How to Invest in Bonds in the Philippines

Last Updated – Mar 26, 2024 @ 9:34 am

Quick Take

How to Invest in Bonds in the Philippines?

1. Ask your current bank what fixed-income products they offer (Retail Treasury Bonds, T-Bills, Fixed Rate Treasury Notes (FXTNs), Dollar Sovereign Bonds, or Dollar Corporate Bonds) and buy from there

2. Buy bonds through mobile apps like Bonds.PH or PDAX. All you need to do is download the app, create and verify your account, add funds, and buy/sell bonds. 

3. Open a brokerage account with online brokers like COL Financial or ABCSI. 

Ask anyone you know where they put their hard-earned savings and I bet 90 percent of the answers will be: 

Banks.

As early as 5 years old, we’ve been taught to save money in our plasticky little piggy banks, then move on to big-boy (and big-girl) banks as soon as we can. Because, where else should we put our savings?

Right? 

Well, sure, banks are good for that purpose. They’re a safe place to store away our money whether for emergency funds, future expenses, or just a general stash where we can dump our excess income. 

But just like our beloved piggy banks, actual banks don’t serve us much if our goal is to grow our money.

With interest rates at less than 1%, a Php100,000 investment would only get you enough earnings to buy a meal at your favorite fast food (Php250 earnings at 0.25% for 1 year).

That small, huh? 

Yes, Mamser.

So what if I tell you that there’s another way to keep your money and at the same time earn while you sleep?

As that saying goes, “Make your money work for you.”

I’m talking about bonds. 

In this article, we’ll cover all the essentials of this under-utilized investment vehicle. 

Stuff like: How they work, how much they can earn you, how to start investing in them—and more. At the end of this piece, you’ll have another instrument in your financial toolbox so you can build your assets faster and gain financial freedom.

Ready? Let’s start with the most important question:

What are Bonds?

It’s like a reverse utang (loan), basically. How? Instead of the typical lender-borrower set up where the borrower approaches the lender to ask for some money, a bond will have the borrower (bond issuer) produce a contract (bond) that states the terms of payments back to the lender (bondholder). 

Imagine a bond as a contract that states something like this, “In 10 years, our company will pay the owner of this bond Php50,000 (face value of the bond). We’ll also pay a 5% interest rate on a yearly basis.

In this case, the borrower is the one setting the terms, not the lender. It’s also more flexible for the borrower as they can set up bonds with multiple bondholders instead of just dealing with one.

It’s a great way of raising an enormous amount of capital without being tied to a singular lender. And this is why bonds are heavily-leveraged by the government and big corporations.

Here’s the clincher: Bonds can be traded too! If you’re a bondholder, you can actually sell your bonds in the stock market.

If you prefer not to wait for the bond’s maturity for whatever reason (or strategy), this option makes it more flexible as a financial vehicle.

Related: How to Invest your Money


Types of Bonds

Bonds are considered the most common type of fixed income securities, which is defined as debt instruments that pay a fixed amount of interest in the form of coupon payments and returns the principal to the investor (bondholder in the case of bonds) upon maturity.

1. Maturity-based bonds 

Bonds categorized based on the length of time it will mature.

Treasury Bills (T-bills)

Bonds that mature in less than 1 year (short term). The most common tenors (length of maturity) for T-bills are 91 days, 181 days, and 364 days.

ProsCons
Matures in less than a year (shorter investment time frame)Doesn’t pay income or coupon interest 
Sold at a discount from their face value but the investor will get the full amount upon maturity (works like a zero-coupon bond)
Treasury Bonds (T-bonds)

Bonds that have tenors of more than 1 year. The most common maturity lengths for T-bonds are 2-year, 5-year, 7-year, 10-year, 20-year, and 30-year bonds.

ProsCons
Pays investor coupon interest (fixed income) at fixed intervals for the duration of the bondCan present a higher risk due to the longer length of time before it matures

2. Issuer-based bonds

These are bonds that are classified according to who issued it:

Treasury Securities

Bonds issued by the Bureau of Treasury.

ProsCons
Low(er) risk since investment is backed by the full faith and credit of the government (vs other fixed income investments)The lower risk comes with a lower yield potential compared to other fixed income instruments
Government Bonds

Bonds that are issued by various government agencies like HDMF, Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA), Federal National Mortgage Association, and others.

