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Money Transfer to Philippines: Review and Tips

— Posted by SaveOnSend to Money transfer from USA to Philippines, Western Union, Xoom   |   54 Comments

Are you sending money from USA to Philippines? Want to get the most pesos for your dollars or receive most dollars in Philippines? Not sure which provider is the best, cheapest or fastest? Should your funds be received in pesos or dollars? YOU came to the right place! We will cover all most important topics:

  1. Money Transfer to Philippines: current state and key trends

  2. Pesos to dollar exchange rates and timing

  3. Top money transfer providers

  4. Receiving money transfer in pesos or dollars

  5. Sending larger money transfer amounts

  6. Choosing the best receiving method

  7. Finding the best way to send money

Please note this post is specific to Philippines. If you are looking for general knowledge of how to best send money, please review this other SaveOnSend blog post first.

Before we get started… Great news if you are a consumer sending money from USA to Philippines: it is currently one of the most competitive corridors from USA, attracting more providers and larger investments than many other destinations. You are in luck with variety of choices and lavish promotions which don’t exist for some other destinations. So you could make a relatively safe assumption that when transferring money to Philippines with any top provider, you will get a reasonable price and service. Overall, cost of sending money has been declining worldwide, with providers’ margins dropping 30% just in the last decade:

WorldBank Ave and WAve Price Index till Q2 2017

Source: https://remittanceprices.worldbank.org/sites/default/files/rpw_report_june_2017.pdf

But we are recommending trying providers with the cheapest price – this way, you are helping not just yourself but also supporting Philippines’ growth. By always using the least expensive method of sending money home, each 1% in savings generates additional $100MM annually for your families and Philippines’ economy.

Money Transfer to Philippines

1. Money Transfer to Philippines: current state and key trends

According to Pew Research, Philippines is the world’s #3 destination for receiving money after India and China. This position could be in part explained by Philippines being probably the only country in the world that has institutionalized the deployment of its people to work overseas since 1995. Filipinos migrants’ top occupation is seafarers, representing 20% of all remittances. Remittances from OFWs to Philippines account for 8.5% of GDP. Remittances are so important to the economy of Philippines that in October 2017 the government created a bank for OFWs to compete for remittances with private banks and money transfer specialists. The rapid growth in remittances continued through 2017:

Remittances USA to Philippines from 1990 till June 27, 2017

Out of all countries from where OFWs-Filipinos send money to Philippines USA is by far #1:

Top 5 remittance source countries for Philippines in 2015

Source: http://www.pewglobal.org/interactives/remittance-map/

There are 3+ million Filipinos in USA, with around 40+% living in California and another 10% in Hawaii. 35% of USA Filipinos live just in 3 metropolitan areas: Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City.

Money Transfer to Philippines: top USA states with Filipinos

In comparison with other migrant groups in USA, Pinoys tend to have an average level of education but earn a higher income (see the chart below). This might be in part due to a higher portion of Filipinos employed as nurses and personal care workers.

Migrants in USA by income and education

Filipinos send money from USA using both an online channel (a provider’s website or mobile app) and via a cash agent. Since many Filipinos get paid in cash they prefer to sending cash transfers to Philippines as well. This way they avoid depositing money into a bank account and potentially facing a tax liability. Transfers are received either in pesos or dollars, depending on the preferences, exchange rates, and other factors (more on this later). Of all transfers being sent digitally 75+% are received via cash agents in Philippines.

If you are reading this and haven’t yet tried sending money to Philippines online, via a website or mobile, you should definitely give it a shot. Most of well-known providers have such tools, and the setup shall only take few minutes. Once you link your bank account or debit card, you might be surprised how easy to send money online and how much you could save. This way, all your past transfers are available for your review any time, plus your future repeat transfers shall take less than a minute to complete since you don’t have to enter the same information again. There are also significant cost advantages (more on this later).

