How to open a bank account in the Philippines
October 19, 2009
We’ve been constantly receiving questions from our readers regarding opening a bank account in the Philippines. Some questions frequently asked include:
- What are the requirements to open a bank account?
- What IDs are needed?
- Can a foreigner open a bank account in the Philippines?
- How can an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) open an account if he/she is not in the Philippines?
We answer these questions in this article.
Opening a Savings Account in the Philippines
1. Prior to visiting the bank, make sure you have the following requirements:
- at least one (1) valid ID;
- photocopy of your ID;
- two (2) 1×1 photos (sometimes waived because of the ID requirement);
- minimum amount needed to open an account
2. Visit the bank branch you would like to open an account with. This branch will be your “branch of account.”
3. Present your ID and the photocopy. Click here for a list of valid IDs needed to open an account. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank) has required banks to ask for only one ID but there are some banks that still ask for two. To be safe, bring at least two (2) valid IDs and a photocopy of each.
4. You will be given forms to fill up. The Account Information (AI) form is for individuals or joint depositors while the Business Information (BI) form is for businesses or corporate accounts.
5. You will also be asked to fill up the Signature Card. Normally, you need to provide three (3) specimen signatures on the Signature Card. This is what the bank will use in the future to confirm if your transactions are valid by comparing the signatures on the transaction form with the specimen signatures on the Signature Card.
6. Present the account opening balance requirement. This amount needed to open a bank account varies per bank so double check before visiting the bank. Normally, though, this ranges from P3,000 to P5,000.
7. If approved, you will be given your passbook or ATM card. Some banks, however, will ask you to return after several days to pick up your newly-created ATM card.
8. Your ATM card package will contain your randomly-generated PIN number. You are advised to change your PIN number as soon as you receive your ATM card.
Opening a Checking Account in the Philippines
For checking accounts, most banks require that you have maintained a savings account with them for at least six (6) months. You need not anymore fill up the Account Information or submit another ID or photo. Just go to your branch of account and tell the “New Accounts” staff that you’d like to open a checking account with them. Checking accounts have higher balance requirements so check this prior to opening the account.
Philippine Bank Account for Foreigners
Foreigners can open a bank account in the Philippines. The distinction in the account opening process, however, is in the status of the foreigner.
Resident aliens or those foreigners who been staying in the Philippines for at least 180 days can open accounts similarly available to Filipino citizens. Non-resident aliens, on the other hand, are usually allowed to open foreign currency deposit accounts only.
The steps to open an account follow the steps mentioned above. Banks require that you show your passport and Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR I-Card) when opening an account.
Bank Account for OFWs
Philippine banks require that you are present in the branch of account when signing the Signature Card. This means Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs cannot open a bank account in the Philippines if they are not in the Philippines.
OFWs who want to have a bank account must ensure that they open an account prior to leaving the country or when they return for a vacation. Alternatively, look for an overseas branch of your preferred bank and open an account there.
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