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Think about your most special possession – whether or not it’s the most expensive thing you own, it would surely break your heart to lose it. This is exactly why you need to set up a safe place to store this item.
Newsflash: it shouldn’t be a carton box under your bed. Or an old Sky Flakes tin can that you refuse to throw away.
Sure, you can definitely keep your prized possessions safe in your home, but having a safety deposit box at your disposal will prepare you for the unexpected in case emergencies happen.
When it comes to keeping your belongings safe and protected, safe deposit boxes are unparalleled. Think: Harry Potter’s Gringotts Wizarding Bank minus the frightening fire-breathing dragon as the alarm.
If you’ve never had access to a safety deposit box in banks before, don’t worry. There’s absolutely no reason to get intimidated by it. These services are surprisingly very accessible, convenient, and affordable.
Related: Top Banks in the Philippines
What is a Safety Deposit Box?
A safe deposit box or safety deposit box is a secured container, usually made of metal, that stays in a safe or vault of a bank. These are used to keep a wide array of items safe.
People rely on safety deposit boxes, as well as the security of their chosen bank, to ensure the contents are protected from theft, as well as natural disasters.
When you rent a safety deposit box, your bank will give you a key, and a bank employee may also hold a second “guard key” to access it. Some banks also use a keyless system where you have to scan your hand or finger to access the box (still probably not available in the Philippines).
You can rent a safety deposit box alone or add people to the lease. When you do the latter, all your co-lessors will have equal access and rights to whatever is in your safety deposit box.
What are the things you can store in a safety deposit box?
Before you know what can be stored inside a safety deposit box, it’s important to note that the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation does not insure these boxes since banks are not privy to their content or value.
However, some banks have a limit on what can go into these boxes. For instance, it’s not permitted to keep explosives and illegal things there.
What you can put in your safety deposit box includes hard-to-replace documents such as:
- Bond certificates
- Business papers
- Adoption papers
- School transcripts
- Deed to your house
- Car titles
- Hard drives with important data
- Family heirlooms
- Rarely-own jewelry
- Rare coins
These boxes are usually small so make sure to use the allotted space wisely.
Pros & Cons of a Safety Deposit Box
Not sure whether or not it’s worth it to rent a safety deposit box? We’ll discuss its advantages and disadvantages below.
You can keep your items protected from natural disasters
Storms, floods, and fires can cause major havoc to your valuables.
Thankfully, the safety deposit boxes in banks are highly resistant to elements and disastrous conditions so you know your things are safe even if there’s a typhoon or any natural disaster.
It keeps your items protected from theft
No one wants to imagine all their hard-to-replace possessions to be gone in a flash. Unfortunately, this can happen in real life due to theft.
Therefore, it’s smart to keep your valuables in a safety deposit box at your trusted bank.
It’s a good way to keep your valuables private
A safety deposit box keeps your things away from prying eyes, making it a good place to hide precious and private documents such as adoption papers, diaries, and contracts.
This is also a good storage place for documents containing personal information.
You can have peace of mind that your items will not be lost/misplaced
It can be frustrating to lose important items that could take you a while to replace.
Having a safety deposit box will make handling important documents less stressful since you know where to find your important possessions at all times.
Your family will know where to find your important documents
If you have things that are very hard to replace, then you know that you have to take extra care of them. Therefore, you should place them in safety deposit boxes in banks.
Even when you pass away, your family will know where to find these items.
The size is limited
Obviously, a safety deposit box doesn’t have unlimited storage space. This means that you need to make sure that you only put in things that will fit in it.
If you want a bigger box, prepare to shell out more money.
You must always keep the key safe
Since safety deposit boxes require a key, you need to keep it somewhere safe. As much as possible, you must not lose the key to your box.
If you do, you’ll need to request another one which can be a hassle. Losing your key or forcing the bank to open your safety deposit box will also entail fees.
You won’t have 24/7 access to it
While you can access your safety deposit box at most major banks, it will not be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
This can be a problem if you need your items during off-business hours.
You need to pay for it
Naturally, renting a safety deposit box from your bank requires you to pay a certain amount of money.
Thankfully, you are only charged on a yearly basis so you don’t need to pay a recurring fee each month.
Your content can be seized
If you failed to pay for your safety deposit box for a long time, or have become inactive, the bank may seize the contents of your box.
Related: Best Savings Accounts in the Philippines
Banks That Offer Safety Deposit Boxes In The Philippines
Here are the different banks where you can open a safety deposit box. When choosing from these options, make sure to consider the security of the bank, as well as the price points of the different safety box sizes.
Security bank is one of the top banks in the Philippines, and among its offers is a highly affordable, convenient, and accessible safety deposit box.
This comes in a wide variety of sizes that is perfect to meet your unique needs. Security Bank also offers one of the biggest sizes of security deposit boxes for clients who want to store bigger items like collectibles.