2. Pesos to dollar exchange rates and timing

Are you wondering if you shall wait for pesos to increase in value or for a dollar to fall? Trying to time the best exchange rate is unbelievably difficult if not impossible. If anybody gives you an advise on this topic while not making millions trading on same information, it might be a sign that you shouldn’t follow such recommendation. Still not convinced? Look at the graph below for changes in the exchange rate of pesos to dollar during the last 10 years – do you see any logic in the exchange rate’s short- or long-term movements? While the recent trend is of peso depreciating vs. the US dollar, you can notice long periods when exchange rate decreased or was stagnant:

USD-PHP interbank exchange rate 2005 - Nov 25 2017

 

However, there is a more practical approach to timing money transfers – based on the analysis of FX markup (the difference between a pesos-dollar exchange rate that providers get on the market vs. an exchange rate that you get from a provider). Not only each money transmitter applies a very different FX markup, it also makes daily changes to its FX markup to maximize profits. Some providers are even applying different FX markups for different sending-receiving methods. For example, for sending money from USA to Philippines, MoneyGram has different peso-dollar exchange rates for sending a) online-to-bank, b) other sending-receiving methods; or Wells Fargo has different exchange rates for sending a) $25-250, b) $251-1,000, c) $1,001-2,000, d) $2,001-3,000. So how do we use this knowledge against money transmitters?

Look at this chart showing fluctuations in FX markups across remittance providers for USA-to-Philippines:

FX margins comparison across providers - remittances from USA to Philippines till July 7 2017

 

Despite everything we read about so-called “disruption” in remittances, FX markup has been overall stable across providers. Western Union had been gradually increasing FX markup during 2015 and 2016 but then cut in half in early August of 2016. One of the world’s largest money transfer providers, Ria Money Transfer, significantly increased its FX markup during the summer of 2015 and has pushed it even higher since then.

USA-to-Philippines FX Markup across providers: 2015 till August 20th

USA-to-Philippines FX Markup across providers: 2015 till August 20th

Such swings are, unfortunately, too common among providers and not just when sending money to Philippines:

MoneyGram FX Markup Philippines and Mexico till June 23 2017

It means consumers cannot trust its favorite provider to apply a consistent price and must compare prices across providers with tools like SaveOnSend.com before each transfer. One particular exception is TransferWise which makes all money on charging fees without any FX markup (in the previous graphs, did you notice one line consistently near 0% axis?). The way you could take advantage of this is to compare your favorite provider’s FX markup to its average in the previous few months based on SaveOnSend charts. If FX markup is at or below the average trend, you could proceed with sending money; otherwise, it might make sense to wait 1-2 weeks till your provider’s FX markup comes down to its average level.

Why do providers increase their margins? Shouldn’t more competition drive lower prices? In theory – yes, but only if consumers care about it. Fortunately for providers, Filipinos are known for their loyalty and are not as price-sensitive as other nationalities. For example, compare previous charts with what the same providers are charging Chinese and Indian migrants in USA:

FX margins comparison across providers - remittances from USA to China till July 7 2017

FX margins comparison across providers - remittances from USA to India till July 7 2017

As you could see, Filipinos are being charged 1-2% more by the same providers. Being loyal does not pay…

3. Top money transfer providers

In otherwise competitive field, there are 2 key providers for USA-to-Philippines remittance corridor. Xoom leads among consumers sending money to Philippines online and Western Union among those who transfer money via cash agents. About 1/3rd of Xoom’s revenues comes from money sent from USA to Philippines, and this provider is known for almost instant money transfer and good customer tools and support. Western Union, on the other hand, is known for the largest network of cash agents worldwide, but takes longer to deliver funds (more on pricing comparison later).

