How To Send Money To Philippines While Living In The Philippines

One of the most common questions I get is regarding how to get your cash.  The answer is different for each person.  For many, the best solution to send money to Philippines is to use RemitHome.  RemitHome is the company I use to send money to the Philippines.  That company been very good to me.  They give customer service way beyond anything I’d ever get in the USA.  Then even give me my money before they collect it!

Yes, before they withdraw the money from my account back in the USA, they deposited it to an account here in the Philippines.

I have the money deposited to my girlfriend’s bank account.  In order to open a bank account in the  Philippines, your generally going to need an ACR card.  You can get one, even on a tourist visa.  If you’re on a resident visa, you’re required to get one.  To get one a voluntary ACR card as a tourist, you’ll have to go to Manila to get it.  While it is not a legal requirement, the banks generally wont allow you to open an account without it.  However, sometimes they do allow it.

Remit Home Join
In The Past, I used Remit Home

I have also used Xoom.  The first transaction went slowly.  Had I used them again.  Perhaps it would have gone faster.   I never tried again.  I didn’t see any reduction in cost for a small transaction, in fact, it was more expensive than I had thought it would be.  I think the place where I picked up the money charged me a fee, though I’m not certain.   I know one person that uses Xoom and prefer to use them.

Time It Takes To Send Money To Philippines

The one time I used Xoom, it was slow. I may try it one more time. Here is the transaction history for me. Now if your in Manila it appears to be much faster. They claim six hours! Here is my history:

Jan 05, 2009 10:00:35  PMTransaction Completed
Jan 05, 2009 06:40:48  AMAvailable for Pickup
Jan 05, 2009 06:40:10  AMPayment Verified
Dec 27, 2008 05:57:00  PMPayment Processing
Dec 27, 2008 05:50:31  PMXoom Processing

I sent $25.00 USD and even at today’s very poor exchange rate that is over P1100.  What I picked up from the local pawn shop was less than 900.   I guessed the pawn shop took a cut too.

I just sent an email to Xoom asking if I can expect the same poor speed and asked about the local remittance company taking a cut.  The bank does not take a cut.  That is when I use RemitHome, I get all the money.  The fee is lower though  I could save  $12 a month. The exchange rate both Xoom and Remithome offer is nearly identically poor.  I will update this article or post a new one when I hear back from Xoom

If you have a bank that doesn’t charge you any fees to withdraw funds via ATM, that has some advantages.  You can get just the cash you need.  With Remit Home, you pay a flat rate of $8.00 per transaction.  So you can send $1000 or $10 and it will cost you $8.00.

Problem with using ATM’s are the frequent blackouts in the Philippines.  If the network or the electricity is out, you wont be able to get your cash.  This use to be a major problem in Bogo City but now, one of the ATM machines has battery backup.  However, it is the only one in the city and you’ll have a long line.

Send up to $2,999 to the Philippines for $4.99.

There are often lines at all the ATMs even when there are no problems.   In Cebu, I can get only P10,000 per transaction and P20,000 for the day.  Not all banks accept international bank cards though.

The one time I used Xoom, it was slow.  I may try it one more time.  Here is the transaction history for me.  Now if your in Manila it appears to be much faster.  They claim six hours!  Here is my history:


While I have a friend that uses only his ATM card to get cash, for me, it is the worst way to go.  I get charged 5% international fee and the my bank charges me $5.00 transaction fee or whatever they seem to want to charge me.    And it is not uncommon to wait an hour in line.

RemitHome is the company I use to send money to the Philippines. That company been very good to me. They give customer service way beyond anything I’d ever get in the USA. Then even give me my money before they collect it!

When I first arrived in Bogo City, I had a three day wait before I could get to a working ATM.  You’re not going to have the kinds of problems, at least not to this degree, if you live in Manila, Cebu City or Davao. Bogo is a small city out in the middle of a Jungle.


Get Free eBook From Rusty -- Click The Picture

There are other ways to send cash to the Philippines.  You can wire it.  You can use Western Union, though you might have trouble sending money to yourself using Western Union if you are already in the Philippines, I did.  And then there is the extremely high cost of using Western Union and Wire Transfers.  Western Union though is very fast, once it is approved.

You should set up your RemitHome account before you need it.  It will be there for you and ready once you do need it.  It seems like, the first time I used it, they did some checking to make sure I was not a fraudulent remitter.  I would go ahead and send someone even a small amount of money, just to get your account working smoothly.


Sending cash to the Philippines is a major part of the Philippine economy.  The term is remittance.  You can use RemitHome to send cash to yourself and pick it up at a bank, even if you don’t have a bank account.  When you go into the bank, they will ask why you are there.  You should tell them to pick up a remittance.

I wrote a similar story about a year ago.  This article will be more up to date and I have more knowledge about living in the Philippines than I did a year ago but it provides a few details that I did not cover in this article.  You might want to also visit Send Money To Philippines.

Of course, I have my bank account in the USA and have my pension direct deposited. I can’t imagine not using direct deposit but if you’ve been reluctant to do so.  Its pretty much going to be required if you decide to live in the Philippines.

Send Money To Philippines Update

I gave Xoom another try and their speed was much better.  But there are some things you need to do to make your transaction flow quickly.  To find out, get my free eBook.   I now use Xoom to Send Money To Philippines.

Tagged with:

Filed under: Cost of living in the PhilippinesExpat FinancesLiving In The PhilippinesSend Money To Philippines

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!