Important: Accessing Your Money Overseas

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Author: Reekay V.

Since 2012 I’ve been traveling through various islands of the Philippines as a full-time Expat and spent 1999 living in Vietnam.

Share with me my ongoing adventures of life in the Philippines. Hopefully you find my observations helpful in your own adventures.
— Reekay


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  2. In Thailand the banking systems encourage you to transfer money between Thai banks. Transfers are free, its easy, its pretty flexible, so much so that very tiny merchants often offer it. And the ATM card doesn’t have fees.
    Don’t know if its offered in Phil, might be worth checking out.

  3. If you have a retirement visa why not set up accounts in the Phillipines? With direct deposits from retirement s

  4. Not sure about anyone else, but my two banking institutions will not allow Western Union. This is one of the major concerns I’ve been having in my plans to retire to the Philippines, or even travel during my retirement. Hopefully I can get a bank account set up once I get set up there, along with my SRRV. I hope to be able to transfer funds that was as well as the other options. I still plan on keeping at least a sufficient amount readily available, just in case I need to make an unexpected trip back to the US to straighten out such messes.

  5. Was fortunate when Citibank had a branch at Ayala in Cebu. They have since closed their S/E Asian banks this summer. Darn was able to withdraw much money per day having a US Citi account. Will do a dry run before I get back to Cebu transferring between Citibank or wise and my Metro bank

  6. Hi Reekay, I have enjoyed your channel for a long time, appreciate all your wisdom. Quick question pertaining to cellphone: I plan on being in Vietnam in January, next to Cambodia and Laos, then off to Thailand for 30 days, before two months in PH. I have T-mobile and plan on using my new IPhone for text and data usage at no charge to stay connected back home. I have an old Iphone 6 and I’m curious if I can just buy a sim card and usage plan for each local country and use it for local communications. Or is there a better way to stay connected at home and also have local number in each country?

  7. Reekay, this was a good topic to address – I believe you have discussed it at times in the past – since ensuring you have your finances and banking arrangements worked out in advance is really important for someone planning to stay in PH for an extended period. I’ve had plenty of learning experiences over the past several years regarding access to Funds in the US, while in PH. Really a good idea to open an account in a PH bank if you are planning to live there for a while. Makes it much easier.

  8. I am retiring in the Philippines very soon but have never actually visited. I have found two Philippine banks in the USA where a foreigner can open an account before visiting the Philippines. Metrobank requires a $1500 deposit to open a checking account and if you keep your balance at $1500 or above you avoid the $10 per mounth fee. Philippine National Bank requires a foreigner to open a savings account for six months before they will allow a foreigner to open a checking account. They will open a savings account with a reloadable debit card to start. Both are good options. I plan to write myself a personal check from my US credit union and deposit it in my Filipino checking account whenever I wish to transfer funds. I dont care if it takes me 20 or 30 days to cllear the check. By using this method,, I will never have to worry about my us debit card being expired or locked out by fraud alerts or other BS. If there is a problem with my Filipino debit card,it will be easier to fix it in the Philippines. I just don’t feel that I can depend on xoom and western union for my finances.
    Here are the links for the banks:

  9. I had the same problem with my bank in the Philippines (Robinson’s Bank). For the last 17 years I was able to access my account from the states. Since last May I was not able to sign-in due to the bank making security changes. Called the bank many times with no success to fix the problem. The only way I was able to access my account was to go to the Philippines and re-establish my phone number. They were not able to do this over the phone. This is life in a third-world country.

  10. I had a problem with BDO and Etrade. I wired 35,000 us from Etrade to BDO but Etrade send it to my old account at BDO. All my wire info was correct and with my new account number at BDO but the money disappeared and I could never recover my money even after I contacted Etrade. It’s been years now so I got screwed by both banks. I believe someone at BDO got the money.

  11. While we were there we were able to use a US based CapOne Venture card for a lot of things. Also we maxed out the transfer limits on Remitly before leaving the US. We had a BPI USD account set up very shortly after arriving so we were able to deposit checks in USD.

  12. Great advice brother! I plan on setting up multiple accounts to get my money when I visit the Philippines!

  13. Enrique, I too am a great believer of plan a b c and D. My plan d is for me to possess $2,000 USD in cash. I surmise that that will be enough to get to Manila and catch a plane back to the States, without too much pain involved.

  14. What about going to a bank in the Philippines in person with your bank card with your name on it and your passport and take out money from you account in Canada?

  15. Ally and Capital One 360 and other online banks are good options. Careful with the big banks especially, Wells Fargo is in a constant state of flux fyi. Make sure you can pull money from your accounts. Don’t count on sending because if you can’t login your toast. Keep extra funds on hand. I would do a minimum of 3 accounts with 3 debit cards. Why when you lose the first card murphy will be there. Also, use all cards once in awhile just so you know if there is an issue. And keep an active US phone number preferably real VOIP numbers can be shut down by the banks.

  16. Be careful on the ATM machines you choose to use there too. I have had my debit card swallowed. I make sure the machines are next to a bank or hotel to ensure assistance is available if this happens. Avoid ATMs in the middle of nowhere.

  17. Many foreigners do have a Philippines bank account also to protect themselves in case they are temporarily cut off from their home bank. Can you identify which Philippines banks are the most reputable and what would be a good safety amount to keep there. I thought that $5000 would be a good amount as it would also account for any medical emergency or instant flight necessity. I think this would be helpful to many. If you addressed this in a past video a link would be great. Thanks.

  18. Why don’t Americans just use Wells Fargo which has a branch in Manila. Wells Fargo will not be bought out and all normal safety protocols can be put in place. With a location in the Philippines it makes thing much easier. A smart man also keeps a safe fund in a Philippines reputable bank just in case an issue arises with a person’s home bank that has a branch in the Philippines.

  19. I am not in the Philippines, but PayPal just closed my account after being with them for over 17 years. I never had any issue, and they won’t tell me why they closed my account for “security purposes” such BS. You give good advice, have 2 or 3 bank accounts. I am going to open an account with Chase soon.

  20. looking healthy Henry!…good job!… you have a VPN site recommendation?…many thanks

  21. I hear a lot of people referring to Charles Schwab. It’s my understanding ATM fees are reimbursed.

  22. Absolutely right Reekay, Have more than one way to transfer and access money. I have far to many friends knocking on my door in the middle of the night because they cannot manage their finances. Their problem becomes my problem. I will throw a word of caution on Paypal. They froze my account: Reason given, under investigation for suspicious activities on the darkweb. WTF? I can log onto my account, I can see my balance. I cannot add or transfer funds. What about answering my inquiry at their help line. It is in India. I have called so many times, the agent pulls up my account and hangs up. They do not answer my emails. So much for custormer service. That is why one needs more than one way to transfer money. Paypal BLOWS!

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