How BDO Fixed Our Dollar Account in the Philippines

bdo

BDO, Banco de Oro, is the largest bank in the Philippines. It belongs to the SM Group owned by billionaire Henry Sy. In previous comments to a post regarding a dollar account my asawa and I were trying to open with Banco de Oro, I had threatened to close our account with the banking giant and go to BPI, Bank of the Philippines. But there’s a possibility that BDO has fixed our dollar account in the Philippines. Maybe. How? Let me tell you the story, O True Believer (as I borrow heavily from Stan Lee.)

The Bonehead & the bank guards

Hanging out with Metrobank guards. I’ve never hung out with BDO security yet.

Let it be known that I am a man of very limited patience. I’m an American male. An expat that has lived in the Philippines for over five years with my much more patient wife. I used to refer to her as The Sainted Patient Wife. While my asawa does have a ton more patience than I do, she also has been going through menopause the last couple of years.

Throw her elderly Father, who lives with us, into the mix, and who is suffering from dementia and routinely sings to himself all hours of the morning and  talks to dead people and you might understand why my wife’s stress levels have risen. The fact that we are building a new home in Guimaras, the island province we live in, doesn’t help either. The fact that she has been married to me almost 15 years is also a contributing factor.

The Healer takes Lolo's hand

Lolo, on the right, with the healer. That didn’t work out well.

 

My wife and I have to transfer large sums of money for our bank account in the United States in order to buy a new truck and to build the new digs. We have used the remittance service from XOOM over the past years since my debit card from our U.S. bank expired. XOOM has worked fine for transferring smaller amounts but while they charge only 4.99 per each $2,999.00 transaction, they sock you for almost a peso per dollar on the exchange. That’s not practical for moving large amounts of money.

So when the teller at BDO had set up a BDO Kabayan Savings Account for us, instead of a BDO Dollar Account, and told us we would not be able to deposit checks from our U.S. bank, we were going to close the account and go elsewhere.

But we had to make a trip to Iloilo the other day and I decided to pop into the bank and speak to a different teller than the one that set up our account. When I told the employee that we would be unable to deposit our U.S. checks she advised us that all my wife, who did not have two valid ID’s to open up a BDO Dollar Account, would only need a Barangay Certificate from our home in Guimaras along with an attached Community Tax Certificate, in order to deposit our checks. Our funds would still take 21 business days to clear, but we could use the Kabayan Account for the same purpose as a Dollar Account would serve.

I also expressed my concern to the teller over a problem one of my readers had with BDO. I explained to her that one of my expat friends had wanted to withdraw 1,000 dollars from their account but were told they would have to wait ten days. The employee expressed surprise at this and did say the bank does not carry that much U.S. currency in stock on a daily basis. We would need to call the day before to be sure the bank would have the cash on hand.

Philippines.

 

So after a brief ten minute stop to our local barangay where the new Barangay Captain signed my wife’s certificate, which only cost 60 pesos, $1.33, we were on our way. Did  I mention that one of our local trike drivers took us to the hall at 7:30 am and then told us it did not open until 9:00?

“Why in the hell didn’t he tell us that in the first place?” I asked my wife, in my usual grumpy tone.

“I didn’t know what time it opened!” she exclaimed and had the driver take us to our former home at “The Compound” in the meantime to wait, where her sister, brother-in-law and nieces and nephew reside.

So we will return to Banco de Oro later this week and try to deposit our check from the States and wait for it to clear. From the vast research I have done online regarding the topic of transferring funds from the States to the Philippines, writing a check to yourself and depositing it in a dollar account in the Philippines is the most economical and best way to go.

Has BDO has fixed our dollar account in the Philippines. Maybe. We’ll have to see.

About The Kano 1425 Articles
POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO" OVER 1400 POSTS PUBLISHED SINCE 2009. Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus". He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions. Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 17 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife"'. The couple is based in Guimaras. They have no children but are the proud owners of eight puppies, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer".

9 Comments

  1. Yes, their answers vary from day to day depending on who you talk to. I would be truly amazed if the bank did not have at least $1,000 USD on hand at all times….

    When we moved from San Jose, Antique to Roxas, Capiz we tried to update our bank mailing address and personal info. We were told that we would have to travel back to the BDO branch in Antique to do this. This was prior to the withdrawal incident, which took place a few days later 🙂

    Just curious Dave, BDO’s online “banking” system used to never allow you to exchange money between a BDO USD and BDO Pesos account or to even check status / balance consistently online. Does’t that work these days? Or do you still have to go stand in line with bad customer service to do those tasks? Liza and I rarely have to go stand in line these days. Only when we deposit a USA written check for the most part. We even pay our rent and many other bills online.

