How to Send Money Abroad from the Philippines

Choose from many ways below how to send money abroad from the Philippines.

Table of Contents:
• What Are Wire Transfer, SWIFT and IBAN?
• BDO Wire Transfer Online
• Western Union Philippines
• Moneygram Philippines
• BPI Money Transfer International
• Landbank Outgoing Telegraphic Transfer
• Security Bank Telegraphic or Wire Transfer
• RCBC Telegraphic or Wire Transfer
• Paypal International
• Demand Draft in Foreign Currency
• Why Use Wire Transfer to Transfer Large Amount of Money
Valid Purposes in Sending Money Abroad, per BSP Regulations
• Countries that Use SWIFT or BIC
• Countries that Use IBAN

What Are Wire Transfer, SWIFT and IBAN?

A WIRE TRANSFER is a transfer of money between 2 or more financial institutions through an electronic network. There’s no actual or physical transfer of money. The financial institutions complete the transfer of money through debit or credit on their correspondent accounts. They just send financial messages to each other through a secure network.

A wire transfer in the Philippines is often international. But it can also be local, which is between banks or financial companies within the Philippines.

An international wire transfer uses the SWIFT network, which requires the use of Business Identifier Codes (BICs), often called SWIFT codes, for transfers to around 212 countries. BIC is also often explained as Bank Identifier Code.

For transfers to around 80 countries, most of which are in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, an International Bank Account Number (IBAN) is required.

Certain countries use BICs only, other countries use IBANs only, and other countries require both.

SWIFT or BIC codes are used by the USA, Canada, Australia, and Asian countries like the Philippines. See countries using SWIFT codes below.

IBAN numbers are used by European countries like the UK, France, Germany and Spain, Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE, African countries, South American countries and other countries. See countries using IBAN below.

Any bank in the Philippines with a correspondent bank abroad can make an international wire transfer. Most of them require that you have a US dollar account or a third-currency account with them. Some are okay with a peso account. Most banks require that you go to their branch. Others offer their wire transfer service through their online or mobile banking.

BDO Wire Transfer Online

If you have a US-dollar account with BDO, you can send money abroad by making a BDO wire transfer using your BDO online account. Just login to your BDO online banking, then choose your US dollar account. Choose “Send Money” and “US Wire Transfer”. This is not available on the mobile app. Go to https://www.bdo.com.ph/.

Be ready with account details: Receiver’s name, address, name of bank, bank address, account number, purpose of wire transfer, additional information (email address or phone no.)
BDO says there’s no maximum limit on the amount you can send, as long as your purpose in sending money abroad is valid. See valid purposes in sending money abroad below.

And you must send the money to the person or entity based on your purpose. For example, if your purpose is tuition payment, then your wire transfer recipient must be the name of the school. If your purpose is to pay your international credit card purchases, then your recipient must be the credit card company you’re paying.

Wire transfer charge for a transfer abroad is $35.

Wire transfer within the Philippines: You can also use this online BDO wire transfer service to send money to another BDO account in the Philippines or to an account in another Philippine-based bank. US-dollar to US-dollar account.

Western Union Philippines

To send money abroad, you need to go to a Western Union location. Bring at least one valid government ID. If you’re a foreigner, bring your passport. You will provide your receiver’s name and address, and you can pay in peso or US dollars. You’ll send the Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) to your receiver. This will be the reference number for cash pickup and for tracking the money transfer on the Western Union website.

Make sure the name you write on the Western Union form is exactly the same name on your receiver’s ID. Even a one-letter error in spelling might result in denial of cash pickup.

If you’re sending to a bank account abroad, be ready with bank name, account number, and bank code.

For sending to a US bank account, you need bank name, account number, ABA routing Number, receiver’s address with zip code, and phone number.

Using Western Union Online for sending money to USA from the Philippines is not yet offered. You can start the sending process online on Western Union, but you will need to complete the process at a physical Western Union location.