Money Transfer to Philippines: Western Union kiosk in Philippines

Money Transfer to Philippines: Western Union kiosk in Philippines

4. Receiving money transfers in pesos vs. dollars

Two tables below are for sending the same amount, $500, between linked bank accounts – first table is for receiving transfers in pesos, second is in dollars. As you could see, the same providers are charging less for receiving in dollars. It works like this because providers don’t lose money on the spread of buying and selling pesos and could pass those savings onto you. Therefore, if your receiving party in Philippines doesn’t need to convert dollars into pesos, send them dollars:

Comparison of Providers - USA-to-Philippines, USD-PHP, $500, bank-to-bank, Feb 17 2017

Comparison of providers: USA-to-Philippines, USD-PHP, $500, bank-to-bank, Feb 17 2017

comparison-of-providers-usa-to-philippines-500-usd-to-usd-bank-to-bank-oct-13-2016

Comparison of providers: money transfers from USA to Philippines, USD to USD, $500, bank-to-bank, October 12, 2016

5. Sending larger money transfer amounts

Let’s now review how much we could save by sending larger amounts. Compare margins in the previous tables for sending $500 with the ones below for sending $2,999:

comparison-of-providers-usa-to-philippines-usd-php-2999-bank-to-cash-dec-5-2016

Comparison of Providers: USA to Philippines, USD-to-PHP, $2,999, transfer between bank-to-bank linked accounts, December 5, 2016

 

Money Transfer Philippines: $2,999, Bank-to-Bank, April 27, 2015

Money Transfer Philippines: $2,999, Bank-to-Bank, April 27, 2015

As you could see, sending larger amounts to Philippines saves money when sending dollars. It happens because many providers charge a fixed fee for sending money from-to bank-linked accounts. When sending pesos, there is no real difference whether one sends $500 or $2,999 – it is because providers apply the same FX markup regardless of the transfer amount and don’t charge a fee for this particular send-receive method.

6. Choosing the best receiving method

The number of consumers in Philippines with a bank account is growing, reaching 20-40% across income levels. So let’s review the difference between 2 receiving options: deposit into a bank account vs. a cash pick up. See a table earlier in this article for a bank-to-bank transfer and then compare it with the same scenario of sending $500 but receiving in cash:

comparison-of-providers-usa-to-philippines-usd-php-500-bank-to-cash-dec-5-2016

Comparison of Providers: USA to Philippines, USD-to-PHP, $500 transfer, sending from bank-linked account to receiving in cash, December 5, 2016

As you can see, most providers charge about the same for either option, so pick the option most convenient for you

7. Finding the best way to send money

As we discussed in another post on the overall strategy for sending money, “better” and “best” money transmitter is different for each of us based on our unique preferences among cost, speed, convenience, and customer service. No one provider clearly leads among all these factors.

Compare the top row in a table below (best option for sending money from USA to Philippines in pesos) with other rows. Do you notice that rows when money transferred from cash-to-cash are 3-5X more expensive than when it is sent from bank-to-bank? In other words, if you or someone you know is sending money to Philippines by using a cash agent, you or they could save 60-80% by sending money online. Despite such difference, many Filipinos still prefer to send money via a cash agent.

Money Transfer to Philippines: sending $500, receiving pesos, cash-to-cash, April 4, 2015

Money Transfer to Philippines: sending $500, receiving pesos, cash-to-cash, April 4, 2015

One provider is worth specific mentioning:

TransferWise – this money transmitter began servicing USA-to-Philippines corridor in January 2105 and competes very aggressively on price. As we mentioned earlier in this post, TransferWise has a unique business model of making money only on fees (no FX markup). For now, TransferWise is only available for bank-to-bank transfers and only for transfers received in pesos. If it works for you, we recommend you to try them because of their low margins BUT ONLY when sending larger amounts. For smaller transfers, they are not cheapest:

Comparison of Providers - USA-to-Philippines, $100, bank-to-bank, July 15, 2017

Comparison of Providers: money transfer USA-to-Philippines, sending $100, bank-to-bank, July 15, 2017

After each transfer, please describe your experience on SaveOnSend so others could learn from you.

