How to Open a Bank Account in the Philippines

Last Updated – Sep 22, 2022 @ 8:31 am

So you’re finally ready to start adulting – maybe you just moved to a new city to start college, you scored your first job, or landed a major project. Now is the perfect time to open a bank account.

Spoiler alert: it’s easier than you think!

In this guide, we’ll let you in on how to open a bank account, the requirements you need, and the best bank accounts you can open in the Philippines.

What is a Bank Account?

We like to think of a bank account as your money’s “home.” Just like you probably have a place to live, your money needs a place to live, too.

A bank account is a place to deposit your money, keep track of transactions, and earn interest.

Bank accounts come with great benefits that allow you to save your money and make your banking experience a breeze.

Related: Top Banks in the Philippines


Types of Bank Accounts in the Philippines

Not all bank accounts are the same. Knowing the different types of bank accounts you can open in the Philippines will help you pick the one that’s right for you.

Savings Account

This is probably the most common type of bank account here in the Philippines. It’s a safe place to deposit your money and earn interest.

If you’re not looking for a lot of bells and whistles, and love a good interest rate, a savings account is for you. You’ll get rewarded for just saving your money.

Most bank accounts in the Philippines have a low initial deposit and balance. Some even don’t have these requirements at all. This is why this account is great for all kinds of people, especially teenagers.

Learn More: Best Savings Accounts in the Philippines

Checking Account

A checking account is a great place to use when you want to make regular deposits and withdrawals with your bank card.

This bank account usually costs more than a savings account. These accounts are amazing for people who plan on consistently making withdrawals, or have plans of applying for loans.

It is also great for paying regular transactions like utilities, rent, and other bills.

Learn More: Best Checking Accounts in the Philippines

Time Deposit

A time deposit is an account that you can’t access for a certain amount of time, usually one to five years. In exchange, this account will give you a higher interest rate compared to savings accounts.

When you open this account, it means you are lending your money to the bank for a certain period. You can also withdraw from this account before the term of your deposit is up, but it comes with a hefty penalty fee.

Learn More: Best Time Deposit Accounts in the Philippines

Dollar Account

Don’t be fooled by the name. You don’t have to have US dollars in this account. Instead, it’s a good overseas remittance account that offers a good rate of exchange and fee reduction when you send or receive money outside the country.

This is a good account for Filipinos who work or study abroad, frequent travelers, businesses that deal with international suppliers and clients, and frequent overseas shopaholics.

Some currencies you can open in this account include:

  • US Dollar
  • Australian Dollar
  • Canadian Dollar
  • Hong Kong Dollar
  • Singapore Dollar
  • British Pound
  • Chinese Yuan
  • Euro
  • Japanese Yen

Learn More: Best Dollar Accounts in the Philippines

Payroll Account

This is a great savings account for employees who get paid via bank transfer. Since most of your paycheck goes straight to the bank, this is a great way to save.

Learn More: Best Payroll Accounts in the Philippines

Joint Account

This is a great account for married couples, families, friends, and business partners. Joint accounts are great when you want to split bills and pay for things as a group.

Your spouse or dependents can easily access the funds and make deposits and withdrawals from the account.

Online Savings Account

This is a great bank account for people who like to bank on their phones or computers. Some banks have rolled out online banking, which makes banking a lot easier for people who work long hours and don’t have time to physically go to the bank.

It is a good idea to look into this kind of account if you’re interested in opening a basic savings account, but want more flexibility and accessibility.

Learn More: Best Digital & Online Banking Services in the Philippines


Benefits of Having a Bank Account

There are a lot of reasons why you should open a bank account. Here are some of our favorites.

It helps you save

Your money is a lot more likely to go towards your financial goals if you’re able to keep track of it, and see it whenever you want.

You’ll know exactly what you have and where it’s going. Looking at your bank account balance will motivate you to do more, save more, and spend less.

It helps you manage your money better

If you’re already in the habit of counting your hard-earned money and keeping tabs on how much you spend, a bank account will make it easier.

You’ll be able to keep track of your transactions and easily figure out how much you can spend, how much you have left, how much you’ve saved, and what you’re spending it on.

It improves your credit score

Your credit score is a number that lenders use to measure your creditworthiness.

When you consistently use your bank account, or make purchases and payments, you’re building your credit history. Banks will see that you’re dependable.

A high credit score will make you more likely to get approved for a loan, or a higher credit limit.

It facilitates automatic payments

Say goodbye to annoying reminders. With a debit card and online banking, you can schedule payments for your monthly bills.

This way you can avoid late fees and penalties, and make sure your bills get paid on time.

It makes it easier for you to receive payments

With a bank account, you can set up direct deposits from your employers and other billers, which makes receiving payments from them so much easier.

Friends and family can also send you money easily.

Your money is safe

Banks are insured by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC).

PDIC is mandated by law to protect your money from any type of loss due to theft, fraud, or any other reasons, up to a maximum of Php500,000.

You can earn interest

Yes, there is such a thing as getting paid to keep your money in the bank. Banks pay a small amount of interest on money in certain accounts.