Maximum transfer limits at Western Union locations:

Up to $15,000 or equivalent PHP for a transfer to all countries
Up to $7,500 or equivalent PHP for a transfer to California, New Mexico and Texas
Arizona allows a maximum payout of only $450 per transaction.
Lower maximum limit for transfers to Mexico.
For bigger amounts, ask the agent.

Moneygram Philippines

You can send money abroad from the Philippines via Moneygram to a person, bank account or mobile wallet. Go to a Moneygram location with your cash and at least one valid government ID.

If you’re sending to a bank account, be ready with your receiver’s bank account details. If you’re sending money for cash pickup, send the 8-digit Moneygram reference number to your receiver.

What’s the maximum amount you can send? Moneygram instructs senders to ask their agents. Most likely, up to $10,000 or up to 500,000 pesos, which is the threshold amount for BSP and AMLC reporting.

BPI Money Transfer International

Sending money abroad via BPI online or mobile is not yet available. Go to a BPI branch with at least one valid government ID, your ATM card, account number and documents to support your purpose in sending.

You will use your BPI account to send money, so if your account balance is not sufficient for your planned transfer amount, deposit cash first to add to your account.

Be ready with your receiver’s bank account details:
• Complete name and address of the person, company or organization
• Foreign bank account number
• Name and address of the receiver’s bank
• SWIFT Code of the receiver’s bank
• Fedwire or Chips ABA routing number for receiver’s bank (if sending money to USA from Philippines)
– BSB number for receiver’s bank (if in Australia)
– Transit number for receiver’s bank (if in Canada)
– Sort code for receiver’s bank (if in the UK)

Outward international remittance fees as of Sep 2021
• If debiting from a US dollar account, BPI service charge is $14, plus correspondent bank and/or receiving bank charges
• If debiting from a peso account, BPI service charge is 600 pesos, plus documentary stamp tax of 60 cents for every 200 pesos, plus correspondent bank and/or receiving bank charges
• Correspondent bank/receiving bank charges will depend on remittance amount, currency and purpose of remittance

Documents required by BPI to prove your purpose in sending money abroad:

  • For foreign travel, show passport and passenger ticket
  • For educational expenses abroad, show proof of enrollment and billing statement from school
  • For medical expenses abroad, show hospital billing statements and/or receipts, or certification from doctor or hospital abroad indicating cost estimate of treatment
  • For transfer of emigrant’s assets to emigrant’s new country, show proof of residence abroad and notarized deed of sale of assets in the Philippines, such as real estate, vehicles, equipment, or proof of income from rental properties
  • If you’re a foreigner transferring proceeds from sale of assets in the Philippines, show ACR-I card and photocopy of proof of sale of assets indicating currency of payment
  • For freight charges on exports and imports, show billing statement and photocopy of contract

Landbank Outgoing Telegraphic Transfer

You can send money abroad using your Landbank peso or US dollar account over the counter at your Landbank branch.

If funded from your US dollar account:
$20 for Landbank charge
$15 for receiving bank charge
$10 for cable charge
plus correspondent bank charge

If funded from your peso account:
$20 for Landbank charge plus documentary stamp tax (60 cents per 200 pesos of sent amount)
$15 for receiving bank charge plus DST (60 cents per 200 pesos of sent amount)
500 pesos for cable charge
plus correspondent bank charge

Outgoing wire transfer service for other foreign currencies is offered by Landbank.

Security Bank Telegraphic Transfer or Wire Transfer

– You can send money abroad via telegraphic transfer using your Security Bank peso or US dollar account at your branch. Money will be debited from your account.
– Just go to a Security Bank location with your IDs, your ATM card, account number, receiver’s bank account details, and documents related to your purpose in sending money overseas (just in case they require documents for sending a large amount).
– You can send from a minimum of $100 up to any amount.

Service charge: 1/8 of 1% of principal amount, minimum is 100 pesos
Cable cost: $20
Documentary stamp tax if funded from peso account: 60 cents per 200 pesos
Correspondent bank charge: $15 for wires in US dollars

RCBC Telegraphic or Wire Transfer

If you’re an RCBC account owner, you can apply for a wire transfer at the branch or through RCBC online/mobile banking.
On your RCBC online banking or mobile app, go to Fund Transfer and choose Outward Remittance. If using online or mobile, the destination account is limited to only USD, Euro and Japanese Yen currencies.

