While I’ve previously written about the best banks in the Philippines, this post offers the opposite side of the spectrum. If you’re looking to open a bank account in the Philippines, customer service is a factor you probably want to consider. Therefore, today’s post, “3 Philippine Banks Ranked Worst in Customer Service” offers some unique insights on which banks might be best for you.
3 Philippine Banks Ranked Worst in Customer Service
The research for this post was accomplished through extensive research on the World Wide Web. I’ve gleaned through the online opinions of Filipinos and foreigners alike to reach my conclusions.
While I’ve used various websites from the Internet to gather this information, this is by no means a scientific study. Nonetheless, I’ve done my best to give my readers a depiction of what banks in the Philippines are viewed as offering poor customer service. It can only take one unpleasant incident to sour your opinion of any business establishment. Surprisingly, to me, one bank clearly struck a nerve with many people.
This is not a personal indictment of any of the banks.
We’ve only dealt primarily with one bank the past several years since retiring to the Philippines. That bank is Banco de Oro, BDO.
However, I’m not letting any personal bias enter into these results. That said, BDO did not fare well in the customer service category. Let’s take a look at the banks in the Philippines that fared worst in the customer service.
The Bottom Three
1. BDO, Banco de Oro
BDO, ranked the worst overall in terms of customer service.
We’ve been dealing with BDO for years. I’ve have had pleasant experiences with this bank. And some experiences not so pleasant. I’ve written about our dealings with BDO in various posts in this website throughout the years.
Here’s some of the posts:
“Does BDO Belong in the Philippines’ Top Ten Bank List?”
“BDO Named Best Bank in the Philippines”
Frankly, the “competition” for the worst customer service bank in the Philippines wasn’t even close. BDO “won” by a landslide. Many of the comments I read regarding customer satisfaction with Banco de Oro were full of utter contempt for the bank.
While I’ve certainly had my share of disagreements with them and have threatened to close our accounts on occasion, our overall experiences with BDO have been mostly positive.
Friendly Bank Manager Helps
That said, our favorite and most helpful supervisor with our bank in Iloilo City has been transferred to another BDO branch in the city. Consequently, one would think that we would just use that facility for our banking needs.
That’s not the case in the Philippines. At least not in our region. First of all, we don’t incur any charges for using a BDO-specific ATM anywhere in the Philippines.
However, we have two separate accounts with BDO in two different branches of the city. If we conduct certain transactions in a branch not covered by a specific account type we have in that facility, we’re charged 100 pesos, $2 USD, though both branches are BDO.
Why not use one branch? Because the one account’s online payment system was set up by that branch’s ATM card. It would require too much trouble on my part to cancel and start the whole online payment system again. Hence, I don’t want to bother with it.
Frankly, nothing comes too easy in the Philippines. Any time we make any kind of change in our account, we have to sign reams of paperwork and endure long waits of 90 minutes to several hours.
It’s quite maddening at times since I’m used to dealing with banks back in the States. However, despite recent laws to try and eliminate “red tape” in the archipelago, BDO is falling way short in that category.
Some good ratings but the bad outweighed the good
I had a positive experience with some Metrobank guards in Iloilo City (see following photo) but never had any dealings with the bank.
3. BPI (Bank of the Philippine Islands.)
While BPI didn’t register nearly as many negative ratings as BDO, they were close behind Metrobank in terms of customer dissatisfaction. However, the positive feedback outweighed the negative by almost two-to-one.
The Best Banks in terms of Customer Service
In no particular order, while looking for the worst customer service facilities, I noted that the following banks ranked high in customer service: PS Bank (Philippine Savings Bank), PNB (Philippine National Bank), and RCBC (Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation.)
The poor attitude of the tellers seemed to be a major factor in the banks that did not fare well in this survey. That factor certainly weighs heavily for me as well. I will not return to any establishment, whether it be in the States or the Philippines, if I feel I haven’t experienced good customer service.
How Can Customer Service be Improved in the Banks?
Therefore, just how can these banks that ranked poorly improve their customer service? I’ve already touched on one point, the tellers. In contrast to BDO’s poor showing in this survey, I’ve had mostly positive experiences with BDO’s tellers and management.
