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Old 1st September 2015, 01:33 AM
SailingExpat SailingExpat is offline
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A bank with offices in both countries might be the easiest way, but not necessarily the cheapest. I think Citibank has offices in the PI and in the U.S.

But... there will always be foreign transaction fees. This seems to be usually about 1%. There is also a WIDE difference in exchange rates.

I don't have experience with doing exactly what you are considering... Philippines to USA. But I do know that BANKS usually have terrible exchange rates. Money trading companies give better rates. Plus everyone has a transaction fee. And with a bank, there may be monthly account fees to add in.

As an example, I bought a piece of property from someone in NZ, and they wanted me to pay for it by using a Forex account. I balked at this, because it sounded scammy. He explained it this way:

"As a comparison:

today's Interbank rate: USD 230,000 = NZD 323,710

Local bank offers are:
Bank of New Zealand : NZD 304,000
KiwiBank : NZD 302,631
Co-operative Bank : NZD 314,380

and the rate offered by HiFX is : NZD 320,033

One can clearly see the motivation in using a forex firm's facility.

So, if it is going to be a lot of money transferred, all at once, then you really do care about the exchange rate offered, and not so much the transaction fees.

But if it's going to be a little money dribbling in over time (with a transaction fee each time), transaction fees will matter, and the exchange rate might not be as big a deal.

Unfortunately HiFX, the outfit he used, doesn't operate in the Philippines. So I can't offer advice on a Money Exchange company doing business in the U.S. and the Philippines.

I did use Western Union a couple of months ago to wire myself a chunk of cash because I was having trouble with ATM's in Malaysia and needed more than the daily ATM limits allowed. That was mostly a positive experience. I signed up for a Western Union online account, transferred money electronically from my US bank (I believe WU "pulled" the money from my bank using the account info I supplied while logged on to my account), and I picked the cash up from an affiliated Western Union representative in Malaysia. The exchange rate given by WU was better than what I was getting at an ATM. The only "lesson learned" was to scope out the receiving Western Union location first. You don't have to specify it, you can pick up from any WU outlet in the specified receiving country. But many WU outlets listed on their website could not be located, at least with Google Maps.

I have no affiliation with either Western Union or HIFx, just relating my experiences, hoping they will help others.
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