How to Open a Bank Account in the Philippines

By Rianne Hill Soriano
You must be physically present when opening a new Philippine bank account.

philippines flag button image by Andrey Zyk from Fotolia.com

Philippine banks require you to be present in the branch of account when opening a bank account. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) can't open a bank account if they are out of the country. Alternatively, OFWs may find an overseas branch of a Philippine bank in countries with many Filipinos such as the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong and U.K. However, some overseas branches only provide remittance services. Non-Filipinos legally residing in the Philippines can open an account by presenting the original Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR-I) card, along with a photocopy of it and the standard requirements.

Visit the bank with all the requirements, including two valid identification cards and photocopies of them, two or three identical photos (1 x 1 inch in size) and the minimum deposit amount required by the bank (in cash or in check, usually PHP 500.00 to 5,000.00 or $11.50 to $114.00 as of May 2010 exchange rate).

If you want to open another account in the same bank where you have online banking access, most of the major banks having this online banking platform allow you to open a new account online. Follow the instructions provided in your Internet banking account, then a specified amount shall be transferred from your old account to your newly opened account.

Inform the banker about the type of account you want to open. Bank deposit products are generally categorized as savings and checking accounts. Each bank has many types of savings and checking accounts, which usually vary by the amount of deposit that should be maintained and the interest (or non-interest) yield of the account. Get the account opening balance requirement and the maintaining balance requirement as this amount varies per bank, per bank product. These amounts are usually a bit higher than the minimum deposit amount requirement when opening a new account.

Fill out the forms (an Account Information or AI form for individual and joint depositors or a Business Information or BI form for businesses and corporate accounts) and three signature cards provided by the banker. You will receive your account number after the banker's validation of the forms. Fill up the deposit form for your initial deposit amount. Give it, along with the deposit amount, to the banker for processing.

Get back the deposit form stamped or signed by the teller. This confirms your first deposit. A cash deposit posts real time. A local check deposit requires three days clearing. A regional check (outside the jurisdiction of the branch of account) requires more clearing days, and the length of time depends on the bank. Such deposit typically posts within seven banking days.

Opening a savings or checking account provides you with an ATM card, except for some passbook accounts. A number of banks don't offer this old banking system accounts anymore as such requires a passbook to be used by the account holder within the branch of account to make any kind of transaction. Some banks can issue your ATM card in a few minutes. Other banks require you to go back to the branch to pick it up after three to five banking days. Activate your ATM card and change the initial/temporary password at the bank's ATM machine.

About the Author

Rianne Hill Soriano is a freelance artist/writer/educator. Her diverse work experiences include projects in the Philippines, Korea and United States. For more than six years she has written about films, travel, food, fashion, culture and other topics on websites including Yahoo!, Yehey! and Herword. She also co-wrote a book about Asian cinema.

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