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Author Topic: Rates from banks and others  (Read 6041 times)


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Rates from banks and others
« on: December 10, 2007, 09:47:50 AM »
Dear friends,

If you come here you will need to change money and most of you will want the best rate. Banks are expensive. There are money changes, some not as safe, sometimes counterfit bills. But most of these are okay. As someone in the area. Filipinos of course, use money changes too.

Don\'t change money on the streets. Be careful the rate seem to high or the one who it trying to get you to change money is in a hurry. Take your time!

There is a lot that needs to be posted here and some very good information at . And there is a lot of discussion about money exchanging in ouur archives at Philippines at . Remeber, posting has to be here now. So If you have a question, please ask.

I hope those of you who have been here a while will post more about travelers checks, bank cards, best ones and how to use and all the other thing the new people need to know.

Thank you for your participation in the Living in the Philippines Community!

Don A. Herrington
Philippines, Heart of Asia:
Expat, Foreigner, Tourist Forum  of Thousands.

Offline Manila Cockney

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Re: Rates from banks and others
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2008, 11:19:50 PM »
For those coming here on vacation or short term visit the money changer is normally the best place to change money. However for those living here it is not always practical or convenient. I have found it necessary to have a local US Dollar Account as well as a peso account. In fact I have two, one at BPI the other at Citibank. Both banks have advantages and disadvantages. Its best to send dollars to the dollar account, therefore no loss on exchange at the sending end. A simple way of doing this is that if you have a US dollar checking account you can write out a check, and the funds though clearing quickly will be available for your use after 15 working days. This is at both BPI and Citibank, for checks that clear through the New York Clearing. Citibank charge $2 per check whereas at BPI is free.† Sending an electronic SWIFT payment is more expensive, depending mainly on charges by the sending bank, but does have the advantage that funds are available more or less immediately. I have always found that if sent from overseas overnight funds are already in my account at BPI the following morning.

For the majority of my outgoings I use a Philippine Peso MasterCard, issued by Citibank. This automatically pays bills such as PLDT, Meralco, Sky Cable. At least in Manila the card is widely accepted in most shops, restaurants, petrol stations, airline offices.† The credit card is paid online from my Citibank Peso Savings account. If I went to a money changer, I would have to go the bank, collect the dollars. At Citibank I could get up to $1500, out of the ATM, at BPI I would have to go to the teller in the bank, and depending on the amount order in advance.† I would then go to the money changer to do the exchange and come back to the bank to either pay the pesos into the account or use it to pay the credit card. Much easier to sit and home to do this on line, and also not worry about the safety aspects. If you did this on a regular basis I do not trust the bank staff that they would not tip anybody the amount of money you are carrying, plus you never know who else was watching you.†

As for the rate, I have found that BPI offers very good rates. I understand from a discussion with them that they have 3 rates, one for non customers, one for customers with a dollar account, and a premier rate. If you change regularly talk to the local branch manager to give you the premier rate. This is normally about 17ctvs below the the bank mid rate. I was in the bank when a friend was just leaving, he just received dollars. He said he is withdrawing the dollars to get a better rate at the money exchanger opposite. What he did not know was that the rate BPI was giving me was better than the Money Exchanger as I as getting the premier rate.†  

I no longer go to the teller to change money, I go online and transfer funds from my dollar account to my peso account, even its technically at 2 different banks. The dollar account is at Bank of Philippine Islands and peso account at BPI Family bank , a subsidiary of Bank of Philippine Islands . BPI Family only offers a dollar savings book account which is why I opened a dollar ATM account at† Bank of Philippine Islands. If you have a savings book account you have to go to the branch to do the exchange. This though is not as convenient as just going on line. While I can use the Premier Account Teller lane, it still took them too long to process the transaction. Apart from obtaining the rate, it requires additional paperwork and supervisor approval. When transferring online I noticed that BPI are not so live on their rates and if the pesos is rising against the dollar during the day you can transfer online at a rate above what is being shown on Bloomberg. The opposite if the rate is faling!† Citi does the same but the rates are bad.†  

Being able to transact the FX on line does give you the immediate opportunity to buy pesos when you see movements in the currency. Going to the Bank or money changer does not have the immediate convenience. 5 years ago when the peso was falling, I would just exchange about one months supply at a time. Over the last 2 years with a peso rising, I would take a point of view and if I think the peso is going to rise, exchange a lot more. My last exchange was $30,000 giving me enough for a while and not worrying about the falling dollar. There is no way I would change $30,000 at a money changer, I am scared to walk around with more than $500 let alone $30,000.†