6 Ways to Send Money to Philippines

Despite the fact that there are already a lot of ways to send money to Philippines, some OFWs are still not aware of them and they still choose to send money based on the recommendation of their friends or colleagues. They’re a bit skeptical about trying the other options out there because they don’t want to risk their hard-earned money by sending it through another remittance center, which they haven’t tried before.

In early 2014, an article from the Malaya Business Insight declared that Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) did not use banks a lot for their money remittances. Most chose to send money to their loved ones through informal, sometimes even suspicious, channels and money couriers. This is interesting especially because banks and remittance firms almost charge similar rates.

A reason for such behavior is the fact that most OFWs do not maintain bank accounts in their hometowns. There are many remittance centers in countries that host large numbers of OFWs like the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan, and Canada. However, the banks that own these remittance centers do not have accessible branches in most OFW’s hometowns. Therefore, most OFWs in 2014 sent their remittances through pawnshops and other informal “padala” services.

A changed happened this 2015. By the middle of the year, the Philippine Star reported that OFW remittances were in peril. Four countries that have big OFW populations namely the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom began closing remittance firms that help overseas Filipinos send money to their dependents because of their suspicion that money remittances are funneled to fund terrorists. Banks in these countries closed the accounts of private money transfer operators which further heightened the problem. This resulted to OFWs sending money in lesser amounts and less frequently because they were left with no choice but to send money through big foreign banks who obviously charge more.

If you or a loved one of yours is an OFW, these are obviously tough times for remittances to happen. But are there still good options for you and your loved ones to send their hard-earned cash to the Philippines?


Below are solid options for your remittance needs. It’s worth researching their services deeper though to make sure that they are not affected by recent developments in the international money remittance industry mentioned above.


Bank Remittance

This is still one of the best options for OFWs to send their money. If money is remitted through a local Filipino-based bank with a branch abroad, then remittance costs will be relatively cheaper than other options. Most major banks like Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Banco de Oro (BDO), Philippine National Bank (PNB), and Metrobank have their own respective remittance services.



MoneyGram is a widely used remittance service company which charge almost the same fees as that of Western Union and which can also send money via the internet through a credit card. MoneyGram is located in more than 190 countries and can deliver both pesos and dollars through three ways. First, MoneyGram can send the money directly to the receiver’s residence, make the money available for pick-up at their branches nationwide, or have it retrievable by the use of LBC ATM cards at over 6,800 ATMs in the country.


Western Union

Western Union is obviously one of the most widely used option in the Philippines with over 7,300 locations in the country and more than 200 branches abroad. Their services are quite expensive compared to the other options in this list though. Most of the time, money sent can be accessed by the receiver by picking it up at pick-up locations in malls, banks, drug stores, pawnshops, and even some grocery stores. Like MoneyGram, this company allows the remittance of both pesos and dollars and can also send the money online in just a few minutes.



Ikobo is a very practical option. It is an online money transfer service with a monthly membership fee that can transfer money in just a few minutes or seconds. Ikobo is practical because its fees are relatively cheaper than MoneyGram or Western Union. The only downside of this service is that obviously it’s just an online money transfer company that has no branches or pick-up locations in the Philippines. If the OFW has no credit card or US bank account, Ikobo cannot be used to send cash.


Xoom Money Transfer

Another cheap option for OFWs looking to remit their hard-earned cash is Xoom Money Transfer. It is a tried and trusted option for many Filipinos and with more than 10,500 pick-up locations in the country, Xoom definitely has a wide reach and a solid customer base. Xoom only transfers money online though and thus requires the use of a debit card or a credit card, which are also prerequisites for the third option which is a Paypal account. Money arrives through a bank deposit, a delivery, or through pick up. Users of Xoom report that it is safe, fast, and cheaper than the other more traditional remittance services.



TransferWise is also a cheaper option. It is a relatively new option with a radical system that was designed to bypass banks and avoid cross border movement of money. This resulted to lesser remittance fees. The system was designed this way. TransferWise matches the OFW sender who will send money back home in the Philippines with another sender in the Philippines who wants to send the same amount of money in the United States. The OFW sender’s dollars are transferred to the other sender’s peso account and the pesos of that person directly lands to your recipient’s account. In other words, the dollars remain in the US and the pesos stay in the Philippines. Brilliant idea! This system, although unconventional, has resulted to much lesser remittance costs and can actually be a good answer to the recent problem faced by OFWs who were used to sending money at the remittance centers blocked by foreign governments.



It is important to do good research first before using a certain money remittance firm’s services. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, OFWs are facing challenges in sending their cash back home this 2015 and this will continue for the next year unless addressed by the authorities. With this, OFWs and their families should strive to be proactive in finding safe and cheaper ways for transferring their hard-earned cash.


  1. I’ve recently tried TransferWise and would recommend it to OFWs because it is easy and secured to use. The fee is also low compare to remittance centers in Canada. TransferWise uses the mid-market exchange rate so you can save more. You can also check the currency conversion on Google, XE, and Yahoo to get the highest rate before sending money to the Philippines.

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