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Heads Up: My experience with Metro, BDO, and BPI Checking Account Set UP


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On common advice I went to set up checking with one of the three big banks. I wanted to have access to branches wherever I went and also good online banking. What a hassle it was. Both Metro and BDO won't allow a checking account until you have a savings account with them for six months. They apparently want to use your money and provide no services for it. BPI allowed me to set up checking but it was difficult. I had to justify my reason for wanting a checking account. They kept saying cash is how things are done in the Philippines. At first they wanted a letter of endorsement. After much complaining a supervisor said I could set up an account. Then the agent insisted that my middle name was part of my first name in the way she was reading the U.S. passport. Then I was forced to fill out a W9 form which is used to get a tax ID for a business in the U.S. I explained this but they insisted that I fill it out anyway. That actually makes me pretty nervous. I got the peso account which is what I wanted for local transactions. I was told that dollar checks cannot be deposited into it. 

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3 hours ago, KenM said:

I had to justify my reason for wanting a checking account.

Just wait until you try to issue a check for a purchase. I will wager that IF an establishment even accepts it, you will have to wait until the check clears (for the first time) before you get your merchandise. We set up a checking account when we were building our house besides our local building supplier the only other place we use it is at our veterinarian,,,,when we send the maids to pay. 

3 hours ago, KenM said:

I was told that dollar checks cannot be deposited into it. 

Our bank is the same. We have a dollar and a peso account.  We have to deposit dollar checks into the dollar account, wait for the checks to clear from the USA, withdrawal dollars, change into pesos and deposit them into the peso account. 

3 hours ago, KenM said:

I wanted to have access to branches wherever I went

 I dont know if you are aware of this Ken, but unlike the states, unless you are only using your ATM the banks here are usually not interconnected. Each is its own little fiefdom. If you go to any branch ant try to cash or deposit a check they will probably charge you a service fee. Even then they will probably call your home branch and verify you are who you say you are and have funds available.

 

not in kansas.webp

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7 minutes ago, scott h said:

 I dont know if you are aware of this Ken, but unlike the states, unless you are only using your ATM the banks here are usually not interconnected. Each is its own little fiefdom. If you go to any branch ant try to cash or deposit a check they will probably charge you a service fee. Even then they will probably call your home branch and verify you are who you say you are and have funds available.

Good point. I went into the PNB branch in Angeles City to change my address from Cebu to AC. They told me I had to go to the Cebu  branch where I opened the account to do that. Not what I expected from a “National” bank! 

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6 hours ago, KenM said:

Then I was forced to fill out a W9 form which is used to get a tax ID for a business in the U.S.

Might be wrong but I think all Americans have to do that these days? Or was it something similar I cant remember. FATCA for reporting overseas accounts.

Quote

Did you receive a FATCA letter?

You are among the many Americans who have a bank account in a foreign country. This is why you received this letter and if you haven’t received this letter you probably will in the near future.  In this letter it states that your foreign bank account information will be turned over to the USA they may even be asking you to fill out an IRS form W-9.  Why is my foreign bank asking me to fill out a US IRS form? The IRS plans on getting your foreign bank balances and interest received.

 

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6 hours ago, KenM said:

On common advice I went to set up checking with one of the three big banks.

Not sure what you need peso checks for????  The only use of a peso check I have heard of is when an idiot landlord demands 12 post dated checks.  I would tell them we live in the space age and they can stick the checks in Uranus.

I have had BPI savings, both dollar and peso, for 10 years.  I rarely use the ATM card but my wife uses hers once in a while.  We use BPI Online for all our needs.  Phone load, transfers, bill pay, etc.  I have a few bills that BPI doesn't handle so I transfer money to GCash and pay the bill there.

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Just now, Jollygoodfellow said:

Might be wrong but I think all Americans have to do that these days? Or was it something similar I cant remember. FATCA for reporting overseas accounts.

Correct!  The W9 has a tickbox for individual.

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Thanks for the information. I now need to wire transfer funds from Chase in the states into the account at BPI. There is no option to wire funds in Peso from Chase. Can the Peso account accept a wire transfer in dollars? If not, is there a different service I should use? Or must I also set up a dollar account? I really dont' want to go through that again.

I don't intend to write checks except when post dated checks are required for purchases. I want to be able to pay things digitally like my rent. 

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1 hour ago, Jollygoodfellow said:

Might be wrong but I think all Americans have to do that these days? Or was it something similar I cant remember. FATCA for reporting overseas accounts.

 

My wife is a permanent resident of the US. She had to fill out the W-9 to open a checking account at BPI last month. I filled it out and sent it to her to sign. There is in fact a check box for individual/sole proprietorship on the form.

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19 minutes ago, baronapart said:

My wife is a permanent resident of the US. She had to fill out the W-9 to open a checking account at BPI last month. I filled it out and sent it to her to sign. There is in fact a check box for individual/sole proprietorship on the form.

yes I thought so and recall something in previous topics. A law came in about it maybe 5 years ago or who knows when. 

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2 hours ago, KenM said:

Thanks for the information. I now need to wire transfer funds from Chase in the states into the account at BPI. There is no option to wire funds in Peso from Chase. Can the Peso account accept a wire transfer in dollars? If not, is there a different service I should use? Or must I also set up a dollar account? I really dont' want to go through that again.

I don't intend to write checks except when post dated checks are required for purchases. I want to be able to pay things digitally like my rent. 

It sounds like you don't need a checking account.  I've never been asked to write a check here, and everything has been done with cash, bank bill pay, Gcash or PayMaya.

I recommend you open a dollar savings account for wire transfers from Chase.  Unlike BDO, BPI will not charge you any wire transfer acceptance or dollar to peso account transfer fees, which will be in addition to your Chase wire transfer fees unless you have Sapphire or Private Client Banking.  Additionally, despite what many believe, wire transfers are not instant and may take days especially if you requested the transfer on weekends, holidays, off banking hours etc.  Look into money transfer services like Xoom or Remitly to see if it is a better option for you.

Taking fees into account at my Schwab bank, I personally only use wire transfer service when I need to send over $3k and don't need the funds immediately.  Otherwise, I use ATM and/or Xoom service for dollar transfer to BDO which is instant or to BPI which may take up to several hours.   

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