The amount varies from bank to bank. Sometimes, it’s only a few pesos, but the more you have in your account, the more you’ll earn.

You can make transactions anywhere, anytime

Since many banks now have online banking, it’s possible to access your bank account even without access to a physical bank.

With online banking, you can check your account balance and make wire transfers, or even see your full transaction history in just a few clicks.

It gives you high liquidity

Having a bank account means you can get access to your money anytime you need it.

You can use your ATM card to withdraw money from any ATM, or use your card to make in-store or online purchases. It’s pretty easy.


How to Open a Bank Account in the Philippines (Step-By-Step)

Before opening a bank account, you first have to get these requirements ready.

Keep in mind that some banks may need you to submit more or less than these documents, depending on their requirements.

Step 1: Prepare the required documents

For Filipino Citizens:

For foreigners:

Foreigners can open a bank in any Philippine bank, but the account they can open depends on their status.

For example, those that have been living in the country for over 180 days can enjoy more flexibility when it comes to account type.

  • Immigration documents (Alien Certificate of Registration Card or Immigrant Certificate of Registration)
  • Visa to prove you’ve been in the Philippines for more than 180 days (not all)
  • Passport/ID (prepare two just to be sure)
  • Proof of address
  • Passport-sized photos
  • Minimum deposit amount
  • US IRS Form W-9 and IRS Form W-8BEN (for US citizens)
  • Reference letter from the previous bank (not all)

Step 2A: Open a Bank Account by visiting a physical branch (Traditional)

How to open a bank account in physical banks: (traditional)

  1. Download the application form online or request a copy in the bank. Then, fill it up.
  2. Submit the documents to the bank along with your requirements, and wait for your ATM (and/or passbook) to be issued (if applicable).

Step 2B: Open a Bank Account Online

How to open a bank account online:

  1. Download an online banking app of your choice.
  2. Click register for an account.
  3. Fill out your details.
  4. Submit your ID photo and wait for your account to be verified.
  5. If needed, request an ATM which will be sent to your home.

10 Best Banks to Open Bank Accounts in the Philippines

If your goal is to maximize your money, then you may want to consider opening a bank account at any of these banks.

Note: Data on deposit liabilities for each listed bank were gathered through BSP’s banking financial statements.

BDO

Total Deposits (as of March 31, 2022): P2,740,884,879,542.66

Based in Makati City, this is the largest bank in the Philippines and the 15th largest in Southeast Asia in terms of total assets.

Types of bank accounts available:

  • Passbook Savings
  • ATM Savings
  • Optimum Savings
  • Junior Savings
  • Peso Checking
  • Smart Checking
  • US Dollar Savings Account
  • Peso Time Deposit
  • Dollar Time Deposit

Landbank

Total Deposits (as of March 31, 2022): P2,445,131,002,273.60

This government-owned bank highlights services for fishermen, and farmers, among other Filipinos. This bank is also considered a specialized government bank and gives the same services as universal banks.

Types of bank accounts available:

  • ATM savings account
  • Easy Savings Plus
  • High Yield Savings Account
  • Regular Passbook Savings Account
  • Landbank PISO
  • Current Account with ATM Access
  • Peso E.A.S.Y. (Earning Access & Sure Yield) Check
  • Peso E.A.S.Y. (Earning Access & Sure Yield) Check with ATM access
  • Regular Peso Time Deposit
  • Regular Current Account
  • Easy Dollar Pension
  • US Dollar Savings Account
  • US Dollar Time Deposit
  • High-Yield US Dollar Time Deposit

BPI

Total Deposits (as of March 31, 2022): P1,881,563,692,021.60

This is the first bank in the country and Southeast Asia. It is also the fourth largest bank (asset-wise) and second largest (market capitalization).

Types of bank accounts available:

  • Maxi-One Checking
  • BizLink Checking
  • SaveUp
  • MySaveUp
  • Saver Plus
  • US Dollar Savings
  • Pamana Padala
  • Padala Moneygear
  • Jumpstart
  • Regular savings
  • Maxi Saver
  • Pamana Savings
  • Peso Time Deposit
  • Peso Auto Review
  • US Dollar Time Deposit

Metrobank

Total Deposits (as of March 31, 2022): P1,767,267,058,640.77

Considered one of the most resilient banks today, Metrobank is the second largest bank in the Philippines and offers a wide array of financial services to their clients.

Types of bank accounts available:

  • Spark Savings Account
  • Card Regular Savings Account
  • Passbook Regular Savings Account
  • MetroDollar Savings Account
  • Other Currencies Regular Savings Account
  • Fun Savers Club Account
  • SSS Pensioner Savings Account
  • Us Pensioner Savings Account
  • Regular Checking Account
  • AccountOne Commercial Checking Account
  • US Dollar Checking Account
  • Peso Regular Time Deposit
  • Online Time Deposit
  • Foreign Currency Regular Time Deposit
  • MetroDollar Time Deposit

Security Bank

Total Deposits (as of March 31, 2022): P532,300,582,042.40

This award-winning bank is one of the most trustworthy choices in the Philippines. It is also the first private and Filipino-controlled bank post-World War II.