Fees to pay:
Transaction fee — $11
Foreign bank fee — $5
Transfer fee — $25
Cable fee — 16 pesos

You can transfer up to 500k pesos.

PAYPAL International

You can send money abroad from the Philippines via your Paypal account. You just need their email address. But Paypal is great only if you’re using money that’s already there in your Paypal account and that you’re sending in the same currency.

Like for example, you have $100 in Paypal that was sent to you previously as payment or gift, and you’re going to send it to someone abroad also in US dollars. This will be a free transaction. No conversion fee. No transaction fee. No funding fee. No low exchange rate used.

But if you don’t have a foreign-currency balance in your Paypal account, and you need to fund it using your peso bank account or credit card, Paypal is not a great option. There will be fees to pay. Conversion fee and transaction fee. Your credit card might also charge you. And the exchange rate is not favorable.

Reminder: Before sending money abroad via Paypal, ask first your recipient if they have a Paypal account or if it’s okay with them to open a Paypal account. It’s easy to create a Paypal account, but your recipient might not like creating an account with Paypal.

Demand Draft: How to Send Money Abroad from Philippines

There was a time when US-dollar demand drafts were the ones being used to pay US school fees, NCLEX processing, US passport renewal and other financial payables in the US. Now, demand drafts seem to be on the way out. Now, debit cards, credit cards, wire transfers and money transfer organizations are the ones used. These payment methods are easier and faster to process.

But in case you’re required to send money abroad via a demand draft in foreign currency, you can request this in person at your bank. Just go to your bank with your IDs, your ATM card or passbook, and documents that support your purpose in sending money abroad.

Most banks require that you have a US dollar account with them if you need a US dollar demand draft, or an account in the same foreign currency as your demand draft denomination. Some banks allow funding of your demand draft from your peso account.

If you have a payment deadline, apply for a demand draft early. Your bank might require information that takes time to obtain, like the tax number of your payee or recipient. If you’re also planning to send the demand draft thru the Post Office’s EMS service because it’s cheaper than FedEx or DHL, it’s best to send early.

Hong Kong Dollar Demand Draft for Hong Kong Police Clearance Application

How to Transfer Large Amount of Money from Philippines to USA, Other Countries

The best way to transfer large amounts of money from the Philippines to the USA and other countries is WIRE TRANSFER. Why? Because it’s the safest, most secure and the fastest. Specially if your bank has a correspondent bank in the country where you’re sending money to.

You can also transfer abroad big amounts of money via money transfer organizations like Western Union, but you need to go to their physical location, and physically carry large amounts of cash, which is not safe.

Let’s say you’ve sold the 5M-peso condo of your US-based sister, and you’ll send the money from the sale to her. If you accepted a manager’s check in your name, you can just deposit the check in your account, and when it clears, apply for a wire transfer to send the money to your sibling’s bank account in the US. Done without actual handling of cash.

Reporting of Covered Transactions under AMLA

Note that any transaction in cash or other monetary instrument exceeding 500,000 pesos must be reported by the bank or financial institution to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

So bring documents to prove that the money you’re sending abroad came from a legitimate transaction. And that your purpose in sending money out of the country to your recipient is valid.

Note also that not all banks do wire transfers using your peso accounts. For instance, BDO do wire transfers only online, and only from US dollar accounts, and only for valid purposes as listed and described by the BSP.

