I asked my friend Denggoy to describe to me how he manages his finances from Switzerland.

Before I give you his reply, let me summarize the building blocks of effective finance management from outside the Philippines — Remote Finance Management.

By Remote Finance Management, I mean being able to save, make payments, allot budgets and invest in the Philippines while working abroad.

 

I see three service components that an OFW needs to setup to manage Philippine finances from abroad.

  • First is the remittance method
  • Second is a Philippine bank account with an online account – I see this as the most “in-control” way for OFWs to manage their funds.
  • Third: funds-transfer or payment facilities setup with the online bank account

Denggoy also describes some of the considerations when signing up for the service components I summarized above.

  • remittance charges / fees
  • convenience of transactions (speed, proximity, availability etc. for OFW and OFW family)

Without further ado, here’s how Denggoy pays his Meralco Bill from Switzerland… and more!  

firstly, i scouted for a good bank.

nung dati i liked PNB kasi my remittance charges cost little. they
take away only a small percentage from the amount that you send. but
it is not easy to manage because you need to have someone withdrawing
the funds for you in manila and changing them to local currency. BPI,
pwede online but the charges are significant and the exchange rate is
lousy.

im using HSBC now. i can open accounts for different currencies in a
single bank relationship which can be accessed via ebanking. i have a
dollar and a peso account tapos i remit my funds to the dollar
account. merong charges pero minimal lang (a fixed amount plus a
percentage commission) and merong time of day that transfer is almost
instant (parang within 5 mins). then i change the dollar to peso
online din when i want using their board rates (with a reasonable
spread). minsan, when im home, i withdraw the dollar and bring it to
czarina’s or sanry’s for a better rate (not really advisable
security-wise cause you hand carry the funds). HSBC also allows you to
transfer money to local banks with a charge, parang P150 per transfer.
So if i need to send money to my dad, direct na to his bank account.
water and association dues, i bank transfer to property manager. a
powervantage account with HSBC will require you to have 100k. pero for
the convenience, i think it’s worth it. maintaining balance lang naman
yun so the money is still yours. one can put it in a time deposit
(which you can also open online) para hindi na rin magagalaw.

hindi naman sa pino-promote ko ang hsbc. ive tried different banks din
naman and i know what some already offer. i dont know with others, but
i imagine citi has something similar. maybe metrobank too.

then i applied for a local credit card…

actually, they allow this kahit na based abroad ka. so long as you
have a good relationship with the bank i guess. Utilities can be tied
up to your credit card like meralco and phone. i pay my globe phone
bill sa credit card. as for meralco, i subscribed to e-Meralco and i
pay my bill thru ebanking na rin. meron sila provided na ATM reference
which you can use to pay online.

Thanks Denggoy for sharing!  These are the kinds of stories we’d like to spread around, to help OFWs manage their finances better.

Many of the building blocks are out there already, it’s just a matter of assembling the building blocks to address the unique needs of OFWs in different parts of the globe.

ka edong
the builder

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