ProsCons
Low(er) default risk (similar with Treasury Securities)Interest rate risk. Gov’t bonds may lose value if market interest rates rise beyond the bond’s face value
Favorable tax treatment
Municipal Bonds

Bonds issued by the local government units (LGUs).

ProsCons
Low(er) default riskInterest rate risk. Gov’t bonds may lose value if market interest rates rise beyond the bond’s face value
Low volatility
Corporate Bonds

Bonds issued by public and private companies.

ProsCons
Potentially higher returns vs gov’t-issued banksHigher risk compared to gov’t-issued bonds
Highly liquid
Multiple options

How to Invest in Bonds in the Philippines

Investing in bonds in the Philippines is fairly easy. Most transact through an RTB-issuing bank to make their investment.

Step 1: Choose your Bond Type

Determine the type of bond you wish to invest in. Options include Corporate Retail Bonds, Retail Treasury Bonds (RTBs), and Treasury Bills (T-Bills). Each has different minimum investment amounts and terms.

Step 2: Prepare your Documents and Requirements:

Most banks and financial institutions require:

  • 2 valid IDs
  • Tax Identification Number
  • Documents that provide bank account information (e.g check book or pass book)
  • Minimum initial investment

Once initiated, you’ll be provided with the appropriate forms to complete and will be given instructions if other additional documents or requirements will need to be submitted. 

Step 3: Select an RTB-Issuing Bank

Identify and choose an RTB-issuing bank or financial institution through which you will make your investment. This could be based on convenience, services offered, or other personal preferences.

Most banks in the Philippines offer various fixed income products like Retail Treasury Bonds, T-Bills, Fixed Rate Treasury Notes (FXTNs), Dollar Sovereign Bonds, and Dollar Corporate Bonds, among others.

Here’s a suggestion: Check with your existing bank if they offer any fixed income products. You’ll likely receive a Yes for an answer, so it will really just be a matter of preference when it comes to choosing which RTB-issuing bank you’ll want to use. 

Some of the more popular banks known to offer bonds and other fixed-income products include:

  • Security Bank
  • BDO
  • BPI
  • Unionbank
  • PNB
  • Metrobank
  • RCBC
  • Landbank
  • Bank of Commerce
  • China Bank
  • Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP)
  • PBCom
Step 4: Submit Initial Contact Information

For corporate bonds, submit your initial contact information to the bank or through their official website if prompted by announcements or newsletters.

Most banks advise the general public through their official website and/or mailing list. Information and requirements for investing in bonds are typically posted on their website.

For example, an announcement of the availability of a certain company’s corporate bond will usually include following details:

Tenor:7 years
Interest Rate:5.2757 gross p.a
Denomination: Minimum of Php50,000 (increments of Php10,000 thereafter)
Interest Payment:Quarterly

For government bonds, check the Bureau of Treasury website or contact banks for any upcoming public offerings.

Either way, you’ll be transacting with your RTB-issuing bank (see list in Step 3) to initiate the investment.

Like with corporate bonds, they’ll provide you with details and instructions along with the paperwork to complete should you wish to proceed with the investment.

Step 5: Complete Necessary Forms

Visit your chosen RTB-issuing bank to initiate the investment process. You will be provided with the appropriate forms to fill out.

Follow the bank’s instructions for any additional documents or requirements that may need to be submitted.

Step 6: Follow through with additional instructions

Depending on the bond type and the bank’s procedures, you might need to submit further documentation or complete additional steps.

An agent from the bank will typically follow up with instructions on how to proceed, especially for corporate bonds.

Step 7: Minimum Investment

The minimum investment required varies depending on the type of bond being purchased.

Corporate Retail Bondsthe typical minimum investment is Php50,000
Retail Treasury Bondscan be purchased for as low as Php5,000 minimum capital
Treasury Bills (T-Bills)typically require a minimum of Php50,000 investment
Step 8: Understand the Terms and Conditions

Pay attention to the details of the bond offering, such as the tenor (duration until maturity), interest rate, denomination, and how the interest will be paid (e.g., quarterly for some corporate bonds).

Step 9: Finalize Your Investment

Once all forms are completed and any additional requirements are met, finalize your investment by submitting your application and funds according to the bank’s instructions.

Step 10: Monitor Your Investment

After investing, keep track of your bond’s performance, interest payments, and maturity date. Stay informed about any actions you may need to take as your bond approaches maturity.


