Va Disability And Philippine Banking

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Posted

I feel as though this is a pretty straightforward question that I didn't see answered anywhere else previously... 

If moving to the Philippines, could I set up my disability direct deposit to a bank in the Philippines so that I may avoid any additional fees or lost of money via exchange rate, or would it not really make any difference? I'm just trying to find a way to maximize my money when the time comes for me to move over there. 

Thank you!

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Posted

Welcome.

Yes, you can open up a bank account in a Philippine bank. You can then have your VA check direct deposited to your Philippine bank. There will be a small fee for this by your Philippine bank for exchanging US currency to Philippine pesos. 

I don't think you have to be married to a Filipina to open an account in the PI.

I do it differently but I think I answered your question.

Good Luck and Mabuhay

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Posted

You need the award letter which originally awarded you the payment or a copy. Or a more recent one which you get from VA now and then which mentions your name and the amount you are getting.

 

EXAMPLE: My 2 kids are US Citizens getting supplemental benefits under SS. There's a letter from SS stating how much they are receiving and my wife is the trustee. So she had to take the letter to the bank and open 2 accounts. And me, for my SS, an account in my name.

 

Bank does not act unless they see such a letter as evidence. It is not enough that you will tell them because the bank eg BDO will process based on the details of the award letter.

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Posted

Okay, two very different answers...

Gratefuled, what way do you exactly go about it?

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Posted
pretty straightforward question

 

Dwreck, it really isn't I am afraid. First off you will find as many different banking solutions here as you will find expats, everyone has their own trust level, cash flow needs, bank availability where they finally decide to settle etc. etc. etc. Secondly the banking system here is not exactly what we have come to expect from large banks. Example; you have an account in Bank of America, you can normally conduct transactions anywhere in the country (USA) with out any additional fees or hassles, not so (normally) here in the Philippines, each branch is an independent entity for all intents and purposes, example; We have an account at BPI (Bank of Philippine Islands) at the BF Homes, Paranaque, but if we want to deposit or withdraw Pesos at the branch on Sucat road, Paranaque (maybe 2 kilometers away at most) we have to pay a 100 or 200 peso transaction fee. Another example is that my Niece (in Australia right now) has a Peso and Dollar account at PNP (Philippine National Bank) in Kabisashnan, Paranaque. In order for her to keep it active she could go to the Sydney, Australia branch pay a 200 peso fee to deposit 100 pesos into the account, or I could walk down the street and do it for her (guess which one my wife chooses :1 (103): ).

 

Having said all that, depending where in the states you live you could go to a branch of a Philippine there, move to the Philippines open up an account here, and transfer money between accounts. But I would be willing to bet the farm there will be a transaction fee. If I went this route I would open a dollar account in the states, and a dollar account in the Philippines, transfer what funds I needed, withdraw the dollars, go to a local currency exchange place and get pesos. That way I only would have to pay the transfer fee and not get stuck with the lower exchange rates most banks offer.

 

Now this is what I DO (I get a Military pension from the Uncle Sam also). I have my pension direct deposit into my bank (Citibank) in the states. I opened up a dollar account here in the Philippines (BPI). When needed I go to our branch deposit American checks (in $2000 dollar increments, that's the max allowed by our branch) pay a 200 peso transaction fee and wait 24-30 days for it to clear. Obviously this takes a bit of budgeting and planning. I then will withdraw $ go to our local currency place and get pesos. I am afraid that almost any route you choose you will either pay a transaction fee, get a lower exchange rate or some other fee will be attached. As Robert Heinlein points out "TANSTAAFL" (there aint no such thing as a free lunch) here in the Philippines. 

 

I will expand a bit on the peculiarities of banking (and life in general lololol) here. When we first moved here we built a house, so we were going to transfer large sums of money. I have that account at Citibank, so we went to a branch of Citibank here in Manila. Since at that time I did not have my residency card and was only on a Balikbayan visa, the Branch of Citibank would not allow my name to be on the account. Only my wife could open the account. Regardless of how long I stood on the managers desk, ranted and raved (politely :thumbsup: ), pointed out how illogical it was since I was already a Citibank customer they wouldn't budge. That same day we went to the branch of BPI and they allowed my name to be on the account with my wife "No Problem Sir!" :1 (103):. Maddening, but there it is :hystery: .

 

Good Luck :cheersty:

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Posted

Scott H, thank you again for all of your input, it really helps me put into perspective just how intense this move will be. hahaha 

Well at any rate, I'm so grateful for your input and now I have something else to think about when I go there... I suppose I can just continue to use my Navy Federal Account for now and when the time comes and I have all of my ducks in a row, I can make some decisions from there. 

"Good Luck" indeed! hahaha

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Posted (edited)

Scott h, has nailed the answer.

 

However you did say "disability direct deposit account" In your question, hence my reply.

 

Here in the Philippines, a foreigner transacting even moderate amounts of US Dollars is a valued customer in BDO, BPI, Metrobank, etc, and can usually walk in a have an impromptu meeting with the manager. This is what I would do in your situation, with the caveat that in SM Malls these banks are extremely busy. Try to select a bank outside the Mall. (where robbery and hold up is also more common....RELAX, I'M JOKING OK).

 

I prefer BDO but that's just me.

Edited by chris49
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Posted

Hahaha while I know there are a few dangerous parts of the Philippines, I have done an okay job avoiding them for now and intend to! 

Thanks for your input as well Chris!

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Posted

My experience with BPI has been excellent. No additional fees to deposit a check from my US bank into my BPI USD account. And doing that at multiple BPI locations without having to pay any additional fees. Also BPI has very good online banking where I can transfer money from my BPI USD account to my BPI peso account with no fees and a very good foreign exchange rate. Keep your disability deposits going to a US bank and transfer the money to a BPI USD account by personal check. Works great for me and many others.

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Posted

I have my VA Disability direct deposit going to a Government Direct Express card, (Master Card). It's International and goes on the first of the month no matter where I'm at in the world. I can pull as much as I want from the card to put in a bank account where ever I'm at, limited of course by how much is on the card. It can be limited by the ATM with drawl limit as well but not the banks. If you need $1000.00, you can get it from the bank teller.  

 You use it like any other Debit card to make purchases at stores and restaurants. When you start using it over seas there is an International number you call to let them know it's you and where your living. I have other income split into two more accounts that act as my back up, just in case something does go wrong. But if I can get away with just using my VA disability to live on and use the Direct Express card to move money I will. 

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