postdated checks for each month of the year's rent.  Within the next couple of weeks, as soon as I need to, I will do my cp loads online.  I haven't yet or maybe won't but if I do use another BDO branch, there will be fees associated with a withdrawal.  I can not transfer from my passbook dollar to passbook peso online though.  About the only reason I go to the bank is to deposit a check, transfer from the dollar to peso, and maybe get some pesos withdrawn in a bunch of smaller bills to keep on hand.  Oh yeah.  The people at my branch are all nice too so I like to say "hi" to them once in a while and let them see that I am still alive.


Thank you very much for your response.  Believe it or not, this is my second response. I don’t know why my first response didn’t get posted. No matter, here it is again.

This answers my questions and concerns about passbook account.  The information you provided is quite valuable.

We’ve used online banking since it was made available here in the US.  We’ve been banking  with BofA for over 30 years now so we will keep our account open with them.  My husband’s SS checks gets deposited there directly since last year (he opted to receive his pension when he turned 62).  We have no intention of closing our BofA account when we move.

We will need to shop around for banks when we do move to the Philippines. You are right, we will need to have a local credit card as well.  I just hope that we won’t need to pay a membership fee when applying for credit card there. We have VISA and American Express like for ever and never have to pay membership fees.

We’ve never been charged foreign transaction fees using our credit cards abroad and we’ve used our cards many times during our foreign travels. We will, of course, keep our credit cards as well.

Good to know that you can pay for utilities there (electricity, water, gas) through online banking.

Thank you very much again.


Art, just a re(tired) Fil-Am:
Is your BDO dollar passbook account associated with U.S. direct deposit? If not, you are OK and no problem you having ATM and on-line access, because you just have a regular RP dollar passbook account not associated with the U.S. direct deposit system! The key word is "U.S. Direct Deposit" of U.S. dollar accounts in the Philippines with passbook type of an account only, which means to say that "U.S. direct deposits are allowed with dollar passbook accounts only, but not with ATM or internet on-line access"!
I knew a few people who had direct deposit dollar passbook type accounts with BDO and with ATM and on-line internet access! Guess what? They no longer have ATM or on-line access to their U.S direct deposit dollar passbook account here in the Philippines! Eventually when BDO catches on to the fact that people have direct deposit dollar passbook accounts with ATM and on-line access, a BDO representative will be calling them to inform them that according to the RP banking regulation in support with the U.S. government's policy that U.S. pensioner's are not allowed to have U.S. direct deposit passbook type accounts with ATM and on-line access! I know that for a fact, because it happen to me and others in the same situation! That's why I rerouted my U.S. direct deposit of my dollar accounts back to my U.S. bank and just write out my U.S. dollar personal checks for deposit into my "regular BPI dollar account" (not a dollar U.S. direct deposit passbook account) that has ATM and on-line access!
Some retirees will insist on direct depositing their U.S. pensions into their local dollar RP bank account for their convenience and they can, because it's their prerogative and right to do so, but they can only avail their local RP bank's dollar passbook type account without ATM or internet on-line access and only the one branch where they opened their passbook account at!   
BTW there are transaction fees for every direct deposit, I believe it's around $5 now to the forwarding center I forgot what they're called and the automatic direct deposit is usually pretty quick to post in their account like in a few days with the transaction fees have already been debited from each of their pension, if they have more than one pension!     


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