The First 2 Digital Banks in the Philippines, and more

Soon there will be more digital banks in the Philippines!

The pandemic has forced people to stay and work at home… and people have been turning to digital banking and other online platforms to make payments and other money transactions.

woman accessing digital banks in the Philippines

ING Bank and CIMB are the first fully digital banks in the Philippines. Each of these banks has only one physical office where they manage their digital operations.

On November 26, 2020, the BSP has announced its addition of “digital bank” to its existing category or classification of banks in the Philippines. The BSP defines a digital bank as a bank that offers financial products and services that are processed end-to-end through a digital platform and/or electronic channels with no physical branches.

Digital banks are required to maintain a physical office where they will manage operations and maintain support services.

ING Bank

I’m now checking my ING account on my phone and the 4% per year interest rate is still there. It says it’s 4% until the end of the year. Then it returns to 2.5%. They post interests earned every end of the month.

ING Bank was the first bank in the Philippines to offer a fully digital banking platform. It launched in November 2018.

Features of an ING account:

  • No maintaining balance
  • No minimum to earn interest
  • No holding period (you’re free to move your money anytime)
  • No transfer fee. Free to transfer money to another ING account or to another account in another bank.
  • You can deposit a check. Just take photos of your check using the app. Check amount should be less than 500,000 pesos.
  • No fee to pay bills or buy online. Currently, there’s a promo — you get a cashback when you use ING Pay.

CIMB

I opened my CIMB via GCash, as I’ve been using GCash for a while before GCash launched its GSave account partnership with CIMB. If you like, you can directly open your CIMB account by downloading the CIMB app.

Features:

  • No annual fees.
  • No maintaining balance requirement. No initial deposit.
  • Offers 3 account products: GSave, UpSave and Fast & Fast Plus
  • GSave is an account offered in partnership with GCash. Interest rate of 3.1% per year. Promo rate of 4% per year ending on Dec 31, 2020. You can open and maintain your GSave account on your GCash app.
  • Upsave account offers a free life insurance with a minimum average balance of 100,000. No medical check-up. Upsave is also a zero-annual-fee account. Offers 3% annual interest rate.
  • Fast and Fast Plus accounts. You open a Fast account if you’re looking to open an account super fast. Upgrade to a Fast Plus account so you can maximize features. You can get a free Visa payWave ATM debit card when you deposit a total of 5,000 in your account.
  • Upgrade your account so can enjoy promo offers and apply for a CIMB personal loan.
  • You can get a free CIMB debit card by cashing in a total of 5,000 pesos and having your document verified.

The accounts described below are fully digital account products owned by licensed banks with physical branches.

Komo by Eastwest

I’ve been maintaining my Eastwest Bank account for several years because we live near Filinvest City which has several Eastwest Bank branches. Eastwest is owned by the same company that owns Festival Mall and other Filinvest enterprises.

Another reason I like Eastwest is they offer a higher exchange rate for US dollars. I don’t have to go to money changers to get a favorable exchange rate.

And now they’re offering Komo, a fully digital account!

Just like ING and CIMB, they also offer a higher interest rate, so I opened my own Komo account. I’m also blogging about banks, so it helps if I experience using many different accounts.

Features:

  • No maintaining balance. No annual fees. No initial deposit.
  • 3% annual interest rate
  • Free withdrawals at any EastWest ATM. Four free withdrawals per month at any BancNet ATM.
  • Free debit card and free home delivery. (I have yet to get my card. Komo says they’re overwhelmed with applications).

Why the name Komo? Komo means “kontrol mo ang pera mo”. Okay rin hehe. Creative rin.

Digital Accounts from UnionBank

Downloan the UnionBank app, then open an account with your ID.

Choose from 3 savings accounts:
PlayEveryday Visa
Debit Visa
GetGo Visa

Features:

  • No maintaining balance
  • Request for your card. It will be delivered to your address.
  • Pay bills and buy online. No fees.
  • Transfer or send money to other UnionBank or Eon accounts. No fees.
  • Transfer or send money to other banks. No fees.
  • Deposit checks by taking photos of your checks.
  • Annual fee of 350 pesos. (No annual fee for the 1st year. Maintain an average daily balance of 10,000 to waive the fee).

ISave from Maybank Philippines

Features:

  • No initial deposit. No maintaining balance.
  • 0.25% interest rate per year for a balance of at least 20,000 pesos
  • Withdraw from any ATM in the Philippines with no fee. It’s FREE.
  • Withdraw from any Maybank ATM in Malaysia, Singapore and Cambodia with no charge. It’s FREE.

To get your ATM card, make a one-time deposit of at least 1,000 pesos. Your ATM card and your PIN will be delivered to your address separately. You may ask your representative to receive your ATM card by showing your authorization letter and a copy of your ID.
If you need an ATM card right away, request for a no-name ATM card at any Maybank branch.

What is Restricted? You’ll see that initially your account will be Restricted. This means you can only have a total of 100,000 pesos in your account, and you cannot receive foreign remittances.

To remove the Restriction, schedule an online verification. After verification, the Restriction will be removed within 24 hours.

Banks that Offer Initial Opening of Accounts Online

Some banks have been offering initial opening of accounts online. Customers fill out online forms and then go to their preferred branch within a certain period to sign some forms and get their ATM cards.

  • UnionBank
  • Landbank
  • Security Bank
  • Overseas Filipino Bank

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