The Importance of Greeting the Customer
Simple things like security guards pleasantly greeting you as you enter an establishment goes a long way. Many of the workers in our local retail outlets in Guimaras don’t even greet you. Frankly, that’s the number one rule in most customer service handbooks. Why go back to a place where you’re surrounded by apathetic employees checking their smart phones for the latest Facebook gossip?
Since I’m a senior, I take advantage of bypassing the tellers standing behind the glass window enclosures. I go directly to a group of managers and other staff which are sitting in a separate area of the bank.
BDO is Just Alright with Me
However, I can only speak regarding my dealings with BDO. I don’t know if a person can avail of this option at other banks. Personally, if you can develop a relationship with a supervisor like we had at BDO, that can make things go much easier for you.
My wife has a relative who is the bank manager of a rural bank in Guimaras, our home province. That bank is affiliated with BDO. While we have easy access to their ATM’s, without any additional charge, they don’t have any online payment services available to us. That said, it’s much more convenient for us to withdraw any funds without having to take a trip to nearby Iloilo City.
Online Services are Important
I noticed several complaints about the inadequate online services offered by some of the banks. While I never experienced any problems with paying our bills with BDO online, some people were complaining about having to use an OTP, One Time Password, to access their account.
I don’t mind this extra security requirement. While BDO recently switched to OTP-only access for online accounts, forgoing their security question option, I feel more online security is a good feature.
While BDO ATMS have experienced many problems with “skimming” problems in the past, I haven’t read of any problems with their machines recently. ATM skimming is when criminals place a device on the face of an ATM. The device appears to be a part of the machine.
Oftentimes, it can pick up your ATM pin number. I always shield my pin number with my hand when I enter it. Avoid using an ATM that is in a dimly lit area and try to use one that has security guards posted nearby.
However, I did read of a few complaints where some folks did not receive any of their money from their ATM. Though bank guards were present when the ATM transaction were made, the banks required a CCTV review before their money was rightfully given to them. Thankfully, that’s never happened to us since retiring to the Philippines over 10 years ago.
Try to use ATM’s that are specific to your bank. Most ATM networks will charge you additional fees for using their ATM.
However, an ATM did gobble up my ATM Card recently at the rural bank in Guimaras previously mentioned. Thankfully, my wife’s relative, the bank manager, was on duty and quickly retrieved my card after deftly opening the machine.
All-digital banks like ING are an option. While conducting all your banking business with your smart phone is an option, I’m too “old school” and too old to explore that avenue. While I could possibly avoid visiting our local BDO branch altogether, how can a digital bank process a request like my recent bank draft for the renewal of my U.S. Passport?
The U.S. Embassy in Manila only accepts bank drafts from three banks. Fortunately, BDO was one of those banks. Perhaps, an all-digital bank might be more convenient for tech savvy millennial’s but it’s not a good fit for me.
Therefore, while I don’t enjoy waiting in banks or anywhere else for that matter, an all-digital service could save you some time.
Finally, what’s the best bank for you? In terms of conveniently located branches, BDO has everyone beat. Since their parent company is SM, there’s virtually a BDO branch in every SM Mall. Many BDO branches now offer banking services on the weekends. That’s a big plus for some customers.
Location is certainly important for us as is customer service. Explore online the different requirements each bank has for opening an account. Decide if the bank offers the services you require. Speak with a manager if possible. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re an expat like me, check with other foreigners.
Again, I have no ax to grind with BDO, Metrobank, or BPI. This post is merely a reflection of comments made on various websites regarding customer service as it pertains to banks in the Philippines. Everyone has an opinion and in a free society we’re allowed to express our different viewpoints.
We have no plans to leave BDO despite their poor showing in customer service. While our favorite manager has been transferred, as previously noted, another supervisor from BDO stepped in to help in during our last visit. I certainly don’t want to go through the trouble of starting all over by opening an account at another bank.
If it ain’t broke, why fix it?
(Lead feature image from geralt at pixabay)