To summarize, here are the leaders among providers that send money from USA to Philippines:

Fastest: Xoom, TransFast, PNB

Cheapest: 1a) pesos for larger amounts – TransferWise, 1b) pesos for small amounts – Western Union, 2) dollars – MoneyGram, Western Union, Ria Money Transfer

– Availability of cash pick-up locations: Western Union, MoneyGram

Money Transfer to Philippines: festival in Philippines

There is another consideration: consistency of experience with a particular provider. As consumers, we like to pick a particular brand or local business and use them for years. That experience includes not just service but also prices. Imagine if your favorite restaurant or grocery store keeps changing prices every time you go there plus they also have different prices based on how much you purchase. Western Union and MoneyGram are by far the worst offenders in this regard. Not only their fee structure has more tiers, they are also frequently changing their prices.

On this dimension our favorites: TransferWise, Remitly, and Ria Money Transfer, all with the extremely simple, easy to remember fee structure that doesn’t change every couple months.

In Summary…

Hopefully, you found this overview helpful and feel more confident in how to find the best approach for YOU when sending money from USA to Philippines. If we missed anything, please leave a comment. We will be keeping this post regularly updated, so come back soon!

  • Vishal

    I have used many services to send money internationally. And, I personally feel transferwise is good, with which I have done many transfers without any problem at all. Also, transfers take few days of processing 2-3 and transfer rate is good. Best thing is the exchange rate is same as market rate for the referral I am sharing below. With this you can avail first fee free transfer upto $4500 or £3000 or 4000 euro .

    I am not associated / affiliated to them in any way. Link below is my referral link, which will give you fee free transfer with live currency exchange. i.e no extra money spent on transfer or exchanging currency. Simply Wow!!!

    https://transferwise.com/u/fc49f4

    Enjoy transaction and share with friends – best option all over. Using my referral will be a feedback to this post and will help you and other people get best currency rate and value for their hard earned money.

    Thanks And Regards

  • Sarah Hynes

    Your data is wrong. WorldRemit is offering 1.5% on FX.

    • Our margin column includes both FX and fees. In case of WorldRemit, fee for sending $500 to Philippines via a bank-to-bank transfer is $3.99

  • Matt

    Is there a certain amount of times you can send money to the Philippines? I can’t find anything about this and I was declined by western union they said I had reached the max times if this is true what is the max?

    • Hi Matt, each company has its own “hidden” rules, mostly related to their need to comply with money laundering, tax evasion and terrorism financing regulations. So something might have spooked Western Union about your transfer patterns. If you describe how much you are sending, to dollars or to pesos, and how frequently, we could recommend an optimal option.

      • Matt

        Well at first I was just send every now and then but with in the last 6 months my fiance has been unemployed and I was helping with bills and extras needs I was sending money twice a month about 100-150 dollars total for the whole month.

        • Thanks, Matt. Try sending less frequently but larger amounts. If your fiance has a bank account, try TransferWise – if she prefers to receive cash, go with Transfast. Good luck to her in the job search!

  • Marierose Tadlas Jal’s

    Hello i wonder if somebody will send me money through Transferwise and i am from the Philippines which bank i can pick up/ withdraw my money? your response will be greatly appreciated,

    • You will see a drop-down list of available banks during the account setup process. Instead of pesos, can you send dollars? It shall be cheaper and could be picked up in cash – for example, Western Union is only charging $2.99 for sending $1,000 to Philippines if you are using the mobile application (see attached screenshot and check for yourself at https://www.westernunion.com/us/en/price-estimator/start.html)

  • tal polano

    the cheapest bank to bank transaction?

    • Hi Tal, thanks for asking. What amount do you have in mind?

      • tal polano

        4000

        • Receiving $: Transfast
          … pesos: Transferwise

          Receiving in $ is much cheaper if it works for your recepient

          • tal polano

            is transfast online transfer? I don’t know the techie stuff. i still prefer the traditional way; Like going to bank OR financial establishments send a money, pay the fees and done.

          • Hi Tal, please read the article – it explains various sending methods and mentions providers like https://transfast.com/ . You are welcome to send money in person, but your initial question was about “the cheapest” – those are typically found online.