How to Invest in Bonds Online in the Philippines

Did you know that you can buy and sell bonds online through mobile apps? Here are a couple of platforms that you can use to get started in your investing journey.

Bonds.PH

Bonds.PH is a mobile application that enables small investors to buy and sell Philippine retail treasury bonds (RTBs) and government securities anytime and anywhere using their smartphones.

It’s the first fully digital platform for investing in government bonds.

The Bonds.PH mobile app was launched by the Bureau of the Treasury in partnership with UnionBank and Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX).

Bonds.PH Features:

  • Minimum investment: Php 5,000
  • No bank account required
  • Accessible 24/7—buy or sell RTBs anytime
  • Can be used by OFWs and Filipino investors abroad
  • Individual investment accounts only (No support for joint accounts at the moment)
  • Cash in through debit card (Visa/Mastercard/JCB), bank deposit, online bank transfer via InstaPay or PESONet, e-wallets (GCash and PayMaya), or bitcoin

Steps to Start Investing Through Bonds.PH

Anyone above 18 years old in the Philippines or abroad may use the Bonds.PH mobile app for investing in government bonds. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide for starting your bond investing journey through Bonds.PH.

Step 1: Create a Bonds.PH account
  1. Download the Bonds.PH app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
  2. Once installed, launch the app and tap the Sign Up button.
  3. Enter your full name, email address, and mobile number.
  4. Create a six-digit PIN that you’ll use to access your Bonds.PH account.
  5. Click on the verification link sent to your email address to complete your registration.
Step 2: Verify your account
  1. Open the app and log in to your account.
  2. Tap the account icon on the upper left corner of the home screen.
  3. Select “Account Verification” > “Start Account Verification.”
  4. Fill out the Client Sustainability Assessment form.
  5. Accomplish the User Information Verification form.
  6. Upload a photo of your valid ID and your selfie with the ID.
  7. Review all the information you provided. If everything is correct and complete, hit “Submit.”

You’ll then undergo a client verification process. Within two business days, you’ll be informed via email about the approval of your account verification.

Step 3: Add funds to your account
  1. Once your account is verified, log in and tap the Cash In button.
  2. Select your preferred cash-in payment channel.
  3. Enter the amount you want to add to your Bonds.PH account.
  4. Pay the total amount due.
For online payment channels:Check your email for a message from Bonds.PH and click on “Pay Now.” This will take you to the payment portal of your payment channel.
For bank deposit:Pay the cash-in amount at your selected bank and submit a copy of your proof of payment or deposit slip. 
Step 4: Buy bonds
  1. Log in to your account.
  2. Tap the Buy icon or choose from the list of available bonds on the dashboard.
  3. Select the RTB you want to purchase.
  4. Enter the amount to invest. Tap on “Next.”
  5. Review your transaction details and tick the checkboxes to confirm your order.
  6. Tap on “Buy.” You’ll see a confirmation message on the app and receive an email message with the bond’s terms and conditions.

PDAX

PDAX stands for the Philippine Digital Asset Exchange, a homegrown cryptocurrency exchange that empowers Filipinos with the ability to trade cryptocurrencies, complemented by dedicated local support.

While its main focus is on crypto, it also offers bonds with a minimum investment of PHP 500 (no maximum), and 5.7% interest p.a. With government-backed funds, you can grow your wealth easily while enjoying peace of mind. 

PDAX prides itself on its deep liquidity. It facilitates the quick and easy buying and selling of digital assets at the most competitive rates in the Philippines, whether you want to dip your toes into bonds, crypto, or NFTs. 

PDAX Features:

  • Cash in and out in real-time (for crypto, not bonds)
  • Low barrier to entry
  • Superior security measures
  • Intuitive built-in trading features
  • Different account levels
  • Fast verification
  • Access to government-backed bonds
  • Access to the 24/7 market straight from the app

Steps to Start Investing in PDAX:

Step 1: Sign up for a free account.

Go to their website and download the app.

Step 2: Get verified.
  1. Complete the basic information form.
  2. Follow the in-app instructions for recording a correct video selfie.
  3. Submit one valid ID (note: expired IDs are not accepted).
Step 3: Cash in.

Add funds to your wallet.

