Internet Banking for OFW Families in the Philippines
More and more OFW families in the Philippines are discovering the benefits of using Internet banking to send money from wherever outside the Philippines they’re working and to track the deposits, fees and withdrawals on their accounts.
The number one benefit of using Internet banking is certainly its accessibility from almost anywhere in the world where OFWs are working. It’s also free. The only cost would be the cost of depositing money into the OFW account from abroad. What’s more, one can access one’s online account anytime and as many times as one wants.
***OFWs means Overseas Filipino Workers. This was coined from the generic term Overseas Contract Workers. This term doesn't include Filipinos who are already residents or legal immigrants of other countries.
Ways to Use Internet Banking
There are a number of ways by which an OFW can use Internet banking to continuously support his or her family:
1. Open two or more accounts in the same bank in the Philippines, enroll them all in the bank’s Internet banking system, and comply with the minimum maintaining balance requirements.
Connect the accounts with each other, so funds can be transferred from one to another. The OFW can also opt to assign only his/her account as the source of funds. Also, he can have the passwords of all the accounts, so he can track all of them while abroad.
2. Open two accounts in the same bank in the foreign country where the OFW is working, depending of course on the banking laws covering foreign workers.
The advantage of this is scheme is free deposit. The only cost would be the ATM withdrawal fee in the Philippines.
3. Open an account in a bank in the Philippines and another account in the bank’s branch in the country where one is working. This would ideally be the cheapest way, as both deposit and withdrawal would be free. But again, bank policies could differ.
This can be carried out through foreign banks operating in the Philippines, or Philippine banks with branches abroad, like Metrobank.
What is OFW?
OFW means Overseas Filipino Worker. This was coined from the generic term Overseas Contract Worker. This term isn't used to refer to a Filipino who's already a resident or legal immigrant of another country.
It's common knowledge among many of us that the OFW phenomenon is probably unique to us, as we can be found anywhere there's work. There's even a joke that we will soon rule the world because we take care of the children of the world. The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Is The Hand That Rules The World (from an 1865 poem by William Ross Wallace).
Global data, however, shows that we're not alone.
The Philippines is behind three other countries in inward remittances in 2010:
The top remittance sending countries in 2009 were:
- United States
- Saudi Arabia
***Source of remittance ranking information: worldbank.org
From an OFW in China
Here's an OFW in China who shared how she's sending money to her account in the Philippines:
You can open an ATM account here in China at Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) or Bank of China (BOC). You can open 4 bank accounts, and then send one or two ATM cards to your family in the Philippines. Your family can use the China-issued ATM cards to withdraw money at the ATMs of Allied Bank or PNB. The charge is 150 pesos per withdrawal.
Enroll one account in Internet banking so you can transfer funds and send money to the Philippines anytime. Transfer charge is only 5.50 RMB or yuan, which is 36.47 in Philippine pesos with the rate of 1 yuan = 6.63 pesos.
Maintaining balance for accounts here are either zero or just one yuan.
If we total this banking-savvy OFW's cost of sending money, the total is only 186.47 pesos -- very cheap if compared to the nearly 2,000 pesos spent by others through other means.
OFW Remittances from January to October 2010
Origin of Remittance
U.S. Dollars $
% Change from 2009
United States (USA)
Saudi Arabia (KSA)
Great Britain (UK)
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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