          • tal polano

            Ok the cheapest non online transaction 🙂

          • tal polano

            Recently I send 4000 thru RIA, they Charge me $ 25. is that cheapest?

  • Dennis Vsevolod

    A fantastic balance of cheapest and fastest USA to Philippines transfer is via bitcoin.
    For example: Bank of America (or others) connected to coinbase account to buy bitcoin.
    The bitcoin is then sold at coins.ph and sent to your Philippines bank, cash pickup (in any town/city) or even doorstep delivery.

    Total fees, less than 2%
    Total time, 20 minutes to 1 hour.

    • Thank you, Dennis. If it is not too much trouble, could you share a little bit about your profile as a sender? How often do you send money to Philippines, an average send amount, and for what purpose? You are also mentioning that fees are less than 2%, but what is your actual dollar-to-peso exchange rate and how does it compare with an interbank exchange rate at that moment?

      • Dennis Vsevolod

        I don’t send money to the Philippines at all but I’m a westerner living in the Philippines, Bitcoin is how I prefer to get paid.
        Here I use coins.ph as my online wallet, they charge 0.5% (in the exchange rate) but offer ridiculously cheap cashing out options. Here in the Philippines every city/town/village has a place similar to western union under various company names. coins.ph allows me to cash out my bitcoin at any of these, to a bank or even as a doorstep cash delivery, from free to 1%

        So from bitcoin anywhere in the world I can convert it to cash for 0.5% but I usually pay 0.5% additional to have it ready for pickup at the shop 2 doors away from me in under 5 minutes.

        Many people pay me this way and some are from the USA. From the USA, the Bank of America, Chase and a few others can be directly linked to coinbase.com, in much the same way paypal is connected. I believe they also charge a percent or so. Alternatively my clients use localbitcoins.com to find bitcoins locally at the best rate.

        At the end of the day I use Google to get my exchange rates. If someone is sending me $100 I type 100 USD in PHP and it talls me what the going rate is, when the money arrives, it’s about 1-2% less than what Google suggested it would be and I’m good with that!

        • Thank you, Dennis. So what would the total costs if somebody wants to send you $100 from their bank account in USA to you receiving pesos 2 doors away? Sounds like you are paying ~1% in fee and 1-2% in FX markup, so it is about 2-3% in total – is there any other costs that a sender has to pay?
          If not, then 2-3% is indeed a great deal for the immediate transfer of $100. With our comparison tool, regular providers would charge 4-8%: https://www.saveonsend.com/user-next-transfers?user_next_transfer%5Bamount_receive%5D=0&user_next_transfer%5Bamount_send%5D=100&user_next_transfer%5Bdestination_preference_for_funds_id%5D=4&user_next_transfer%5Bmoney_transfer_destination_id%5D=4&user_next_transfer%5Boriginating_source_of_funds_id%5D=5&user_next_transfer%5Breceive_currency%5D=PHP
          If somebody sends $1,000, then providers charge 2-4%, so Bitcoin’s transfer would be also competitive: https://www.saveonsend.com/user-next-transfers?user_next_transfer%5Bamount_receive%5D=0&user_next_transfer%5Bamount_send%5D=100&user_next_transfer%5Bdestination_preference_for_funds_id%5D=4&user_next_transfer%5Bmoney_transfer_destination_id%5D=4&user_next_transfer%5Boriginating_source_of_funds_id%5D=5&user_next_transfer%5Breceive_currency%5D=PHP

          • Dennis Vsevolod

            Sorry for my very slow replies, it’s coming up to fiesta time here in sunny Malapascua and the party vibe keeps drawing me away from my computer.
            To answer your question yes you have it about right, I’ve just checked a couple of recent transfers and I had 2.3%, 1.8% and 1.9% for payments of $90, $95 and $128 respectively.
            I also had a transfer of $2,130 last month and the fee was 1.75%.

