According to BDO’s official web site, to be able to open a bank account, the process is very simple:
For an OFW account, from their web site, the requirements are:
- Only PHP100 (for PHP account) or US$100 (for USD account) initial deposit
- One (1) valid ID
- 1X1 photo
- With passbook and ATM debit card
- Zero maintaining balance with at least one (1) remittance each year*
I opened a regular BDO ATM savings account and a BDO OFW account before but the information that BDO posts on their web site nor in their official Facebook account aren’t completely true at all.
What is a BDO OFW Account?
An OFW account is basically an international remittance savings account by BDO. The other international remittance accounts are: Korean international remittance account (IRA) and Direct Deposit Dollar account for US Pensioners.
What does having a savings account mean? This means that this account have a passbook and an ATM card. The only difference with remittance savings accounts and regular savings accounts is that the former does not require a maintaining balance. In short, the balance of your bank account can be maxed out…up until the last cents!
Like any Philippine banks that must be reported to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Philippine Central Bank), BDO does not fully disclose its banking requirements. I was surprised that the marketing materials that they publish online are not at all true…just partially true. Read more below for the fine prints.
Opening a Bank Account Hidden Fine Print
The requirements that you need to bring when opening a bank account are actually are as follows:
- PHP 100 (for PHP account) or USD 100 initial deposit
- At least one (1) government valid ID (Bring two valid IDs!)
- 1X1 (one inch by one inch photo)
- Proof of Billing in the Philippines
- Landline Number
- Overseas Employment Certificate (for OFW Account)
- Employment Contract (authentication by the Philippine diplomatic missions abroad not needed) (for OFW Account)
- Certificate of Employment in ENGLISH provided by your company that includes employment start date and monthly salary (for OFW Account)
Compared to the items listed in BDO’s web site, there are actually five more items that you need to place. So be sure to bring your POEA Overseas Employment Certificate, Employment Contract, Certificate of Employment and be sure to have a landline number.
Depending on the BDO branch that you will be opening an account with, the branch account officer that you will be talking to might actually call the landline number that you have provided to verify that you are indeed living in that house. In the three times that I opened an account with BDO, two of them actually called the landline number that I gave them to verify if I indeed live in the address that I provided. If you live in big cities such as in Metro Manila, there is a VERY VERY HIGH chance that they will require a landline number and they will actually call the number that you provided them.
I gave two landline numbers to BDO NAIA Terminal 3 Branch because even though my house in Metro Manila has a landline, I will be the one who will be able to pickup the landline because my landline is linked with my smartphone using Invoxia Voice Bridge. Besides, nobody’s home when I appled for an OFW account with BDO Terminal 3 Branch. In the end, the BDO branch staff in NAIA T3 called the landline number in my address in Naga City, Camarines Sur.
ATM Card and Passbook
An OFW account entitles you to own a passbook so if the bank institutions in the Philippines require you to show a bank statement, your BDO passbook can be presented. For accounts opened in Metro Manila, the personalized ATM card should be claimed from the account where you opened your account after three banking days. For non-Metro Manila bank accounts, it is after five banking days.
The passbook and ATM card that you will be receiving is shown above.
Account Maintenance Fine Print
The things you should remember with this bank account are as follows:
Remit at least once a year
You should remit to this bank account at least once per year, else your account will be converted into a regular passbook savings account that has a maintaining balance of PHP 10,000.
Upgrading to/Opening a checking account
If you wish to upgrade to a checking account, you can’t get a checking account from BDO if you haven’t maintained a banking relationship with the branch for six consecutive months with an ADB of at least PHP 50,000 (or even lower, depending on the branch). For NAIA Terminal 3 Account, they were asking PHP 50,000. Other branches may be lower.
If you wish to upgrade to keep your bank account number and simply wish to change to a checking account, make sure that you have the ADB requirement of your branch for six months and you should maintain an ADB of PHP 25,000 else the bank will slap you for account maintenance fees.
Exemption from documentary stamp tax
If you send money in USD to a PHP bank account, as per Philippine taxation laws, USD inbound remittances to PHP accounts are actually charged documentary stamp taxes. But if you are an OFW, you are exempted from documentary stamp taxes that costs PHP 0.30 for every PHP 200 converted amount (or a fraction of it).
This also applies to your beneficiary accounts if they would like to apply
The information that I have written above are also true even if someone else will become a “beneficiary” of your remittances.
BDO Banking Review
A comprehensive BDO consumer banking review is on the way. This includes online and offline banking. Please stay tuned!