Types of bank accounts available:

  • All-Access Account
  • Easy Savings Account
  • Junior Savings Account
  • Money Builder Savings
  • Esecure Online Savings
  • Build Up Savings
  • Peso Time Deposit
  • Dollar Time Deposit
  • Chinese Yuan Time Deposit
  • Secure Goals Plus
  • Debit Card
  • US Dollar Account
  • Third Currency Account
  • Chinese Yuan Savings Account

Unionbank

Total Deposits (as of March 31, 2022): P512,529,423,375.52

Over the last few years, this bank has become more progressive and customer-service driven. Their online banking system is one of the best in the country.

Types of bank accounts available:

  • Savings+
  • First Savings
  • Personal Savings Account
  • Regular Savings Account
  • US Dollar Savings Account
  • Dollar Access Account
  • Third Currency Savings Account
  • Peso Time Deposit
  • Regular Checking Account
  • Power Checking Account
  • Premium Deposit Account

DBP

Total Deposits (as of March 31, 2022): P839,654,502,123.72

This state-owned development bank was established after World War II and is headquartered in Makati.

Types of bank accounts available:

  • Peso Account
  • Current Account
  • US Dollar Account
  • Young Earner’s Savings Account
  • Pensioner’s Account
  • Wisdom Account
  • Premier Payroll Account with Payroll Savings Plan
  • EC Card Account
  • Option Savings
  • Special Savings
  • Regular Time Deposit
  • Wisdom Time Deposit
  • High Earner Time Deposit
  • Special Investor’s Resident Visa (SIRV)

PNB

Total Deposits (as of March 31, 2022): P867,378,786,025.34

This is one of the biggest banks in the country. It was established in 1916 during the American era.

Types of bank accounts available:

  • Debit Savings
  • Passbook Savings
  • TAP Mastercard
  • Top Saver
  • MyFirst Savings
  • Pensioner Savings
  • Direct Deposit Pensioner
  • US Dollar Savings
  • Euro Savings
  • Renminbi Savings
  • Japanese Yen Savings
  • Regular Checking
  • Budget Checking
  • Priority Checking
  • Greencheck
  • Short Term Time Deposit
  • Regular Time Deposit
  • PNBig Savings Time Deposit
  • Market Savings Deposit30
  • PRA Time Deposit30
  • Greenmarket Time Deposit
  • Regular Time Deposit
  • Wealth Multiplier18
  • Top Dollar

Chinabank

Total Deposits (as of March 31, 2022): P796,542,521,530.87

This Filipino bank was established in 1920, and it was first built for the needs of Chinese Filipino men and businesswomen. Now, it continues to serve Filipinos from all walks of life.

Types of bank accounts available:

  • ATM savings
  • ChinaCheck Plus
  • MoneyPlus Savings
  • Overseas Kababayan Savings
  • Passbook Savings
  • Young Savers
  • Regular Time Deposit
  • Diamond Savings Account
  • Money Lift Plus
  • Foreign Currency Savings Account
  • Overseas Kababayan Savings Account
  • Premium Savings Account
  • Foreign Currency Time Deposit Account
  • Special US Dollar Time Deposit

Bank Account FAQs

Got questions about opening a bank account in the Philippines? We’ll answer them below.

How do bank accounts protect your savings?


Money kept in banks is insured by the PDIC, which is mandated to safeguard depositors’ money and assets. The PDIC covers both individual and collective deposits. The maximum amount of protection is up to Php500,000. Bank accounts are also protected against loss from fraud or loss through forgery.

Are bank accounts free in the Philippines?


Most Philippine banks nowadays charge their customers for their accounts. These costs are called maintenance fees.

These are the minimum amount you need to spend each year to keep your account open. Usually, the fee ranges from Php500 to Php2,000. Make sure you get to know all the fees you have to pay before opening a bank account.

Some banks don’t charge any maintenance fees, so it’s better to check first to make sure.

Can you open a bank account in the Philippines as a non-resident?


Various banks have different policies regarding accounts for foreigners. Foreigners also need to submit more documents such as ones that prove their residential address.

However, it may be challenging for non-resident US aliens to open a bank account in the country due to the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act or FATCA which requires financial institutions outside the US to report information to the IRS on US citizens with bank/financial accounts.

Banks may also impose higher requirements (such as deposit balances) to make up for their effort to comply with FATCA.

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About MJ de Castro

MJ de Castro is the lead personal finance columnist at Grit PH.

MJ started her career as a writer for her local government’s City Information Office. Later on, she became a news anchor on PTV Davao del Norte.

Wanting to break free from the shackles of her 9-to-5 career to live by the beach, she pursued remote work. Over the years, she has developed a wide specialization on health, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, branding, and travel.

Now, she juggles writing professionally, her business centering on women’s menstrual health, and surfing.

Education: Ateneo de Davao University (AB Mass Communication)
Focus: Personal Finance, Personal Development, Entrepreneurship, & Marketing

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