            All of these prices are based on the bitcoin USD price on google at the time of initiating the transaction.

            One think I do not know were the prices that the sender paid for their bitcoin at the time of purchase. Some of them may have had BTC in their bitcoin wallet for a while, some may have bought them for the transaction. I do tell my clients that they should just use the amount of fiat currency on the bill to buy the bitcoin as I’m happy to shoulder the fees. From my understanding from transfers from several years I believe they do as instructed.

          • Thank you, Dennis. For transfers from Bitcoin the case is very clear. But since most of consumers don’t own Bitcoin yet, we are curious about the total cost from fiat to fiat. If it is comfortable for you, please ask your senders if they ever pay from fiat and what is their total cost. We could then re-create a typical equations for sending $100 = fee to buy Bitcoin + fee to transfer Bitcoin (minimal) + fee to convert Bitcoin to pesos + FX markup of resulting dollar-peso conversion vs. exchange rate at the time of sending

            Enjoy fiesta!

          • terry

            Also, one thing to think about is the cost of bitcoin varies from country to country with respect to fiat exchange rates. For example in India I hear they are paying a 30% premium on bitcoin on the USD spot price of bitcoin. Whereas in the Philippines the cost of 1 bitcoin is undervalued according to the USD spot price. So if you’re from India, wouldn’t you taking a big hit by sending money to the Philippines via bitcoin?

          • Hello Terry, thanks for reading and commenting. It is true that India had a big price jump in Bitcoin due to Modi’s demonetization push. Hence, it was a uniquely beneficial time for Indians migrants to send money back home. Sending money from India via Bitcoin only made sense for people who didn’t have a more economical option (reasons could be tax evasion, money laundering, other criminal activities)

  • Cassandra Pangilinan

    Hello, what is the cheapest way to send huge amount of money? A family member residing in the US wants to invest in the Philippines, say 1M pesos?

    • Hello Cassandra,
      Ideally, you want to receive dollars in Philippines in order to avoid an FX markup. A bank in the US would charge you ~$40 for such transfer, or 0.2% in your case. If you have to receive in pesos, please call Transfast to see if they quote you a custom FX mark-up for such amount. Your remaining option is to split into couple transfers via TransferWise and pay 1.0% fee (they don’t charge an FX markup).
      Please let us know afterwards about your decision and experience.
      Good luck!
      SaveOnSend Team

  • Honey Caderma

    IF i am sending money to myself in bigger amount and want it in USD, what are my options? Where should I send it?

    • Hi Honey, that is the least expensive way. Do you prefer to receive cash or do you have an USD bank account in Philippines?

  • Jen Cruz

    Hi,
    I am starting my freelancing career. Can you recommend what should I choose between opening a USD account in a bank or use paypal and transfer to peso bank account in terms of getting lesser deductions?

    • Hi Jen, thanks for asking! As you could see from the comparison table the best approach is a USD-to-USD transfer and try sending larger amounts. PayPal is only charging 0.5% fees for such transactions if a receiving side is “friends and family”, so not sure if your case qualifies. PayPal is too expensive for business payments

      • Jen Cruz

        Thank you for the reply! 🙂
        Follow up question if i will choose to just open a USD account.. Is it possible to withdraw the money in dollar from the bank and go to money exchanger or is it better to just withdraw it in peso from the bank?

        • Hi Jen, thank you for following up. USD-to-USD transfer only makes sense if you want to keep money in Philippines in dollars (for occasional withdrawal, always better to exchange money on the street, just stay away from touristy areas and shop for best rates). If you need pesos in Philippines, you might as well send pesos right away. TransferWise is the cheapeast for now

          • Jen Cruz

            Hi thanks again for your reply. Yes I need it in pesos but my US client asked me only between USD bank account or thru paypal. 🙂

          • Hi Jen, thanks, then use our app to find the cheapest USD-to-USD transfer bank-to-bank. Then withdraw dollars and find the best money exchange. Please let us know afterwards how much they charged you vs. the interbank rate: https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/USDPHP=X?ltr=1

          • Jen Cruz

            Just to give you an update, I already opened a USD bank account.