    • Hi, Rease, Got your FB message. Sorry,don’t know why your comment went to spam, something I never look at.

      Well, I don’t know yet if BDO online will let me exchange between USD and Pesos. Once our first check clears, I guess I will have to find out. My guess is that we will have to stand in line once our check clears. I don’t enjoy standing in line so I will have to check out what bills we can pay online, like Sun and Globe. I paid everything online back in the States but haven’t set up anything yet here. I’ll let you know once we get our cash.

      It took two hours for the man who we bought our property from to set up his account and that was with me standing behind him to hopefully nudge the teller to work a little quicker. If you get to BDO after the opening time, be prepared to wait a very long time.

  2. Isn’t it sometimes just irritating how calm and forgiving Filipinas are when dealing with other people, lol. I think I am much more like you, and go ballistic at times also.

    Do you know Dave, if they have safety deposit boxes in banks there.

    From my reading I also came to the conclusion that writing a personnel check to cash is currently the way to go as far as fees are involved, but I read it takes about a month for the check to clear, so I must plan one month in advance at all times it sounds.

    From all the bad comments others have made about BDO, I will go elsewhere I think, but sounds like they all have some crazy rules there.

  3. Dave,
    Hopefully you’ll be able to use your check with the Kabayan Account. You don’t need any delays for the house building. I still don’t know if i trust BDO, we will see i guess.

    • I don’t know if I trust BDO yet, either, Papa Duck. Hopefully the check will be deposited without any problems and we can collect our funds in three-four weeks. We could have gone to BPI or China Bank but they both want a minimum 500 USD to be deposited. I figure we will give BDO another chance and see what happens. Hopefully, I will not regret my decision.

      Btw, Joery and crew are digging the septic tank today. They’ve laid in the hollow blocks for Lolo’s nipa hut. Melinda is going to Guimelco to attend the four hour lecture for new customers. There is NO WAY I was going to sit through a four hour long boring session when I don’t have to. As soon as Guimelco hooks up the electricity and we get the new truck, Melinda and I will be staying in the hut. Lolo is driving me absolutely crazy and I assure you that’s a short drive for me.

  4. Dave, we had the luxury of having an account at Citibank both in the states and the Philppines before we started our build. Even though they are only loosely affiliated we could electronically transfer funds. No we have both a USD and Peso account at BPI. Like you we deposit our check, wait for clearance, call the day before with the amount of USD we wish to take out (for our monthly expenses) and go pick it up. What we did while building the house though was to ask the bank to have a money lender come to the branch when we exchanged LARGE amounts of USD into pesos. Our branch was nice about it and had there “favorite” changer. That way we didn’t take the hit using the banks low exchange rate.

    • That was a good plan, Scott H. We do not have any Citibank outlets available in nearby Iloilo, to my knowledge, and I didn’t really have a good plan in place before we moved over five years ago, as far as doing large money transfers. However, we have deposited our check and we will wait for 21 business days and see how it goes. The tellers at BDO were extremely helpful during our last two visits and hopefully we’re on the right track.

      There is also a money changer right across the street from our BDO and we checked out his rates. Much higher than what BDO was offering that day. I would urge anyone to consider doing what you did and set up an account beforeheand with a bank from the States (or whatever country you’re from) that has branches in the Philippines.

  5. Just a note….we have had our dollar account at BDO in Roxas City for 2 years now. We have wired transferred large amounts for home building and the funds were available approx 5 days later. In addition we deposit a personal check monthly for expenses with no fee. We always withdraw $1000 plus monthly and have never had to wait a few days for cash…they have plenty of money on hands. Just our experience.

    • Thanks, Ron, good to know. I have checked with our bank in the States but it was their policy at the time not to do any international money wire transfers where the funds would be available more quickly. I imagine every bank has their own set of rules. I wish our bank would have offered that service but we will just wait for our deposited check to clear.

      I do not know if you have been to Iloilo City yet but my asawa and I had to make three trips in a row there. We checked out the American Legacy burger joint, and with apologies to Rease, were disappointed. The outlet uses local beef and did not have the taste and texture neither my wife and I care for. The burger was not served hot. We were told it would take 15 minutes to char-broil it but we got our burgers only a few minutes after we ordered it. We both got the Uncle Sam burgers. I will have to check with Rease to see what he ordered from there but sadly my search for the best burger in Iloilo City goes on.

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