Rental fee and size:
|Size||Annual Rental fee|
|3 x 5 x 24||Php 600|
|4 x 5 x 24||Php 700|
|5 x 5 x 24||Php 800|
|3 x 10 x 24||Php 1,000|
|4 x 10 x 24||Php 1,200|
|5 x 10 x 24||Php 1,500|
|10 x 10 x 24||Php 2,500|
|15 x 10 x 24||Php 2,700|
|16 x 16 1/2 x 19 1/2||Php 3,000|
- Deposit for 2 keys: Php1,500
- Charges of client-initiated force opening:
- Lock and key replacement fee: Php1,500
- Other charges: Php1,500
It’s no surprise that BPI provides one of the most popular safety deposit box options in the country.
The information about it on the website is limited so we recommend visiting any BPI branch in your area to talk to a representative about available deposit box rentals.
Rental fee: Php2,000 to P6,000 per year
Size: Kindly ask the BPI branch in your area
If you just need a small safety deposit box and don’t want to pay a huge sum for it, this is one of your best options.
Chinabank offers tons of different sizes for safety deposit boxes, and everything is reasonably priced.
Rental fee and size:
|Size||Annual Rental Fee|
|3 X 5 X 15||Php 500|
|3 X 5 X 22; 4 X 5 X 15||Php 600|
|3 x 5 x 24; 5 x 5 x 15||Php 600|
|4 x 5 x 24||Php 1,000|
|5 x 5 x 22; 5 x 5 x 24||Php 1,200|
|3 x 10 x 22; 3 x 10 x 24||Php 1,500|
|5 x 10 x 15||Php 1,500|
|5 x 10 x 22; 5 x 10 x 24||Php 2,200|
|10 x 10 x 15||Php 3,000|
|10 x 10 x 22; 10 x 10 x 24||Php 3,500|
- Key deposit: Php1,500
- Forced opening: Php5,000
Since 1968, PNB has been offering safety deposit boxes for its clients. PNB encourages its customers to speak directly to the nearest branch in their area if they want to rent a deposit box.
If you have a deposit box with PNB, you’re sure that your possessions are secure and safe 24/7.
Rental fee: Kindly ask the PNB branch in your area
- 0-400 cu. inches
- 401-700 cu. inches
- 701-1000 cu. inches
- 1001-2000 cu. inches
- 2001 and up cu. inches
This is another great option if you want to keep your valuables safe and secured at all times.
The only downside is that there are not a lot of Philtrust bank branches across the country, so your options are limited.
Rental fee and size:
|Size||Annual Rental Fee|
|2 x 5 x 24||Php 900|
|3 x 5 x 21||Php 900|
|3 x 10 x 24||Php 1,100|
|5 x 5 x 21||Php 1,000|
|5 x 10 x 24||Php 1,300|
|5 x 10 x 21||Php 1,300|
|10 x 10 x 21||Php 1,800|
|10 x 10 x 23||Php 2,000|
- Key deposit: Php2,000
- Force opening (two lost keys): Php2,500 or actual cost/charge of servicing company plus 30% of the actual cost, whichever is higher
- Refitting lockset (one lost key): P2,000 or actual cost/charge of servicing company plus 30% of the actual cost, whichever is higher
Note: For provincial branches, same prices will be collected plus additional charge by service provider of at least Php500 based on the location
Another option worth considering if you’re looking for a safety deposit box to store your special belongings is EastWest. For its size, the prices of its safety boxes are quite affordable.
Rental fee and size:
|Size||Annual Rental Fee|
|5 x 5 x 24||Php1,000|
|5 x 10 x 24||Php1,500|
|10 x 10 x 24||Php2,500|
- Key deposit: Php1,000
One of the newest and most affordable choices for Filipinos that want to access a safety deposit box is Welcome Bank. Currently, Welcome Bank only has a few branches in the Philippines.
Rental fee and size:
|Size||Annual Rental Fee|
- Key deposit: Php500
Tips for Things to Keep And Not To Keep In Your Safety Deposit Box
It’s no secret that keeping your valuables and important documents safe is no walk in the park. Thankfully, a safety deposit box will give you peace of mind that your possessions will be safe at all times.
Despite this, you can’t possibly keep every single important thing you own here. Remember that you can only access your safety deposit box during banking hours, and it may not be possible to access it on holidays and weekends.
That said, do not store items there that you might need in case of an emergency, as well as items you may need in a hurry.
Take a look at this guide below to see what to keep and what not to keep in a deposit box.
Things to keep in your safety deposit box
Birth, marriage, annulment, and death certificates
These important records are some of the best items you can put in your deposit boxes since they can be hard to replace when lost.
If you have documents that have sentimental value, such as your old diaries, letters, and photographs, it’s better to store them in a safety deposit box.
These items are generally very hard or impossible to replace once lost so storing them in a safe place is the best way to keep them secure and protected from damage.
Alongside documents, a safety deposit box is the perfect home for small valuable items you love but don’t wear all the time such as tiaras or family heirlooms.
