Sometimes you are abroad and discover that you need to get money fast and the ATMs just aren’t working. On our lovely island of Siargao, this happens a LOT.
When I first moved to Siargao, there was only one ATM and when it ran out of money I would take a three-hour boat to the neighboring island of Siargao just to hit the ATM and take a three-hour boat back.
Since then I’ve learned better and begun using WorldRemit to move money around.
You can visit them using our link -> https://siargaofootprints.com/remit
If you give the service a try, we get $20 which we really appreciate 😉
I’ve been using the service for over four years now and my experience has been stellar.
Reasons to Use WorldRemit In the Philippines
You might be wondering if using a remit service is only something for an emergency or when the ATMs aren’t working, but there are loads of advantages.
Convenience is only the beginning.
WorldRemit Charges Lower Fees
The fee on WorldRemit ranges from $4-5 for a transaction.
I have sent $2000 in a single transaction before and paid the WorldRemit fee of $5.
Going to an ATM, every single machine in the Philippines will charge you an additional fee for using a foriegn debit card.
When I first moved to the Philippines, the fee was just 200PHP.
Now the standard fee is 250PHP and I’ve seen some machines charging 300PHP.
This means you are paying a fee to the ATM owner of about $5-6.
If you’re moving less than $200, the fee from WorldRemit is about the same as using an ATM.
HOWEVER, if you’re moving anything larger, remitting quickly becomes the cheaper option.
To move the same amount of money via an ATM would have taken me TEN transactions and that means ten fees, adding up to over $50.
Avoid International Fees from your own Bank
Odds are your bank will come after your cash too.
When I withdrew money from an ATM in Thailand last month, my own bank charged me a $10 international transaction fee.
How very convenient of them.
When you’re on vacation, you want to spend money having adventures – not paying your bank to give you your own money.
But that’s how they like to operate.
When you remit money, whether you pay by card, bank transfer, or ApplePay – you avoid this brutal and unfair international transaction fee.
Get the Best Exchange Rate
Before choosing WorldRemit, I looked at all of the remitting services out there and hands down they are the best one for Americans.
They charge the lowest fees, have the best exchange rate, and the money always arrives on the same day.
That’s a big win in my book.
Some other services offer slightly better rates or lower fees, but you have to wait a week for your money.
Who thinks that far ahead?
If you look at the small print on the ATM screen, you’ll often discover a TERRIBLE conversion rate when you withdraw money.
The two banks are both working against you, as the worse your rate the more profit they make
When you’re pulling out your cash, you often don’t even look at that exchange rate.
WorldRemit makes sure you see the rate you’re getting BEFORE you spend a penny.
Right now, the official exchange rate from dollars to pesos is $1USD = 53.17PHP
When choosing a remit service, you want to find a company that gets as close to this numbers as possible.
Right now the WorldRemit rate is about 52.06.
So you lose about 1 peso or 1.8 pennies from each dollar.
But most ATMs will give you rates lower than 50 and you will lose 3-5 pesos per transaction.
Pick Up Cash Just About Anywhere
While there are only a few ATMs on the island of Siargao, there are more than a dozen places you can pick up cash from WorldRemit.
Not only can you pay your bills (at hostels like ours), you can send money to yourself or loved ones and they can pick it up anywhere in the Philipines with maximum convenience.
It’s a real headache finding an ATM with cash in it sometimes.
Nearly every time I go to the bank to use the ATM at least one of them is out of service or out of money.
When that happens, you can start to freak out.
Fortunately, there is an alternative that’s convenient and even works with a simple iPhone app.
Send Money from a Credit Card
Withdraw money from an ATM with a credit card and they charge you a higher fee.
Send money through WorldRemit and you can bypass that fee altogether.
How Much Money Am I Losing with Each Transaction?
The best way to assess any money transfer is to look at the total you pay and what it’s actually worth.
Right now, 10,oooPHP is worth $188. With WorldRemit, you’re going to pay from $197 to $198.
The total cost of transferring your money is $9-$10.
That’s less than the foreign transaction fee my bank hits me with for using an ATM, let alone the additional fees and shady international transaction rate the local bank is going to pull with my money.
The big win is with a larger transaction.
If we add a zero to the end of that transaction, xe.com says that in a perfect world we would only pay $1,880.85 for our 100,oo0PHP.
WorldRemit isn’t perfect and this is where you notice the ding from that slightly lower exchange rate.
You’re going to pay $1925.99.
That’s a transfer fee of $40.14.
While that seems like a lot, remember that World Remit is only charging you a single $5 fee for that transaction.
Using an ATM, you would be spending more than $100 to withdraw the same amount of money (assuming an ATM has enough money in it, the line behind you doesn’t start shouting at you, and that you have a daily limit high enough that you don’t have to come back tomorrow.)
I used to go to the ATM several days in a row to pay my rent each month!
Send Money to the Philippines with WorldRemit in 7 Easy Steps
Now that you see how awesome and convenient this service is in the Philippines.
Let me walk you through the process.
Step 1 – Visit their Website or Download their App
Please make sure to sign up using my link as this blog post took a long time to write.
