Money Transfer and Remittance Guide for OFWs and Locals

10 min. read By eCompareMo on
Money Transfer and Remittance Guide for OFWs and Locals

Personal remittances from overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) reached a whopping $2.7 billion during the first quarter of 2016, or 1.4% higher than the previous year, per the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Hard-working Filipinos overseas who subsidize for their loved ones’ needs and wants deserve more than just salute and recognition. Every centavo they send also equates to blood, sweat, and tears. That is why when remitting money, OFWs should opt for means that are secure, convenient, and cost-efficient.

What is the cheapest way to send money to the Philippines? What are the most convenient? To answer these questions, here are the options for OFWs in remitting cash to their loved ones back home.

Remittance Centers

These are the conventional means of sending money locally and abroad. Their branches are scattered around the Philippines, even in those remote places that banks can’t reach, and every Filipino knows what these are for.

1. Cebuana Lhuillier Pera Padala

Cebuana Lhuillier is one of the companies under the PJ Lhuillier Group of Companies. Established in 1998, PJLGC owns and manages businesses that provide financial services such as remittance, pawning, microinsurance, and B2B microloans. It has 2,300 local branches with 4,000 agents and 80 partners overseas.

Service Highlights:

  • 24k Rewards Program – Transactions can accumulate points which can be claimed as discounts, privileges, freebies, or special service.
  • Micro-savings Program – A regular banking service at 0.30% interest yearly with no maintaining balance.
  • 24/7 Accessibility – Located mostly in Metro Manila and key cities.
  • Online service – eCebuana.com

2. LBC Instant Peso Padala

Starting out as a brokerage and air cargo agent in 1945, LBC is a pioneer in cargo shipping and express delivery in the Philippines. They have grown into a leading provider of courier, logistic, and remittance services for Filipinos here (3,000 branches) and abroad.

Amount Instant Peso Padala Remit to Account Card Loading Peso Pak Door to Door
100 6 100 3 35
100 – 200 15 6 37
200 – 300 300 – 400 20 12
300 – 400 25 12 54
400 – 500 30 15 49
500 – 600 35 18 71
600 – 700 40 21 76
700 – 800 45 24 80
800 – 900 50 27
900 – 1,000 30
1,000 – 1,500 75 120 45 119
1,500 – 2,000 100 60 140
2,000 – 2,500 125 75 179
2,500 – 3,000 150 90 200
3,000 – 4,000 180 150 120 260
4,001 – 5,000 220 150 320

Service Highlights:

  • Peso Pak Door-to-Door Delivery – The cash is delivered straight to the recipient’s address. This offers convenience to those who can’t pick up the cash like the sick, PWDs, or elderly.
  • Remit to Account – This feature allows you to send remittance straight to a bank account.
  • Online service – lbchome.com

3. M Lhuillier Kwarta Padala

M Lhuillier envisions being a word – class provider of financial services by perpetually improving and maintaining its growth and good organizational culture. ML has over 2,000 local branches.

Amount Rate
100 7
101 – 200 13
201 – 300 18
301 – 400 25
401 – 500 30
501 – 600 35
601 – 800 40
801 – 900 45
901 – 1,000 50
1,001 – 1,500 80
1,501 – 2,000 100
2,001 – 2,500 130
2,501 – 3,000 150
3,001 – 4,000 150
4,001 – 9,500 180
9,501 – 14,000 220
14,001 – 30,000 240
30,001 – 40,000 300
40,001 – 50,000 350

Service Highlights:

  • 24/7 Accessibility – Located mostly in Metro Manila and key cities.
  • ML Express – Using your ML wallet and a tablet, you can manage your remittances conveniently.

4. Palawan Express Pera Padala

Palawan Pawnshop originally began in , you guessed it, Palawan’s capital of Puerto Princesa City back in 1985. Its pawn brokering was partnered with money remittance that allowed it to continue its growth. For over 30 years now, the company expanded its services so now it also offers money changing, bills payment, e – loading, and insurance through its over 2,000 local branches.

Amount Rates on Metro Manila & North Luzon Rates on South Luzon, Visayas & Mindanao
100 P3 2
101 – 200 P6 3
201 – 300 P9
301 – 400 12 8
401 – 500 15
501 – 600 18 10
601 – 700 21 12
701 – 800 24
801 – 900 27
901 – 1,000 30 15
1,001 – 1,500 45 20
1,501 – 2,000 60 30
2,001 – 2,500 75 40
2,501 – 3,000 90 50
3,001 – 3,500 95 60
3,501 – 4,000 115 70
4,001 – 5,000 125 90
5,001 – 6,000 145 115
6,001 – 7,000 115
7,001 – 8,000 165 125
8,001 – 9,500 185
9,501 – 10,000 195 140
10,001 – 14,000 210 210
14,001 – 15,000 220 220
15,001 – 20,000 250 250
20,001 – 30,000 290 290
30,001 – 40,000 320 320
40,001 – 50,000 345 345

Service Highlights:

  • Instant Notification – Through an SMS, both sender and receiver are notified if the money has been processed and/or claimed.
  • Suki Card – A point system that gives 5% discount and 2% rewards on remittance fees.
  • Padala to Bank Account – This feature also allows you to send remittance straight to a bank account.