            Paypal deducts 4.4%, and around 200 php less after transferring to my bank, and conversion is around 1.xx php less than the actual

            ..When i opened USD bank, my first transaction:
            around $55 total deduction, and greater conversion (since I went to money changer)
            I saved roughly around $120 or 6k php!!!

            Thanks on this site which gave me an idea 🙂

          • Hi Jen, thank you so much for following up! So did your pay your bank $55 for USD-to-USD wire transfer or did you use some money transfer provider?

          • Jen Cruz

            my client told that their bank deducts 30USD for the wire, I guess the rest was deducted by my ph bank (?) — just that the total deduction from the actual wire was around 55USD

          • Thank you, Jen. You should also look into USD-to-USD services from specialized money transfer providers which could be much cheaper than a bank. Start with Transfast and Ria Money Transfer to see which works better for you. There are more like them.

  • shebutchukoy

    I did my research. So far TransferWise is the best, no hidden charges…and really cheap…try your own research.

    • Hello, thank you for reading and commenting. As you see in the article, we also highlight TransferWise as the cheapest provider for sending in pesos and for its transparency. Couple questions to enrich your perspective:
      – how long did it take for your money to arrive from USA to Philippines? Some of our readers want to send money fast and TransferWise hasn’t been the best yet in that regard.
      – have you tried transferring dollars to Philippines rather than pesos?

  • Lagertha

    currently we are using Western Union in sending money from US to PH and it’s through online app. It cost $5 per $150.00 we’re sending. However, once the recipient will pick up the money, WU will charge a tax off the amount and the recipient will only get $149.xx out of the $150.00 we sent then, they will exchange it to peso depend of course on the FX rate on that day or there are other WU which you can get $ still. It’s good coz it provides confirmation or notification that the recipient got the money exactly once he/she picked up the money since we need it for legal records. However, we would like to check out what you can suggest if is there any other money transfer either online that we may be able to save more that what we’re paying right now. ty

    • Hello Lagertha, thank you for reaching out. Western Union makes money on you both from that $5 fee and giving you a worse FX rate that they get from a bank. Yes, please try other providers and let us know when you find a better deal. Good luck!

  • Happy EverAfter

    I just want to say THANK YOU very much for this helpful blog post. Thanks to you, I have chosen Transferwise to make my very first USD to PHP transfer – just a small amount – to an account in the Philippines. Set-up was easy and fast.

    • Thank you! Do you mind sharing if you sent money to Philippines before and how you compare that experience and costs with TransferWise?

      • Happy EverAfter

        This was my first time, so I have no point of comparison – sorry!

  • Jacob Edward Naasz

    Hello,

    I was wondering if sending money using Transferwise, U.S bank to bank account in the Philippines would bear the recipient some fees?

    I tried Transferwise one month ago, but I ended up cancelling the transaction due to it’s very delayed transfer( 3days behind the approx. date they told me, and my +2 days allowance couldn’t get the money to the banks recipient on time); and my bank was refunded 3days later which wasn’t that awesome. I ultimately use riamoney send in minutes instead, pick up cash at agent.

    • Hello Jacob, thanks for asking. TransferWise transfers could take a while, so if a speed is important, they are not the best. Their fees are supposed to be all inclusive, so you shouldn’t expect any additional fees by your recipient in Philippines. Please let us know if you hear otherwise.

