How to open a Philippine bank account (for foreigners and Filipinos)
We’ve been getting questions from our readers regarding how to open a bank account in the Philippines. Some questions they’ve frequently asked us include:
- What are the requirements to open a bank account?
- What IDs are accepted by banks?
- Can a foreigner open a bank account in the Philippines?
We answer these questions in this article.
How to Open a Savings Account in the Philippines (Filipino applicants)
1. Prior to visiting the bank, make sure you have the following requirements:
- at least one (1) valid ID, but preferably bring two since some banks still require two;
- photocopy of the ID, although some banks will photocopy the ID for you so confirm with the bank beforehand if you need to bring a photocopy;
- 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 accepted by banks when you open an account. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank) has required banks since 2008 to require only one ID, but there are some banks until now that still ask for two. To be safe, bring two (2) valid IDs and a photocopy of each.
4. You will be given forms to fill out. 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 sign 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 in the Signature Card. It is thus very important for you to remember how you signed in the Signature Card. In your future transactions, the bank might ask you to sign the transaction forms again if they saw a discrepancy in the signatures.
6. Submit your initial bank account deposit. Double-check what the minimum amount is before you go to the bank. The minimum deposit requirement varies per bank but for typical savings account, this ranges between P1,000 and P5,000. Warning: Make sure you give your cash only to an authorized bank teller or employee of the bank!
7. If approved, you will be given a passbook or ATM card. Some banks, however, will ask you to come back after several days to pick up your brand-new ATM card.
8. Your ATM card package will contain your randomly-generated PIN number. In some cases, you are required to activate the card in an ATM before you can use it. You are also advised to change your PIN number as soon as you receive your ATM card.
How to Open a Checking Account in the Philippines (for Filipinos)
For checking accounts, most banks require first that you maintain a savings account with them for at least six (6) months. Most of the big banks in the Philippines won’t allow you to open a checking account unless you’ve met this requirement.
You need not anymore fill out 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 what this amount is before opening an account.
How to open a Philippine Bank Account (for Foreigners)
Are foreigners allowed to open a bank account in the Philippines?
Yes! But depending on the status of the foreigner, the type of bank account allowed may differ.
Resident aliens, or those foreigners who been staying in the Philippines for at least 180 days, can open accounts similarly available to Filipino citizens. The steps to open an account are the same as the steps above (for Filipino applicants). As for the accepted ID, however, banks require that you show your passport and Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR I-Card) when opening an account.
Non-resident aliens, or foreigners who have been here in the Philippines for less than 180 days, are usually allowed to open a foreign currency deposit account only.
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