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Having a savings account is one of the best ways to take control of your finances. For those living in the Philippines, there are considerably fewer options than you might expect in places such as the USA and Europe, though you should still be able to find an option that suits you. Over time, a savings account can be a great way of building up a source of funding for things like medical bills, larger purchases or unexpected emergencies. As with loans and credit cards, the banks and other providers offer products that can vary in terms of value for money and quality if service.

Things to consider before opening a savings account in the Philippines:

Monthly Average Daily Balance Requirement

Also known as MADB, this term refers to how much money you will need to have in your account before you start to incur penalty fees. Most accounts in the Philippines have this feature, so ensure that you are able to maintain the minimum level required if you want to avoid facing potentially expensive charges.

Interest Rates

Though there isn’t usually too much difference between the interest rates you can expect from a savings account in the Philippines, comparing alternatives to ensure you are getting the best value is always a good idea. As of 2019, rates for savings are usually between 0.25% and 1.25% per year. The rate you will be offered can depend on the amount you can deposit as well as other factors such as your financial history.

Minimum Initial Deposit

In order to open a savings account in the Philippines, you will need to be able to make a deposit that is equal to or higher than the bank’s specified minimum initial deposit. Depending on who you choose, this can be as low as 500 p, which is the equivalent to just under ten dollars in 2019. This means even those with a low income or very little in the way of spare cash will be able to consider this type of account. How much interest you can earn depends on the size of your initial deposit.

Minimum Maintaining Balance

To ensure that your account stays open you will need to maintain a balance of specified amount. If you fall below this, you can expect to pay penalty fees. This practice may seem unusual to customers from outside of the Philippines but it is commonplace for the vast majority, if not all providers. Like initial deposit amounts, this figure varies from bank to bank. The lowest balance you can expect to have to maintain is around 5000 p. This is generally manageable for most people as it equates to around 100 dollars in 2019. Higher minimum maintaining balances attract higher interest rates, so the more you can put in, the more you can potentially earn from your savings.

What do I need to open a savings account in the Philippines?

Like most countries, to open a savings account while in the Philippines, you will need to provide valid photographic identification. This will usually be a passport, driving licence or other similar, official documents. (If you are unsure about what is required, contact the bank directly to ask for details.) You will also need to provide proof of your address and have enough money to meet the minimum initial deposit set by the bank.

Which are the best savings accounts in the Philippines?

This depends on your individual needs and circumstances. It is highly recommended that you spend some time comparing rates as well as the terms and conditions of the account. Here are a selection of some accounts that are currently available:

Citibank Peso High Rate Saver Account

With no maintaining balance and an interest rate of 0.70% for funds of between P 100,000 and p 2,000,000, the Citibank High Rate Saver account offers customers two monthly cash withdrawals for free. Further transaction at ATMS or banks will incur a charge of P 20 and P 50 respectively. This account is a good potential option for those who can afford to make the initial deposit of 100,000, especially as there is specific balance to maintain once you have done this.

Security Bank eSecure Savings Account

For those who prefer to make a lower minimum deposit, the security bank, eSecure account is a great option as you can start with as little as 500 p. They have an online service that allows customers to manage their accounts and offer high interest rates to those who can deposit a substantial amount of money. They also provide you with the option to open multiple accounts (up to 10) so you can save for specific items simultaneously. You will need to be able adhere to the minimum maintaining balance of 5000 p but this should be a manageable amount for those with a sustained income.

BPI Regular Maxi Saver Account

This account is a good option for those who intend to regularly use ATMs to withdraw their money while in the Philippines. You can choose between their “passbook” option or the ATM version of the product. Rates vary and Passbook accounts have a slightly higher minimum maintaining balance. (75 0000 as opposed to 50 000 for a debit card account) The interest you can expect is between 0.25% and 0.75%, but the convenience of being able to use an ATM without incurring charges may act as something of an added incentive.

Summary

All saving accounts offer slightly different perks and the right option for you depends on how much money can deposit as well as how you intend to use the account. To make sure you’re choosing an appropriate product, take some time to shop around, speak to customer service representatives from the banks themselves and pay close attention to the terms and conditions on offer. Charges, penalty fees and other issues can make a seemingly generous offer considerably less appealing. As the Philippines continues to develop, customers can expect more perks, incentives and special offers when opening a savings account, so remember to regularly check out the competition so you can get the best deal.

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