  • Denny Dederick

    I’ve used many different services and am now giving all my business to WorldRemit. I send frequent small amounts to my wife in the Philippines from California. The transfer cost is only $3 and she gets nearly everything I send. The exchange rate is over 49 pesos to the dollar, close to 50 I believe. When I send her $50 they only take about 40 cents. They are very reliable, and very fast. The money is usually always there within 30 minutes. They always send her a text message with the amount and the transfer number immediately after I send the money so I don’t even need to send her the info. And I get an email stating the money has been sent and when it has been picked up. I can tell you right now the very worst service is Remitly. That service completely SUCKS. For one thing they are totally prejudiced against the Filipinos. They believe that many many Filipinos are scammers and gold diggers and don’t trust them at all. After I used them a couple times they suddenly froze my transfer for no apparent reason and sent me an email saying to call Customer Service. I called and the very rude woman began a barrage of questions that were extremely personal. Do you know the person you’re sending to? How long have you known them? Are you married? Have you ever met them in person? etc. etc. I told her I knew my fiancé VERY well as we’d had an online relationship for two years. And gave her several other reasons I knew her well. She said I’ll discuss it with my supervisor and get back to you. I told her that my fiancé had to walk for two hours in the blazing heat to get to the pick-up station and was sitting there waiting for the money to go through. I waited and waited and she finally called me back and said I’m sorry but we will have to decline your transfer. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I said WHY? She replied Because you’ve never met her in person and we believe she is scamming you. I was flying f*cking pissed. Unbelievable. And not an isolated incident as the same exact thing happened to two other guys I know trying to send money to their fiancé through Reshitly. That service should be totally boycotted if you’re a Filipino with any self respect. Or by anyone for that matter.

    • Denny, thank you for this very interesting post. Online dating scams are extremely sophisticated and widespread (see some stats here: https://www.saveonsend.com/blog/money-transfer-scams/). So please don’t rush to conclusions that a provider has poor processes and no manners – they might be really trying to help you. Keep in mind that these providers get routinely sued by customers and penalized by regulators after a scam is discovered. So when a provider suspects a scam, what would you do in their shoes? Consider calling them back and asking if they have records of your recipient receiving money from other sources or why they believe that “she is scamming you.” Please update us afterwards.

      • Denny Dederick

        Records of my recipient receiving from other sources?? I don’t think so when she’s been my extremely faithful and honest wife for four years. She is the most honest person I have ever met in my life. Remitly had nothing on her. They had no idea who she was. They just automatically presumed the very worst about her. Which they obviously do with all Filipinos. As I said, the same exact thing happened to my friend so it was not some isolated incident. And yes the way they went about the entire “shakedown” was in very poor manners and made you feel as if you were only a fool falling for a scammer. There was absolutely nothing positive in the entire line of questioning. They didn’t suspect a scam. They had no reason to. They knew nothing except that I was an American sending money to the Philippines. So obviously that company feels that the majority of Filipinos are scammers out to dupe foreigners. I dealt with scammers before I met my wife. Yes, there are girls doing that of course. But the majority of them are hardly what you’d call sophisticated. They almost all operate the same way and once you know that they are obvious and easy to avoid. Most guys who are novices at online dating may get burned a few times before they wise up. But it’s hardly ever more than losing 20 bucks a few times. Those girls don’t think big in their scamming. To them $20 is a lot of money. And at least half of them are only desperate to help feed their families. I’ve had long conversations with hundreds of Filipina girls. The majority are very kind, sincere, and honest. The ones lucky enough to have a job work long hard hours for $20 to $50 a week. When I met my wife she was working 6 days a week 12 hours a day in a factory for $50 a week. She was very proud as she felt that was big money. First thing I made very clear to her was You will never work again for the rest of your life. When a guy gives his American wife money how often do they say Thank you very much baby. I love you so much. Now tell me how to spend it. My wife says that every single time I give her money and always has for 4 years. And she never ever spends one dollar more than what I suggested. Filipino girls get a bad rap from the small percentage that are scamming guys. Most guys who really know them well will tell you the same thing. If not, then they don’t really know them well.

  • Hanz Ungria

    Is there a remit service besides Xoom that will not ask for the SSN of the sender when remitting from the US? My employer doesnt want to use a remit service that requires their SSN.

    • For now, it is a standard requirement in the US. There are some long-term considerations after the Equifax data breach that this requirement might change in the future.

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