How to lower the cost of fund transfers
I was asked how do I get funds from a UK bank to the Philippines for my daily living expenses etc, wondering why I was asked this it transpired that some foreign visitors have difficulty or find that the method they currently use is expensive.
I was asked this very same question a few more times and at that point decide to put this article together and publish it for others who may have a similar question or indeed wish to know more and how to save on those bank fees.
ATM (Automatic Teller Machine)
The common methods used are ATM withdrawals using a bank credit/debit card linked to a bank account in the country of origin.This is OK for small amounts of cash and for short term use, however it is one of the most expensive approaches.
Wire Transfer – Bank to Bank
The next step would be to wire transfer funds into a Filipino bank account.
This is all very well if you have a bank account here or you at least know someone you can trust who has. It is not a case of visiting the Philippines and opening a bank account for the duration of your visit. Many factors in addition to visa regulations have to be adhered to, as for opening a bank account a foreigner requires to provide documentation to confirm that they are indeed a permanent residence of the Philippines.
Wire Transfers are indeed very widely used, the things to consider here are that you are tied to both a transaction fee and the exchange rate the bank will use, The way I see it is that they instigate a swings and roundabouts approach here, a bank may offer a very attractive low fee however the exchange rate they use may not be so favourable. Also the time period, a transaction can take 10 to 14 working days to completion, I know, why is it that in this day and age it takes so long to give you your money yet when they charge you it is instantaneous.
Trading with the best exchange rate
Let’s look at the general process for international transfers for both small amounts of less than $3,000 to larger amounts of $3K+ for major purchases like property for example.
Obviously if intending to transfer large amounts of currency even a 0.001% change in the exchange rate would have a large effect on the amount transferred.
With this in mind I will cover getting favourable transfer fees and obtaining a good currency exchange rate at the time of the intended transfer.
I will point out that although there is reference to currency trading, trading is not reserved for businesses, individuals can do this too, if you personally transfer funds to a friend or family member in another country you are as an individual effectively acting as a trader.
For many years I have used UKForex for money transfers to bank accounts in other countries, I say other countries the main country & bank I transferred to was CajaRural in Spain, as I lived there for many years prior to moving to the Philippines.
I have transferred varying amounts from $100 to $60,000, there is a fixed favourable fee for transfers up to $3,000 and there is no fee for transactions of $3,000 or more, whatever the amount the most favourable exchange rate for that day or time period requested is used. The transaction period is compatible with the banks (10 to 14 days). This time scale has been reduced effective as of July 2018.
For larger transactions I would always use this method.
There is however a way to transfer funds within minutes and minimal associated fees, I would always use this method for smaller amounts, $30 to $3,000, although larger amounts can be transferred using this method.
Although this incurs no transfer fees it must be mentioned that transaction fees apply. The transaction fees vary from e-Wallet to e-Wallet, this is where you store, send & receive your crypto currency. However, do not fret, these transaction fees are extremely low, check your e-Wallet fees.
The Crypto Service Provider I use is CEX.IO, their service has a very low operating cost, they charge no transfer fees, the only fee charged is what is called a miners fee, this is common for all e-Wallet service providers.
Other important factors that makes CEX.IO my chosen e-Wallet is the support, customer service provided and the fact that it is available to most countries globally for verification purposes. In effect this means that a Filipino can have a CEX.IO e-Wallet linked to their bank account.
I will point out that many Filipinos will find it a tedious process to get verified, if they had a Philippines Passport then this would not be such an issue but as you can appreciate many Filipinos have no need or indeed can afford to have one.
How to Withdraw Bitcoin to Bank Cash in the Philippines
There are a number of ways this can be achieved, peer to peer is where you transfer your bitcoins to another person who will exchange this for cash, be aware of this kind of deal and ensure that you know and trust the other party. in effect you are giving someone your money in the hope that they trade your bitcoin for cash, hence trust & know this person.
