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Opening a bank account in the Philippines. Peculiarities of the local banking system.

Let us consider the banking system of the Philippines. As it turns out, its system is quite developed and diverse so it is worth finding out more about bank accounts in the Philippines.

This article will review the bank account opening process in the Philippines, document requirements and peculiarities of Philippines’ banking system.

How does one set up a bank account in the Philippines?

To open an account with any Philippines bank, be that personal or corporate, you will need to attend in person. A standard document package is usually required but different banks may have specific requirements.

Any non-resident intending to set up a bank account in the Philippines needs the ACR I-card which is an alien’s identification card. Card applications are accepted at the main office of the Immigration Bureau or at any branch throughout the country.

Banks may request a letter of reference from the non-resident’s current or previous bank and contact the bank for verification.

Depending on the bank, a minimum deposit may be required to open an account. Every bank has their own deposit amount which also varies depending on the account type and activities.

Account opening for a local company will take one day while with non-resident companies it may take from several weeks to 2 months.

Intending to open a bank account in the Philippines — What is the best bank to choose?

The Philippines’s banking system is compliant with the international standards, and it is also quite diverse: commercial banks, branches of international banks, domestic banks and small banking institutions.

Non-residents should consider major commercial banks of the Philippines, e.g. BDO Bank, BPI and Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company. Those banks are well-reputed and provide comprehensive customer services. And their websites offer the essential information and bank management contacts.

One could also consider international banks such as Citibank, Bank of America, Standard Chartered Bank and HBSC. And it is best to avoid small banks: those institutions do not enjoy a good reputation and offer limited services to their customers. Bank branches and their ATMs are generally found in big cities but ATMs are not available everywhere.

It may seem that setting up a bank account in a foreign jurisdiction is an easy task. But those who have already tackled the task would not agree.

Why waste time if one could engage professionals? SBSB lawyers know all about opening bank accounts in various jurisdictions and will be happy to help. And there are free online consultations via the SBSB Telegram chat.