How to get your hands on your money is always a topic that draws a lot of discussion on this site and other Philippine related websites. If you are keeping your bank in the USA, or whatever your country of origin is (something that I recommend as a good idea), then you need to figure out how to get those funds into your hands when you are living in the Philippines.
One way of doing it is by using ATM machines. That is what Feyma and I do. Money that we earn through our various enterprises is deposited into our US bank account each week. Then, when we need funds, we use ATM machines to get that money for our needs.
Recently, I had a little e-mail exchange with a friend who was asking for details on how to do it, since he may be coming to Davao in the near future, and is trying to decide now how he will handle his funds when he is staying in Davao.
Let me share a little bit of our exchange:
Here where I currently live, we normally just withdraw cash from bank ATMs. It’s quick & easy & just pay a small fee every visit. But absolutely no hassle.
I remember you writing about ATM issues there. I’m hoping to just do it the same way there in Davao as here (ATM withdrawals), but is that something you recommend?
Really, the ATMs are pretty good here these days. For basically all of our money we make, it goes into our US account, then we use ATM to get access to it. I don’t think you will have any problem.
In the past, there have been some ATM problems here, but I think they have all been cleared up now.
My friend replied:
By any chance, would you know how much max withdrawal I can make a day? I can imagine that I might need a good chunk of cash for things there.
Again, my reply:
How much you can withdraw per day is determined by your bank. Whatever your card’s daily limit is can be withdrawn here.
The only thing is that the maximum withdrawal per transaction is limited. So, as an example, my US ATM card has a maximum withdrawal per day of $1,000. I can withdraw, roughly P48,000 per day (depends on the exchange rate that day). But, the bank we use has a maximum withdrawal limit of P20,000 per transaction. So, basically, we would have to withdraw P20,000 twice, then withdraw P8,000 to reach our daily limit. Some banks have lower “per transaction” withdrawal limits, some as low as P4,000. If I went to that bank, I would have to then do 12 different transactions of P4,000 each to reach my daily limit.
Now, for me, it isn’t a biggie, because on my US bank account, they do not charge me for ATM transactions (it’s an old account on a special deal that is not available any longer, but I am grandfathered in), so no matter how many transactions I do, it doesn’t cost me anything. However, let’s say you are paying a $2 fee for withdrawing from a foreign ATM (it could be higher, $5 or more – the cost is determined by your home bank). If you did it at the bank that has a P20,000 transaction limit, it would cost you $6 in fees to withdraw the equivalent of $1,000. If you did it at the bank that has a P4,000 per transaction limit, then it would cost you $24 in fees to get that same $1,000. So, this is something to seriously consider.
Here in Davao, here are per transaction limits on ATM machines for the banks that I know:
HSBC – P20,000
BPI (only some of their machines – the NCR brand machines) – P20,000
BPI (older machines) – P10,000
BDO – P10,000
UCPB – P4,000
I hope this also is helpful to some of you LiP readers, it is a question that I am asked very frequently.