Valid Purposes in Sending Money to USA from Philippines, or to Other Countries

These valid purposes below are described in the BSP Circular No. 874, Regulations on Foreign Exchange Transactions

  • Foreign travel funds
  • Educational expenses or student allowances
  • Correspondence studies
  • Medical expenses
  • Emigrants’ assets such as income from properties
  • Salaries and other benefits of foreign nationals
  • Foreign nationals’ income taxes due to foreign governments
  • Sales proceeds of foreign nationals’ assets in the Philippines
  • Foreign producers’ share in movie revenue or TV film rentals
  • Export commissions due to foreign agents
  • Freight charges on exports and imports
  • Charters and leases of vessels and aircrafts
  • Leases of equipment and other capital goods owned and/or leased by non-resident entities to residents
  • Port disbursements abroad for aircraft and vessels of Philippine registry or chartered by domestic operators and salvage fees
  • Satellite and other telecommunication services
  • Non-residents’ commissions and fees (advertising, consultancy, information technology)
  • Reimbursements for share in head office expenses
  • Insurance or reinsurance premium due to foreign insurance companies
  • Payment of claims against Philippines insurance companies by brokers abroad
  • Net peso revenues of foreign airlines and shipping companies
  • Royalty, copyright, franchise, patent and licensing fees
  • Outward remittance of non-residents’ investment capital or earnings from foreign investments in the Philippines
  • Outward investments by Filipinos in foreign securities
  • Net peso revenues of embassies and consulates of foreign countries
  • Foreign-currency payment by Philippine credit card companies to international credit card companies or non-resident merchants
  • Foreign-currency payment by Filipinos using their Philippine credit cards for online purchases from non-resident sellers
  • Refund of unused foreign grant or aid remitted to the Philippines in foreign currency from non-residents
  • Refund of unused foreign loan proceeds remitted to the Philippines in foreign currency
  • Settlement by the PDIC of foreign-currency deposit claims by non-resident depositors

When you go to the bank to apply for a wire transfer to send money abroad from the Philippines, bring IDs and documents to prove your purpose in making an outward money transfer.

Reference for Valid Purposes: BSP Circular No. 874, Series of 2015, Subject: Amendments to Regulations under the Manual of Regulations on Foreign Exchange Transactions (FX Manual), as amended. www.bsp.gov.ph/Regulations/Issuances/2015/c874.pdf

Countries that Use SWIFT Codes or BICs

There are around 212 countries that use the SWIFT network and its Business Identifier Codes (BICs). Some of them also use IBAN. The others use only SWIFT codes or BICs. The Philippines uses SWIFT codes or BICs.

North America: Canada, Mexico, United States
Australasia: Australia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, New Zealand, Tuvalu
Europe: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland,
Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vatican City
*Note about Russia: Most of Russian land is in Asia, but most of the Russian population live in the European part of Russia.
Middle East: Azerbaijan, Egypt, Israel, United Arab Emirates (UAE)
North Asia: Japan, South Korea
East Asia: China, Hong Kong,
South Asia: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
South America: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay
Central America: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama
Caribbean America: British Virgin Islands
Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote D’ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana,
Guinea-bissau, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Uganda

Countries that Use IBAN

Europe: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Malta, Monaco, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom (UK), Vatican City

Middle East Asia: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE)
*Note: Azerbaijan is sometimes grouped with Europe or Central Asia

South Asia: Pakistan

Southeast Asia: East Timor

South America: Brazil, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua
Central America: El Salvador, Guatemala

Caribbean South America: Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia, British Virgin Islands

Africa: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia

Additional Codes Used by Some Countries in addition to SWIFT codes:

In addition to SWIFT or BIC, some countries require branch codes or routing numbers to make a wire transfer, like the following:
USA: 9-digit Fedwire No. or Routing Transit No. (RTN) or American Bankers Association (ABA) no.
Canada: 9-digit Routing No.
Australia: 6-digit Bank State Branch No.
New Zealand: 6-digit Bank State Branch No. or Sort Code
South Africa: 6-digit National Clearing Code
China: 12-digit China National Advanced Payment System (CNAPS) No.
India: 11-digit Indian Financial System Code (IFSC)

BPI Correspondent Banks in South Korea
BPI Correspondent Banks in the USA
Metrobank Correspondent Banks in South Korea
Metrobank Correspondent Banks in Vietnam

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