If you choose to trade this way and do not know the other person then ensure an escrow account holds your funds and only releases them when you or the recipient has the cash in their pocket. When it is confirmed that the money has been received then your bitcoin(s) are released.
This was brought to my attention only recently and is in my opinion the best option to withdraw cash from bitcoin in the Philippines, many outlets now accept coins.ph as well as paying bills on-line you can shop on-line or in-store.
NO Philippine Bank Account is required and you can make a Cardless ATM Instant Payout 24/7 from selected ATM’s (Security Bank ATM).
My only concern with coins.ph is that you are unable to buy bitcoins directly as you can with CEX.IO, you need to go through a 3rd party to do this on-line, however my solution is to simply transfer from my CEX.IO eWallet after making a direct purchase of bitcoin(s) using my bank card.
You can cash-in and cash-out over the counter in selected outlets or even have the cash delivered to your door if you are feeling especially lazy.
Authors TIP TO BE SAFE – DO NOT RELY ON THE ATM OPTION AS YOUR ONLY SOURCE OF CASHING OUT AS IT COULD BECOME TEMPORARILY UN-AVAILABLE ENSURE YOU HAVE ACCESS TO A PHILIPPINE BANK ACCOUNT
This app is magnificent for PHP withdrawals, shop purchase and many more things like loading your phone, sending money etc.
It can be loaded over the counter & on-line using both fiat & bitcoin (crypto) currencies, I use my CEX.IO e-Wallet.
Although it is geared up for the Philippines you can get a GCash Mastercard and use it for withdrawals, store & on-line purchases globally once you are fully verified. You do need to register using a Filipino address but a passport issued by most countries is sufficient for id purposes.
NO Philippine Bank Account is required, get fully verified and use a Mastercard which can be delivered to your Filipino door or you can collect it over the counter at several outlets within the Philippines.
Rebit provides an invaluable service, initially I did make problems for myself, however, contacting their support directly soon gave solutions & guidance,
From start to finish a transaction arrived in the recipients bank account within a few hours. Having responsive and immediate on-line support is a must for many businesses, Rebit support gets a full five star rating from me.
Having sent Bitcoin from CEX.IO e-Wallet the transactions have gone through successfully and to-date have arrived in the Philippines Bank within the hour.
As with many financial services the law dictates that you must verify the account to enable using it. There are 4 levels, Level 1 does not qualify a transfer of funds, however Level 2 requires a mobile number and ID to be verified and has a limit of ₱75,000 per day and ₱500,000 per month that you can transfer, this is more than enough for my use.
The fees are dependent on the bank, you could expect a fee of ₱150 with a minimum transaction of ₱300. Still ₱150 per transaction is not bad. Other fees maybe hidden within the exchange rate.
Pay your bills at one of over 90 merchants for as little as ₱30 and E-load mobile phone SIM in the Philippines using Bitcoin.
“I pay my PLDT telecommunications/internet access monthly bill for a ₱30 fee.” [Chris Thomas]
Get the Bitcoin address to send your Bitcoin from a CEX.IO e-Wallet.
I personally only use this for bill payment & regular small amounts into a bank, typically ₱7,000.
How to Withdraw Bitcoin to PayPal
I have not used this service merely browsed through the basics. It appears simple to use, add the amount and the PayPal email, click on the sell BTC now button and you are given a BTC address to send the funds to from your CEX.IO e-Wallet, initiate the transfer and you’re done.
p4ay does require that you have a verified PayPal account, they state that a transaction is completed within the hour.
As PayPal has many terms of service including restrictions involving currency exchange, p4ay insert random invoice ids and random item names so PayPal can’t link this activity to currency exchange.
If you have used this service please leave a comment below and share your experience with other readers.
To conclude please note that these are services I have used successfully, however it must be recognised that I am not giving advice as a financial adviser but based purely on my own experiences, I hope this article is of use to you.
If you have any advice on this issue please leave a comment below and follow this article for updates and new posts.