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Money Review: Getting a Bank Account in the Philippines

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Last week, we featured the characteristics of the local banks and more tips about Banking in the Philippines. This time, let’s find out how foreigners can open a bank account in the Philippines.


For foreigners living in the Philippines who wish to open a bank account here, the first step is to secure an ACR I-Card. The benefits of acquiring this card were discussed in “The Perks of Having an ACR I-Card.” 




Local banks in the Philippines have their own requirements and rules for opening a bank account. The procedure can be easy with the following general guidelines: 

  • Know and prepare the requirements. Most local banks will require the following for any new depositor:

    • Two (2) valid IDs with your name, recent picture and signature on it (Passport, Driver’s License, School ID, office ID, and the like).

    • Two (2) photocopies of your valid IDs. Put your signature below each copy.

    • 2 copies of 1×1 size of ID picture. Photo must be recent.

    • Proof of billing or billing statement. (For example, electric bill, water bill, cable TV bill, internet bill, etc. These are proofs that the Philippine home address that you declare is not bogus.)

    • Birth certificate – This is usually required for depositors below 18.

    • Foreigners are required to present their ACR I-Card. 


  • Choose which type of savings account in the Philippines suits your banking needs. Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), for example, has different types of savings account with different features. You may inquire about this when you visit any bank. From there, you can choose which type suits your banking needs. As a guide, here are things to consider:

    • Know the bank’s rules about maintaining balance.

    • Banking fees and service fees – These are fees that they sometimes charge if you use your ATM card via another bank’s ATM.

    • Special banking options – Most banks offer online banking and phone banking services for your convenience. For example, for BPI, once you are a depositor and enrolled in BPI Express Online, you can do many bank transactions online like viewing your bank statement, bills payment, transfer of funds, linking your payroll account with your personal account online for easy money transfer, and more! For this bank, you may also do these transactions via a landline phone using their BPI Express Phone banking service. Banco de Oro’s Online Banking has similar features, plus additional services like providing reload for prepaid mobile phones or sending money through telegraphic transfer (Wire Transfer).

    • Interest rate – Each local bank has their own interest rates for a savings account. They also have specific rules about interest rates per bank. For example, BPI Family Bank has a P3,000 minimum deposit requirement but this will only earn interest if the deposit is P5,000.

    • Banking hours – Most banks are closed after 3:00 pm. So far, only Banco de Oro extends their banking hours until 6:00 pm or 6:30 pm. BDO is open Monday to Sunday for branches located in shopping malls.

Every bank has their own unique package services to offer their depositors. How their services match your financial needs will determine which bank is best for you.



Author: Marcelle Villegas

Related Posts:

ACR I-Card for Foreign Nationals in the Philippines

The Perks of Having an ACR I-Card


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  1. This is very informative. Thank you!

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