If you have jewelry that you constantly use such as your engagement and wedding rings, it’s probably not a good idea to store it here.
Insurers recommend clients create a home insurance inventory, which is a complete list of all the belongings they own, plus their value.
When you have this important document, you can easily file a claim when disaster strikes. You don’t have to go through the hassle of remembering every single thing you owned.
While you can scan your photos and store them digitally, there’s nothing quite like holding an old photo in your hand.
Keeping important family photos from your childhood or your older relatives will shield them from the elements. Make sure to have a digital backup first before storing it in a deposit box for good.
It can be hard to keep track of paperwork from real estate. Keeping them stored in a safety deposit box will ensure you don’t lose them, and you know exactly where to get them should you need them in the future.
This is not only true for land and home titles, but also car titles.
Things to not keep in your safety deposit box
Whether you love traveling or not, you never know when you may need your passport for a spontaneous vacation or business trip.
Your covid-19 vaccination card
Although you don’t need to show your vaccination card every day, it’s still recommended to keep it in your home or your wallet. When you lose this document, it’s also quite easy to replace.
Only copies of documents
When it comes to only copies of advanced medical directives, living wills, and durable powers of attorney, it’s better to keep them in a spot where your relatives and loved ones can easily access them.
Only copies of your last will
If you have not designated a co-signer or co-lessor to your safety deposit box, never keep your will there.
If you become incapacitated or pass away, it will be extremely hard for your family to access this box, and thus the document.
Jewelry that is not insured
Safety deposit boxes are generally safe, but you should still ensure your valuable items are covered by insurance wherever you want to store them.
As stated above, the PDIC does not insure the contents of safety deposit boxes so if you lose your valuable jewelry or family heirloom, there’s no way to get it back.
Keeping a spare key to your home or car in your safety deposit box is not the best idea because you can’t access them outside banking hours.
If you have specific instructions on where you want to be buried, do not store it in your safety deposit box.
When you keep it locked away here, your loved ones will not have an idea whether or not you wanted to be cremated, or you would have preferred an in-ground burial.
Again, the items in your safety deposit box are not insured by the PDIC. It’s better to keep your money in your account where it is insured and earning interest.
Any hazardous materials, drugs, or explosives should not be kept in any safety deposit box. If you want to keep firearms in your box, make sure to ask your bank if they allow such items.
Safety Deposit Box FAQs
Still got questions about how a safety deposit box works? We’ll answer them below.
How do I access my safety deposit box?
It’s so easy. Just go to your bank and bring the key to your safety deposit box. You may need to sign a signature card for documentation purposes.
Don’t worry, a staff will assist you throughout the process.
Can anyone else access my safety deposit box?
If you want more people to access your safety deposit box, you can sign them as a co-renter.
To do this, you need to visit your bank with the individual you want to give access to your SDB. After this, they will have equal rights to you when it comes to the contents of the box.
What can I store in a safety deposit box?
There’s a myriad of things you can store in your safety deposit box. Whether it’s small collectibles, important documents like death certificates and adoption records, or family photos, it will be safe inside your box. That said, there are also things that are not recommended to store inside your SDB.
Are safety deposit boxes secure?
Yes. Safety deposit boxes are very secure, and it’s the best and safest place to keep certain documents and items.
How much does a safety deposit box cost?
The cost depends on the size of your safety deposit box. Rental usually ranges from P600 to P6,000 per year.
How do I choose the right size safety deposit box?
First, determine the items/documents you want to place inside your safety deposit box. From here, you can choose the best width and height for it.
For instance, if you’re just planning on keeping a few documents there, a 3 x 5 x 24in. box would be sufficient. But if you plan on keeping tons of family photos, or even small artworks and collectibles, opt for a bigger box.
Are there any restrictions on what I can store in a safety deposit box?
Each bank may place certain limitations on what can and cannot be placed inside a safety deposit box. Keep in mind that it’s also not allowed to store anything illegal, liquid, or dangerous inside it.
Can I insure the items in my safety deposit box?
The PDIC does not insure the contents inside these boxes, but you can do so with a third-party insurance company.
What happens to the contents of my safety deposit box if I pass away?
This depends on the bank. In some banks, you will sign a document authorizing a descendant/person to open the box and take over its contents if you pass away.
If not, the beneficiary of your life insurance policy will have access to the box.
In some cases, the bank will seal your safety deposit box until an executor proves that he/she has the legal right to access its contents. This can be a long and potentially costly process.
Disclaimer: Grit PH strives to post up-to-date information on all investment, banking, and other financial products we feature. However, information may change without notice. Therefore, we do not guarantee the accuracy of the information listed on the website, including those provided by third parties at any particular time.
It is best to review the updated terms and conditions of your chosen financial institution. Grit PH is not affiliated with the companies mentioned in the article. All testimonials and opinions are representative only of the writer’s experience, but the results will be unique to each individual.
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