What could OFWs do if they could open and manage an account from outside the country? A lot!
I was talking to two friends in Los Angeles, California when one mentioned that his bank does not have brick-and-mortar branches. They don’t have branches to service customer over-the-counter transactions. All transactions are done online or through other bank’s ATMs (e.g. for withdrawal/deposit). The bank account was created online.

Isn’t that a great idea? I could imagine that this kind of service would benefit a lot of OFWs if they were allowed to create a Philippine-based bank account from anywhere in the world.

Having a Philippine-based online bank account may allow OFWs to have more control over their finances.  They can use the bank account for simple savings (e.g. saving up for upcoming tuition fees). They can make deposits into the account via bank transfers or remittance. The online account can be used to pay bills, issue payments (e.g. to schools, housing loans etc.).

The challenge today is that banks required physical presence of the account holder before opening an account. For an OFW who won’t be going home anytime soon, it isn’t easy getting a Philippine-based bank account.

It would be a great idea if an entity allow OFWs to create and manage an account from outside the Philippines.

The dream is alive

Guess what! There is such a service! G-Cash and Smart Money are two mobile services that, in essence, allows OFWs to “hold” money in an m-commerce account.

It starts by opening a G-Cash or Smart Money account. Any pre-paid or post-paid cellphone can be used to open an account. A relative in the Philippines can do this on behalf of the OFW. Then the SIM is sent to the OFW. Thus, the OFW will have his m-commerce account “in the palm of his hand”.

An OFW can send a remittance to his own m-commerce account. He can make bill payments, he can transfer money to other m-commerce accounts, he can purchase cellphone airtime for his relatives.

The tools are out there. It CAN be done. Who wants to try it out? Anybody out there?

ka edong

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