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BrettGC

International Banks

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So, on my return to Australia recently I was unpleasantly surprised to see on my bank statement that I'd been charged $60AUD for international withdrawals for the month of November.  This is the first time this has happened with my local bank, Bank of Queensland for those that are interested, and it's in addition to the standard 250PHP "other bank" ATM fee we get whacked every time we withdraw money in PI.  I've lost my BPI card and it wasn't worth the hassle of replacing it for the month I was there.  

I've been doing some research and Citibank (an international bank) offers a service where you can transfer funds internationally to other Citibank accounts for free.  No I haven't checked out the comparative exchange rates and how much they take but I suspect it's better than $60/month, especially once I move there permanently.  Unfortunately my navy pension has to be deposited into an Account within Australia.  Yes, I know there's no Citibank branch in Dumaguete and I'll still be copping the 250PHP fee.

Now here's the crunch:  It's easy enough for me to open a Citibank account here in Australia by simply applying online (sending the appropriate ID of course) but the closest Citibank branch to Dumaguete is Cebu City and of course, there's all the hoops we have to jump through to open an account in PI plus a special trip to open the actual account.  Bit of a PITA.

All of that aside, does anyone have any experience in dealing with these international banks?  I know HSBC offers similar services; any others with a presence in Australia that may be worth investigating?

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56 minutes ago, BrettGC said:

I know HSBC offers similar services; any others with a presence in Australia that may be worth investigating?

My British friend who has a HSBC account looked into opening one here. He said it such a pain he gave up but your mileage might vary. :thumbsup:

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4 minutes ago, Jollygoodfellow said:

My British friend who has a HSBC account looked into opening one here. He said it such a pain he gave up but your mileage might vary. :thumbsup:

It looks like he had a bank employee on his/her off day. I arrived in country with an HSBC account from the UK in March this year. I was only in country a couple of weeks and walked into the HSBC at the Enterprise Tower in Makati. All they asked for was proof of address. They wouldn't accept my rental agreement for the condo in Taguig but for some strange reason accepted my address back in Scotland as it was tied to my UK bank account. The set me up with a checking and savings account ( pounds and peso). Two weeks later I was the proud owner of two credit cards which enables me to make free withdrawals. The only criteria is I have to keep 100,000 peso in the account.

I transfer my UK pension into the pound account which costs £5 per transaction then when the exchange rate is good I move the money into my peso account.

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11 minutes ago, Snowy79 said:

I transfer my UK pension into the pound account which costs £5 per transaction then when the exchange rate is good I move the money into my peso account.

That's exactly what I'm looking to do Snowy... AUD though of course.

Just spoke to Citibank on the phone and they can open my PI account from here in Australia so problem solved :thumbsup:

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2 hours ago, Snowy79 said:

It looks like he had a bank employee on his/her off day. I arrived in country with an HSBC account from the UK in March this year. I was only in country a couple of weeks and walked into the HSBC at the Enterprise Tower in Makati. All they asked for was proof of address. They wouldn't accept my rental agreement for the condo in Taguig but for some strange reason accepted my address back in Scotland as it was tied to my UK bank account. The set me up with a checking and savings account ( pounds and peso). Two weeks later I was the proud owner of two credit cards which enables me to make free withdrawals. The only criteria is I have to keep 100,000 peso in the account.

I transfer my UK pension into the pound account which costs £5 per transaction then when the exchange rate is good I move the money into my peso account.

My friend tried to open a HSBC account in Cebu and also gave up because of the hassle.Maybe it is different depending on where you try to open an account.

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3 hours ago, BrettGC said:

I've been doing some research and Citibank (

When we first moved and needed to transfer large sums to build our house we had a Citibank US account.  Our plan was to transfer funds like you describe. On arrival I naturally could not open a Citibank account here so we put it in the wife's name. It worked fine. Luckily we had a Citibank branch close by.

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2 minutes ago, scott h said:

When we first moved and needed to transfer large sums to build our house we had a Citibank US account.  Our plan was to transfer funds like you describe. On arrival I naturally could not open a Citibank account here so we put it in the wife's name. It worked fine. Luckily we had a Citibank branch close by.

Thankfully Citibank will open my PI account from here in Australia.  Seems to fly in the face of what we know about opening accounts there but I'll roll with it.

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6 hours ago, BrettGC said:

Thankfully Citibank will open my PI account from here in Australia.  Seems to fly in the face of what we know about opening accounts there but I'll roll with it.

Hopefully, let us know what happens :thumbsup:

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On 12/18/2017 at 4:39 AM, BrettGC said:

Thankfully Citibank will open my PI account from here in Australia.  Seems to fly in the face of what we know about opening accounts there but I'll roll with it.

Please follow up with success or not.  I'm looking at the same arrangement, but from the US.  I'm just about to change my primary US bank and figured I should move to a bank with branches here and in PI.  I still have about a year and a half before I move, but if I'm changing banks now I might as well go with one that has branches in both countries.

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3 hours ago, Maxheadspace said:

I should move to a bank with branches here and in PI.

There is not much to choose from in this regard, and if they have branches in the Philippines, they are only in Manila and maybe Cebu.  If you don't live in one of those two cities it is not really practical to visit a branch.

I have kept my Chase bank account from the U.S. and it works fine for me.  They have a commercial banking branch in Makati but no personal banking.  The only transactions I do are to write checks to my BPI dollar account.  There are no fees and I have never had any issues.

Let us know if you find a good one!

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