My son and I transferred a lot of Euros to our Peso account (big mistake because of the weakening peso!!). The initial idea was to invest in a business in the Philippines. But we changed our minds and now we have the unpleasant task of transferring all the money back to Europe. We opened a BDO Online Peso Savings Account after receiving our first ACR-iCard, proof of long stay in the Philippines, and we received a BDO Mastercard, a debit card ...
We finally found a good solution to transfer our money out of the country and for little costs.
Now when I posted that post on FB a lot of expats jumped on me that is was easy as hell to transfer money out of the Philippines. I disagree with them. There is a total War on Cash going on worldwide due to terrorism fundings and tax evasions, money laundering and more fishy and obscure stuff that I do not even want to mention. Financial borders are tightening and money needs a huge paper trail to be allowed to transfer, especially from the Philippines to anywhere.
For some people it is easier to transfer than for others, it all depends on the countries you are working with
The biggest issue with getting your knowledge straight is the non-existing professionalism of banking companies and the products they offer. Staff simply has no clue about possibilities and how things work. They promise you everything and assure you to get you as a customer and then you are left with nothing but empty promises.
The staff at our BDO Branche in Dumaguete has no clue whatsoever how to transfer money back to Europe and at what cost. What procedures are and how to go about it. They simply tell you that from a Peso, internet savings account it is only possible if you pay big fees and have plenty of time at your hands for it will take weeks for the money to be transferred. it is a manual transaction inside the bank that needs several signatures and levels of approval. Banco Central Philippines has a policy that money should stay inside the Philippines and preferably not leave the country unless it is for trading or to stimulate the economy. Since transferring money out of the country does not include any of that, they make it as unpleasant as possible.
The same stuff is happening in the Europe side of the line. You can only transfer as much as 9,999 Euro otherwise the transaction is flagged as suspicious and the FIOD (Dutch Financial and Tax Enforcement)will check the paper trail which you have to prove.
Nobody wants their money being blocked by bureaucracy when it is not clear on what to proof exactly and how long it will take
So we want to work around all that. Simple. And we want to find the most affordable way to transfer. For it can cost as much as 40 Euros per transaction, no matter how much money is transferred.
But we have found a way and miraculously it works like magic, even better than we expected.
As you can read in the previous article we were told to open a US Dollar account at BDO. So we proceeded with that. We made 2 cash deposits to test it out, 600 US$ each, it takes over 2 weeks for the money to be available to transfer. That is a drag. And we need to go to an exchange office every single time.
So the steps we take each time are:
take money out our Pesos Savings with our ATM Card
go to an exchange office and buy US$
fall in line int he bank and deposit the dollars with proof of source (receipt from the exchange office)
wait for two weeks
transfer the money online to our Dutch Bank account
How can we make that easier?
We talked to Optimum Traders in Dumaguete were we reside for the moment, on the advice of a bank employee, we exchange our peso there to US$) and the manager of Optimum Traders, which we found to be very professional and knowledgeable, came with a great solution:
They transfer US$ to our US$ account at BDO, the same time we transfer Pesos to their account, Since it is a trusted wire transfer the money in our US$ account will be available within 12 hours.
So we set an appointment and spent a Filipino style bank day, with the workers from Optimum Trading, the company has dedicated workers in each bank in Dumaguete, first BPI, for their dollars were in BPI, then BDO and then back to BPI again to get the wire receipt for proof of source. (The famous paper trail large money transactions need these days)
Europe has blocked its borders tight when it comes to incoming funds, while the Philippines has blocked its borders for outgoing funds
It worked just as they promised, funny to discover that external bank staff from a third party has a better knowledge of the banking system than the bank employees themselves. But that aside. We had access to our dollars that same evening we got the wire transfer, but there was more magic in the air for us!
Now it was a matter of transferring it in acceptable amounts to Europe….we did a try out first, 1200 US$ just to see how it works. We transferred to costs of the transaction to the Dutch bank, for we figured that would only cost 9 Euros while the Philippines, BDO charges us at least 40 Euro. (as far as we could figure their procedure fees out)
The extra magic is that the money arrived almost instantly. BDO Staff told us 5-10 working days, but within 2 working days, the money was in the Dutch account. So now we can start transferring the rest of our savings back to Europe.
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