We all know that BDO Unibank is the biggest bank in the Philippines. But there’s more to the size of the bank than it is. This guide will help you understand why you should consider thinking of banking with BDO Unibank.
This is a two-part review. Another review will be posted soon. This review will not include BDO’s credit card products and services and is aimed for retail or consumer banking only.
BDO has the same investment rating like the country.
According to Moody’s in a 2017 report, BDO has the same rating as the Philippines (Baa2). What does this mean? This means that BDO can get cheaper loans from abroad and may be able to provide even better rates to its borrowers.
In the concept of credit scores, the higher the credit score, the lower the risk it entails the lenders, thus the interest rates that should be given to the borrower is lower because of the lower risk. As a consumer banker, this hasn’t been confirmed yet. In the future, depending on your credit score, you may get a lower interest rate from BDO’s consumer loans once the risk-based lending system is also applied to the Philippines for consumer loans.
If you are a business entity, you may get lower interest rates if you get a non-PHP denominated loan.
Ubiquity of branches
BDO Unibank belongs to the SM Investment Group. SM has the most number of shopping malls in the country. Whenever there’s an SM mall, there’s definitely a BDO branch. What I like about BDO is that you don’t have to wait for a very long time if you wish to deposit money to your bank account using the cash deposit machines (or the ATMs that only allow cash deposits).
Ubiquity of cash withdraw machines
Even if there is no nearby branch near your home, there is a chance that there is a cash withdraw machines. I will not call them automated teller machines (ATMs) because ATMs should have both deposit and withdrawal transactions.
You will rarely worry about having withdrawal fees because of the ubiquity of these machines.
More banking hours
Unlike many brick and mortar bank branches, BDO’s branches are usually open from Mondays to Sundays, 9:00 AM to 5:00 or 6:00 PM. If the branch is inside a shopping mall, the branch will usually open at the shopping mall’s opening hours and closes at 7:00 PM.
Get rewarded as you bank and shop
If you have at least PHP 50,000 as maintaining balance for the past months or you have a BDO credit card, it’s more likely you will be able to get a BDO Rewards card. A BDO Rewards card is actually an SM Advantage Card. You get all the same features as the SM Advantage card minus the cost and expiry date, plus more ways of earning points.
Same point accumulation applies. You get rewarded 0.25% (1 point for every PHP 400) of the amount you purchase at participating stores. You can also accumulate points at at the rate of 0.4% for every refill you do at Shell. For more details, please refer to BDO Rewards How to Earn Points.
Easier access to the stock market
As a BDO account holder, you will have access to the Philippine Stock Market easily with the full integration of BDO Nomura. You don’t need to open and wait for days just to open an account at a securities brokerage company such as COL Financial.
The largest network internationally
If you are a Filipino working overseas and you meet the following conditions:
- Have a bank account at any of the top banks in the country where you are currently residing
- Have no easy access to the non-bank remittance companies such as Western Union, Moneygram, Xoom, etc.
There is a chance that your bank has a correspondent banking agreement with BDO Unibank.
What is correspondent banking?
What does correspondent banking mean? This means that your bank and BDO has a bank account with each other (also known as vostro nostro accounts). Thus, when you send money to the Philippines, the money that you send will not have a lot of deductions when it reaches the Philippines through your BDO bank account. Thus, you will only encounter two kinds of charges: outbound SWIFT charge (depending on your bank’s online or offline transaction pricing rates) and incoming SWIFT cable charge (usually USD 5 if for credit to a USD Bank account or PHP 150 if for credit to a PHP bank account).
Usually, if banks have no correspondent banking relationships, before your money reaches your bank account in the Philippines, besides the two inbound and outbound SWIFT charges, there may be at least one intermediary bank charge (usually a US bank and is approximately USD 20).
Send to almost anyone in the Philippines
With BDO’s early adoption of InstaPay, you can send to almost any bank in the Philippines. By December 2018, all banks in the Philippines are required to support either InstaPay or PesoNet, the two automated clearing methods in the country. Not only you can send to a bank account, you can also send to anyone even if they don’t have a bank account. You can have your recipient pick the money at any SM mall.
If you would like to have to have easier offline access to your bank account, BDO is surely the bank that you should be choosing. You not only get easier access, you also get rewarded when you bank with them.