Step 4: Start buying bonds.
  1. Initiate Trade: Navigate to “Trade” and select the “Bonds” filter to choose Bond Token Pairs that match your investment goals. Note that bonds are only available for purchase during the offer period.
  2. Place Buy Order: During the offer period, place your buy order by specifying the face value of the bonds you wish to purchase.
  3. Order Confirmation: After placing your order, you’ll receive in-app and email notifications confirming the order placement.
  4. Auction Results: The results of your bond order will be emailed on the auction date, indicating whether you were awarded the bonds in full, partially, or not at all.
  5. Confirmation of Sale: If awarded, expect a Confirmation of Sale email within the next business day post-issue date, confirming your bond purchase on PDAX. Contact immediately if there’s any discrepancy.

Investing in PDAX FAQs:

Is PDAX regulated?

Yes, PDAX operates under the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) regulation and complies with additional requirements set by the country’s designated authorities.

How much do I need to start trading?

You can start trading with a minimum of PHP 500 for treasury bills and PHP 5,000 for retail treasury bonds. The amount you trade can increase by PHP 1.00 increments.

Is there a limit to how much I can invest in one go?

There’s no maximum limit for a single buy order, but you need to have enough funds for the purchase.

Where do I find my purchased bonds in the app?

Simply click on the “Wallet” tab, then click “My Portfolio” to see all your cryptocurrency and bond token assets.

Can I cancel a buy order once it’s made?

No, buy orders cannot be canceled or modified once placed.

Can I sell my bonds anytime?

Selling bonds is not possible at the moment. You’ll need to hold onto them until they mature.

What does it mean if my bonds are ‘ordered’?

‘Ordered’ means you’ve placed an order but have yet to buy the bonds. You’ll need to wait for an award email to see if your purchase was successful.

Why aren’t my bonds issued right after I order them?

Bonds go through a pending period after ordering. They are officially issued a few business days after the auction, according to the schedule.

How does the bond awarding process work?

After the offer period ends, you’ll get an award email detailing whether your bond purchase was fully, partially, or not awarded at all based on various uncontrollable factors.

When will I get the money from my bonds?

For treasury bills, the full amount will be credited to your PDAX account on the maturity date. For retail treasury bonds, you’ll receive interest quarterly and the principal amount at maturity.


I hope this article has been useful in helping you understand what Bonds are and how to invest in them. If you want to learn other ways of investing and saving your money, start here.


Investing in Bonds FAQs

Still got questions about investing in bonds? We’ll answer them below.

What are the benefits of investing in bonds?
  1. Provides better returns on your money compared to banks
  2. Serves as another investment tool for diversifying your investments
  3. Lets you preserve your capital and earn interest from it at the same time
  4. Generally viewed as safer than stocks as its less volatile in nature (especially short and medium-length bonds) 
  5. Bonds are tradeable (liquid)
  6. Bondholders receive some form of protection for their investment, when a company goes bankrupt, the bondholders typically receive a portion (if not the face value) of their investment
  7. There are different types of bonds that you can choose from
How can you make money from investing in bonds?

As an investor, the first step would be to buy bonds when the government or a private/public company announces a bond offering.

Details as to how you can purchase them may vary, the key is to position yourself for purchase once announcements have been made.

Government and companies announce bond offerings a few months before the actual release, giving investors enough time to make the necessary arrangements. 

You make money from bonds via the interest gained on the face value (price of bond) of your investment. 

Coupon payments are the “earnings” paid to the bondholder at certain periods of time. For example, a company issues a bond with a 5% interest rate.

Depending on the designated frequency, the bondholders will receive a portion of that 5% per annum rate, say, on a monthly or quarterly basis. 

And since bonds can be traded, you also have the option to sell and earn via markup from your original purchase price.

Some bondholders might also want to free up their capital sooner and choose to liquidate by selling the bond before it matures, allowing them to be more flexible in their investment strategy.

Is it safe to invest in bonds in the Philippines?

While there’s no absolute 100% safe investment that exists, bonds are considered to be one of the less risky ways of growing your money. 

Aside from being less risky, say, compared to stocks, it also requires less activity from an investor’s standpoint. 

The only real risk that comes with investing in bonds is if the company that issued the bond declares bankruptcy. While rare, it’s still a possibility and hence considered as risk.

However, there are mechanisms within the bond itself that will guarantee some form of payment back to the investor in such events. 

How do I buy and sell bonds in the Philippines?