While all the screenshots in this blog post are from the website, I use the app just as often and both are super convenient.
Step 2 – Create Your Account
Since this is your first time using the service, you want to start by creating an account.
This is a banking service and I have had two transactions glitch with WorldRemit. (I’ll explain what happened later.)
Both times, I called their convenient customer service number and the problem was remedied within about twenty minutes.
The sign-up process should only take you a minute.
As soon as you click submit, you’ll get a confirmation email.
They want to be sure you’re information is going to the correct email account.
Click the link in that email and now your account is created!.
Step 3 – Sign in to WorldRemit
Now that your account is all set up, just enter your username and password to log back in.
Step 4 – Select the Country You Want to Send Money To
I’m going to assume it’s the Philippines.
Step 5 – Choose How You Want Your Receiver to Get Their Money
You can send money to yourself using this method quite easily (just bring your passport to any pickup location.)
You can choose to send money directly to a Philippines bank account or the convenience of cash pickup.
Both have always arrived on the same day in my experience with the service.
The fee for cash pickup is currently $1 higher, but I find that the transactions are faster and let’s be honest, you want cash in your hand, not another trip to the ATM.
Sometimes guests remit money directly to our bank account and the process is almost exactly the same.
Option 1 – Cash Pickup
When you’re presented with these options, it might feel a little overwhelming.
I recommend the Metrobank options, as we have picked up money at many locations using this option.
You can still go to MLHullier and get your money, even if you chose Metrobank.
Unless you have a personal favorite option, this is my recommendation.
Option 2 – Bank Deposit
If you’re sending money to a bank account, such as paying for your stay here at Footprints you might find a Bank Deposit more convenient.
In this case, just choose the bank where you want to send the money.
In our case, that is BPI (Bank of the Philippine Islands.)
Once you have made your selections, you will see the transaction fees and exchange rate right in front of you.
Step 6 – Select Your Recipient
Each person you’ve sent money to in the past is saved, so you only have to do this once.
The most important information to get right is the person’s name and email address.
My mom once got one letter wrong in my wife’s name and it was a bit of a headache to get them to give her the money.
The phone number you enter will get a text from WorldRemit when the cash is ready for pickup (or waiting in their bank account.)
WorldRemit also sends a notification email, but a text to the phone usually gets noticed first.
If you’re sending money to a bank, you’ll need to include the bank account number. (If you chose cash pickup, this option won’t appear.)
Step 6 – Select Your Payment Method
You can send the money from a credit/debit card, a bank account or ApplePay (if you’re using the phone app.)
I always use debit card option as it’s fast. Using a bank can take up to a week and I just don’t have that kind of patience.
The advantage of moving money using your bank is that there is a higher limit and you may find that moving a large amount of money this way is cheaper than an international wire transfer (but you’ll have to check to be sure.)
Step 7 – Enter Your Payment Information
Enter in your credit card information and press submit.
Wait about 1-2 minutes and the transaction will process.
Sometimes, I have to call my bank to confirm the transaction and this takes a few minutes.
But it’s worth it to save me from hunting for a working ATM and paying far too many fees.
Once your transaction has completed, WorldRemit will take you to a notification page with your transaction number.
Your recipient only needs to know the transaction number and the amount to pick up their money (and of course bring an ID with a name that matches who you sent the money to.)
If you’ve sent to a bank account, the recipient doesn’t even need that.
WorldRemit will text and email this information to your recipient when the money is ready for pickup.
I usually take a screenshot and send it to the recipient as proof that the money is on its way.
What if Something Goes Wrong
I’ve had two incidents with WorldRemit in the years I’ve been using their service.
Both times the error was on my side of the fence.
Incident #1 – Transaction Timed Out
As I mentioned earlier, sometimes I have to call the bank to confirm the transaction.
The fraud department at my bank knows me very well by now.
I waited too long to call once and by the time I was off the phone, I pushed continue when I should have started over.
I had been automatically logged out of WorldRemit due to inactivity and the transaction froze.
It was stuck in “pending” for eternity.
I called on the phone and they fixed the problem right away.
Incident #2 – Wrong Bank Account
After confirming the account information I was sending the money to multiple times (including a screenshot before I hit send) the money never arrived.
When sending money to a new bank account, I like to do a small test transaction to be sure it all goes smoothly.
This time it did not.
Upon having the person I was sending money to upset that the money hadn’t arrived, we finally found the culprit.
They had given me their OLD bank account information.
It took a few days for them to figure out the mistake.
I called WorldRemit and the money was put into the correct account that day.
Picking Up Money from WorldRemit
In the Philippines, pawn shop has a different meaning.
Here, a pawn shop is a place where people send and pick up cash all over the country.
Once your recipient (or you) has the transaction information, they head to the nearest pawn shop and fill out a tiny slip of paper.
You need an ID that matches the transaction recipient name, the transaction number and the transaction amount.
With those three pieces of information assembled, they will hand you your cash and you’re back to your island adventure.
In case you missed it, here’s that link one last time -> https://siargaofootprints.com/remit