How to compare transfer companies when sending money to the Philippines
Exchange rates. Nearly all providers skew exchange rates for a profit. Compare the rate you’re offered to the mid-market rate – the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves – and look for the smallest margin between them.
Transfer fees. Find out whether the provider charges a flat fee or a percentage of your transfer. If you’re sending a large amount, ask whether you qualify for a fee-free transfer.
Transfer speed. If it needs to be there fast, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow for quick cash pick-ups, often in minutes. If you’ve more time, you’ll get better rates and fees with an independent provider.
Transfer limits. Your best option might depend on how much you want to send. For large transfers, weigh the best exchange rate — especially since providers encourage large transfers by offering low fees. For smaller amounts, consider the fees you’ll pay on top of the exchange rate.
"Hedging" options. Ask whether you can schedule payments ahead of time or protect your transfer against market fluctuations with a limit order or forward contract.
Customer service. Most companies offer customer service by Internet chat, phone, in person or by email. Make sure help will be available if you need it.
Foreign exchange rates explained
An exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weak currency. The Philippine peso has historically been one of the weaker currencies in Asia. Economic stability, inflation and regional politics all impact the Philippine peso’s value.
International money orders. Although not a quick option, you can choose to post an international guaranteed cheque from your bank.
Banks versus money transfer companies
Many major Australian banks offer the option to send funds to the Philippines, but they typically charge high transfer fees and offer exchange rates that are significantly lower than the mid-market rate (or the rate banks and transfer providers use when trading among themselves).
A reputable money transfer specialist can often offer better exchange rates and also charge lower fees, saving you money and putting more Philippine pesos into your recipient’s pocket.
Example: Paul sends money to the Philippines
Paul wants to send a gift of AUD$1,500 to his cousins in the Philippines, but he knows that using his bank to do so will be unnecessarily expensive. With this in mind, he decides to compare the exchange rate and fees of his bank with those offered by a specialist money transfer company. The results of his comparison can be seen in the table below.
Major Australian bank
Money transfer specialist
AUD$1 = PHP36.515
AUD$1 = PHP38.719
Online, in branch
Amount received for AUD$1,500 (PHP)
As you can see, not only can Paul save $12 in fees but he can also send an extra PHP3,306 to his relatives by using a money transfer company.
Tips when sending money to the Philippines
Making an emergency transfer to someone in the Philippines
You might need to send an emergency cash transfer to the Philippines – for example, if a friend travelling through the country loses their wallet. When you need to transfer funds urgently, your fastest possible transfer will often be the most expensive option. Carefully review the exchange rate and transfer fee against your needs so you understand exactly how much it will cost you.
Tips for picking up cash in the Philippines
Check an agent’s location and hours of operation before visiting.
Avoid visiting any unsafe areas.
Don’t wave your cash around in public and make yourself a target for thieves.
Don’t carry large sums of money around for any longer than is necessary.
Deposit the money into your bank account as soon as possible.
DE LEON PAWNSHOP Address: Rizal Avenue, Zone 2 Digos, Davao Del Sur 8002 Hours: 8am–6pm Phone: +63 82 553 7452
PETNET INC Address: Rizal Avenue, Ground Floor 2109 Digos, Davao Del Sur 8002 Hours: 8am–4:30pm Phone: +63 82 2721240
RURAL BANK OF DIGOS Address: Rizal Avenue Digos, Davao Del Sur 8002 Hours: 9am–5pm Phone: +63 82 5532691
About the Philippines and Australia
Australia and the Philippines are located quite close to one another and enjoy friendly ties. Australia is home to over 220,000 Filipino Australians, the fifth largest subgroup of overseas Filipinos in the world. The largest communities of Filipino Australians can be found in Sydney and Melbourne, though smaller pockets exist in other capital cities.
According to data from the World Bank, in 2017 Australia sent just over $1 billion in remittances to the Philippines. How do the other top 10 countries stack up against how much Australia is sending to the Philippines?
Amount of remittances Australia sent in 2017
While you can send money to the Philippines via your bank, there are other more affordable ways to send money overseas. Once you've compared your options in the table above and found the best one for you, head over to the provider's website and register for an account. While the registration part of the process may take some time, once you have your account set up, you'll be good to go.
Frequently asked questions
You'll get the most for your Australian dollars when either the AUD is doing well, or the PHP is weak. However, it's nearly impossible to predict when this will be. There are a few factors you can monitor that can indicate what the exchange rate might do:
Political climate, particularly if there are any elections coming up
How much debt the country you're sending to has
The interest rates set by the country's central bank, especially if there's a rate change announcement coming up
It depends on what transfer company you go with. Some allow it and some don't. When comparing your options, make sure to check this before registering.
PayPal is an option when sending money to the Philippines, but both you and your recipient will need accounts. If they don't have it, they'll receive a link to sign up to it when the transfer goes through. You can use your bank account or card to send money, but there's a flat transfer fee for both. If you pay by card, there will also be a transfer fee on top of that flat fee.
It depends on the money transfer provider you chose. Some do offer no transfer limit, meaning you can send as much money as you want. Generally, you'll get a better deal for larger money transfers.
Marc Terrano is the lead publisher of Points Finder and a co-host of the Pocket Money podcast. He was previously a writer and publisher for home loans at Finder. Marc has a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) from the University of Technology Sydney. He’s passionate about creating honest and simple reviews and comparisons to help Australians get the best value for their money.
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