Buying and selling bonds are easier than you think. If you’re using Bonds.ph, all you need to do is go to its main dashboard and click “buy” or “sell.” If you sell your bonds, you can cash out your money instantly or use it to buy another bond. 

You may also buy and sell bonds through any authorized selling agents of the Bureau of Treasury, as well as any brokers in the secondary market. Keep in mind that you will pay additional brokerage fees on top of the withholding tax if you go with the latter option. 

How do I determine the value of a bond?

Understanding bond valuation is important to determine whether a certain bond is a good investment or not.

The current value of a bond can be determined by totaling all interest payments and adding that amount to the principal that will be paid upon its maturity.

Let’s take a look at an example. If you bought a P100,000 bond that has an interest rate of 1.62% and a maturity of five years, it will pay you P1,620 each year until it matures.

The next step is to determine an appropriate discount rate. All the future payments of your bond must be discounted to equal its present value. To do this, you must look up the current rates for new-issue bonds that are the same as the bond you’re pricing. We’ll assume this value is 1.0097.

Then, you need to determine the present value of the remaining payments. This is determined by dividing each payment by (1 + r)t where r refers to the discount rate determined in the last step and t refers to the numbered payment remaining. Example:

  • Present value of the next payment: P1,620/1.0097 = P1,604
  • Present value of payment two years out: P1,620/(1.0097)2 = P1,589
  • Present value of payment three years out:  P1,620/(1.0097)3 =P1,574
  • Present value of final payment: P1,620/(1.0097)4 = P1,559
  • Finally, calculate the value of the bond by adding the present values of future payments: P1,604 + P1,589 + P1,574 + P1,559 = P4,767
How do I decide which bonds to invest in?

Just like any investment, it is integral to take a look at your risk tolerance. It is also recommended to check the bond rating to assess the degree of risk that is inherent to the instrument.

Next, factor in the maturity date of the bond, as well as its interest rate (fixed or floating). You should also look at the history of the bond issuer and assess if they are able to handle interest payments well in the past.  

How does the interest rate affect bond prices?

The prices of bonds have an inverse relationship with interest rates. When the interest rate increases, the price of the bond decreases. On the flip side, when the interest rate decreases, the prices increase.

But why is this the case?

The bond price reflects the value investors can get through its interest payments. If the prevailing interest rate falls, older bonds that have higher interest rates become valuable. Therefore, investors who have these bonds can charge a high rate to sell them in the secondary market. 

If the interest rates increase, it means that older bonds become less valuable since their interest payments become lower compared to new bonds. Therefore, the price drops, and they are traded at a discount.


Disclaimer: All information listed in this article is for information purposes only. Although utmost effort was made to ensure accuracy of information on this website, readers must not solely rely on it in making any investment or financial decision since it does not take into consideration the risk tolerance, financial situation, investment goals, and experience of readers. It is best to consult a professional financial planner or your bank before investing to make a more informed choice and limit your risk exposure.

About Amiel Pineda

Amiel Pineda is the Head of Content at Grit PH.

He started freelance writing in 2010 doing product reviews and tech news. In 2018, he became a full-time freelancer, writing in the financial space and creating content for clients in various niches.

Prior to freelancing full-time, he worked 7 years in the financial services industry for a Fortune 500 company.

He also writes on his personal blog, Homebased Pinoy (https://homebasedpinoy.com/), where he shares tips and guides as a work-from-home freelancer, along with NFT-game guides.

Education: Technological Institute of the Philippines (Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering)
Focus: Freelancing, Entrepreneurship, Financial Products, Investing & Personal Finance

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Thomas james Lee says

    Hi I recently in January this year purchased two and a half year fixed bond with SM
    Now they announced they will deferred because of the coronavirus issued.
    How can I get back my money because I don’t want to invest in them anymore?

    Thanks

  2. Jenny Costa says

    Hi! I have been reading your articles. They are helpful and easy to understand.
    The way you present the details makes it easy to read. I am encouraged more to continue saving and investing.

    Thank you. May God bless you more.

  3. Ann/E says

    Thank you for making this easy to understand and direct to the point. The steps you provided are very clear and easy to follow.

  4. Renn A. says

    Hi! I just read your article and it is very informative. I downloaded the bond.ph app but sign up is not available at the moment so , i’ll try again .I would like to buy some bonds🙂

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