5. RD Pawnshop Padala

Originally a pawnshop business in General Santos City, RD Pawnshop Padala rapidly expanded its industry from finances to manufacturing. The RD Pawnshop Inc also established a small jewelry boutique in Cebu. It has over 700 branches.

Amount Rate
100 Free
100 – 200 2
201 – 300 2
301 – 500 7
501 – 700 10
701 – 900 12
901 – 1,000 13
1,001 – 1,500 18
1,501 – 2,000 26
2,001 – 2,500 34
2,501 – 3,000 41
3,001 – 3,500 51
3,501 – 4,000 61
4,001 – 5,000 76
5,000 – 6,500 96
6,501 – 7,000 101
7,001 – 9,500 109
9,501 – 10,000 119
10,001 – 14,000 180
14,001 – 15,000 190
15,001 – 20,000 220
20,001 – 30,000 258
30,001 – 40,000 286
40,001 – 50,000 311

Service Highlights:

  • Free remittance – You can send an amount of P100 and less with no fee.
  • Discount – Remittance fee gets discount starting at P301.
  • Rebates – Remittance fee gets rebates starting at P901
  • Service Availability – RD Pawnshops opens on holidays, except for Good Friday, Black Saturday, Christmas, and New Year.

6. TrueMoney Padala

TrueMoney is a sub – company of the Thailand – based Ascend Group. It was opened in 2003 in its home country but has since branched out to other ASEAN countries such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and the Philippines. It has 13,500 TrueMoney centers.

Amount Rate
100 Free
101 – 200 1
201 – 300
301 – 400 6
401 – 500
501 – 600 9
601 – 700
701 – 800 11
801 – 900
901 – 1,000 12
1,001 – 1,500 17
1,501 – 2,000 25
2,001 – 2,500 45
2,501 – 3,000 55
3,001 – 3,500 65
3,500 – 4,000 75
4,001 – 4,500 95
4,501 – 5,000 110
5,001 – 6,000 125
6,001 – 7,000 145
7,001 – 7,500 155
7,501 – 8,000 165
8,001 – 8,500 180
8,501 – 9,500 200
9,501 – 10,000 230
10,001 – 15,000 250
15,001 – 20,000 300
20,001 – 30,000 330
30,001 – 40,000 350
40,001 – 50,000 380

Service Highlits

  • Wide Accessibility – Many small business establishments sign up to become TrueMoney centers, so you can find them literally everywhere.
  • SMS Alerts – Senders are notified of the transfer details through a mobile message.

7. Villarica Pawnshop Pera Padala

Established in 1954, the pawnshop was opened by a jeweler in Bulacan named Paz Villarica. Her surviving heirs made it grow into a corporation that offers a variety of services with over 500 branches.

70

Amount Rate
100 1
101 – 200 2
201 – 300 3
301 – 500 9
501 – 700 12
701 – 1,000 156
1,001-1500 20
1,501 – 2,000 30
2,001 – 2,500 40
2,501 – 3,000 50
3,001 – 3,500 60
3,501 – 4,000 70
4,001 – 5,000 90
5,001 – 6,500 115
6,501 – 7,000 120
7,001 – 9,500 125
9,501 – 10,000 140
10,001 – 14,000 208
14,001 – 15,000 218
15,001 – 20,000 248
20,001 – 30,000 288
30,001 – 40,000 320
40,001 – 50,000 345
50,001 and above 345 + 1% in excess of 50,000

Service Highlights:

  • POS Withdrawal – You can get the cash you will send from the pawnshop itself through your ATM Card.

8. Western Union Sulit Padala and Overseas Money Transfer

Western Union is a leading international money transfer service provider with 8,400 local branches serving 200 countries with different currencies.

Amount Domestic Rate
1 – 500 5
501 – 1,000 15
1,001 – 2,000 25
2,001 – 3,000 45
3,001 – 5,000 85
5,001 – 7,000 115
7,001 – 10,000 125
10,001 – 15,000 540
15,001 – 50,000 595
50,001 and above 2%

Service Highlights:

  • My WU Membership Program – A rewards program using point system to get discounts on the succeeding transfer fees.
  • Track a Transfer – Customers can check the remittance status online
  • Online service – westernunion.com, PayMaya for a mobile wallet

Electronic, Mobile, and Online Money Transfer

This is the most convenient among all the modes of remittances. A transaction is right in the palm of your hands as everything is done over the internet or mobile phone. Convenience, however, comes at a price, and the user must pay a fee through their credit card and/or their bank.

1. Coins.ph

Coins PH is a fintech company giving Filipinos to have a mobile wallet. Using your phone, you can enjoy services such as bills payment, card-less ATM, or game credit purchase. Of course, you can also remit money straight to their Coins account or to Western Union in different parts of the world.

2. eCebuana

All the financial services of Cebuana Lhuillier are made available online. Those with 24K Online Portal can use their details in using the online service.

3. GCash Remit

GCash is much like Coins.ph but it is managed by Globe Telecom. Aside from working as an e- wallet, you can also use it to send money to another GCash account or an GCash-accredited remittance center, where anyone can pick up the money, regardless of mobile network or a smartphone. Remittance rates range from P10 – P200.

4. LBC Home

This is the online service of LBC Remittance, serving around several more than 20 countries with various local and international partners.

5. MoneyGram

MoneyGram serves family and friends around the world by connecting them through dynamic and efficient money transfer and payment services. From abroad, you can send money to over 600 branches nationwide or through their mobile app.

6. PayMaya

PayMaya card is a prepaid card, which you can use to purchase or for savings. You can also send money locally through various means and receive remittances through Western Union. The card could be virtual and physical, with functions that vary.

7. Payoneer

Payoneer is a fintech company that lets you pay, manage your funds, and receive money locally and abroad. Withdrawing your cash is available through local banks.

8. PayPal

Using PayPal, you can purchase online, send payments, and remit money with ease and security.

9. Remitly

From the other side of the world, Remitly allows you to send money to 10,000 locations comprising of local banks, remittance centers, SM malls, and accredited outlets.

10. Ria Money Transfer

This company provides safe and reliable money transfers from and to 369,000+ locations all over the world

11. SmartPadala

Smart Padala, operated by the telco Smart Communications, is an easy way to receive and send money using your mobile phone. Pickup is available in all Smart Padala centers. It is also in partnership with PayMaya.

12. Transfast

You can source your money transfer from your bank and send it either as bank deposit or cash pickup. Recipients may be anywhere from the 50 serviced countries.

13. TransferWise

TransferWise debunks the myth of 0% commissions and free money transfers of the banks, but boasting the company’s service with honest costs, real exchange rates, and minimal fees that are intendedly not hidden.

14. WesternUnion

The leading global money transfer gone digital.

15. Xoom

Powered by PayPal, you have the options to send the money for bank account, cash pickup, and delivery.

Bank Remittance Services

Philippine banks now offer remittance accounts for the convenience of OFWs. This enables Filipino families to receive money through banks’ remittance partners.

This type of account also serves as a savings account, which can also accrue interests over time.

Here are the top five banks in the Philippines with their remittance services:

1. BDO

  • BDO Remit International Network
  • BDO Kabayan Savings Account (using your credit)
  • BDO Remit Status Inquiry
  • Cash Pickup Anywhere
  • BDO Remit Text Service
  • Food Remittance Service

2. Metrobank

  • Credit to Metrobank Accounts and World Cash Card
  • Credit to other Philippine Bank Accounts
  • Cash Pick-up Services
  • Door-to-Door Cash Delivery

3. Landbank

  • Direct Credit to LANDBANK accounts (CA/SA)
  • Credit to other banks (via PESONet)
  • Cash pickup through LANDBANK branches
  • Cash pickup through remittance partners
  • Text Notification

4. BPI

  • Express credit to BPI accounts (BPI/BPI Family Bank/BPI Direct)
  • Express pickup at BPI branches
  • Credit to other Philippine bank accounts (within 24 hours)
  • Door-to-door delivery

5. PNB

  • PNB Web Remit (UK, US)
  • Remit through Fargo Express Send
  • Send through Phone Remittance (UK)
  • Remit through 7 Eleven Outlets (HongKong)
  • Remit through Postal Service (Japan)
  • Remit through PostFinance (Switzerland)
  • Credit to Account/PNB account/Global Filipino Money Card (GFMC)
  • Credit to Another Bank Account
  • PNB 3D (Door-to-Door Delivery)
  • Remittance Pickup

Testimony

“I do bank remittance in Lucky Plaza, where all the remittance centers are. I started going there because I could pay my SSS, Pag-IBIG, and send money—either to my BDO bank account or Cash Pick-Up—all in one transaction for less cost. If there’s another center that would allow me to remit using my card, then I’d transfer there for convenience.” – Irene Curtis, a magazine editor based in Singapore

ATM service

It’s best to open an account with ATM systems like Cirrus, Plus, or Maestro and just send the ATM card to the Philippines. Note that you must not send the PIN number with the card for safeguarding purposes.

As long as the account has money, you can easily get and withdraw cash anytime, for a minimal cost of around P200. International ATM cards usually allow a maximum amount of P4,000 per withdrawal.

Important Tips When Transferring Money

1. Never use the regular postal service to send money or even a check.
Sending money through the mail just to avoid remittance fees is neither safe nor reliable. There is a very real danger that money sent through post will never reach its destination as it will get stolen or even lost along the way. Besides, some companies don’t allow money to be sent in mail or parcel.

2. Watch out for the peso-to-dollar exchange rates.
Truth be told, there is an actual rate that the banks exchange money with. Little do you know, a hidden fee is charged every time you transfer, depending on the method you use.
Money transmitters apply different markup rates and daily rates fluctuate so firms can take full advantage of revenues. Be price-sensitive and observe which of the service providers have more stable markups.

3. Choose a reputable agency or remittance firm.
Most of the time, off-the-radar remittance centers offering ridiculously low rates are scams. Always do your research and look for reviews about customers’ experience. Not only does it guarantee safety and security, you may also learn about their rates and typical transaction period.

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eCompareMo

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