What’s the Best Way to Send Money to the Philippines?

United States dollars - send money Sending money from the United States to the Philippines can be a royal pain if you do it a lot. If you do it often, like when my wife used to send me money, it makes sense to send money as cheaply and easily as possible.

Money transfers are never free – the only way to move money for free is if a particular bank exists in both countries, and even that usually isn’t completely free.

Send Money – Cheap vs. Convenient

Most people will usually choose to use the most convenient method of sending or transferring money to the Philippines, even if it isn’t the cheapest.

When you factor in the cost of fuel to get you from point A to point B and the wear and tear on your car, in addition to the money transfer fee, a trip anywhere just to send money to the Philippines costs a bit more than you might realize. If my wife sends me $1500 by Western Union, Western Union charges an $18.00 money transfer fee. Then, on the Philippines end, I have to pay a “documentary fee” of 100 pesos to receive that money. Wouldn’t it be easier to cut out some of the steps?

Going to the Western Union office, whether it’s located inside a supermarket or it’s a regular office, isn’t convenient because it requires a special trip. It’s much more convenient to set up an account with them and draw it directly from your bank account. If it can be deposited directly to another bank account, it’s even more convenient.

What about Currency Conversion?

Money can be both sent and received as United States dollars in the Philippines. Sending it as pesos involves a currency conversion that may not be beneficial. It’s best to send dollars from the United States and receive dollars in the Philippines. Of course, if a bank is involved, the recipient needs a dollar account at a Philippine bank.


There are several companies that can send money from country to country, Western Union being the oldest of the bunch. My wife’s aunt sends money to BDO (Banco de Oro) through Xoom.

In the end, it’s up to you to investigate and find out which way is the cheapest and easiest way to send money to the Philippines (or anywhere, for that matter) and weigh all the factors involved. No one can tell you – you have to see it for yourself as you check out the various websites that support money transfers.

Update – November 20, 2013

I missed a message from a person named Angelico F. Evangelista on my old site. He mentioned Qwarta Padala and I looked it up. That service charges 200 pesos per transaction (or the USD equivalent) for every transaction. That’s pretty cheap considering the alternatives.

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8 Responses

  1. Ace says:

    I tried the rest, they sux, the best is Xoom.com

    • Rico Evangelista says:

      You might like to check out the website http://www.qwartapadala.com. It is an an online money transfer website so transferring money should be conveniently fast. In my case it is. Although I experienced a little delay on my first transaction. According to them the delay was caused by authentication procedures. Most likely you might experience it too on your first transaction. After that, all of my uncles’ succeeding transactions were fast. I receive the money from him (coming from Australia) in matter of minutes. One of the biggest reason why I didn’t make a big deal about the delay in our first transaction was because it only charges Php 200.00 per transaction regardless of the amount that my uncle sent. I received the money anyway and did not have any problem with the rest of our succeeding transactions and I really like the exchange rate that they provide. I changes everyday and I feel like it was almost real-time exchange rate. My uncle was also surprised by it. You can check it out you might find it helpful too.

  2. Randy C says:

    Writing a check to yourself is about as close to free as it gets. I have no additional charges, other than the cost of checks of which I have hundreds and in my case were free.

    Of course this takes most of a month to clear and be available, so it isn’t good for emergencies. On a regular schedule, it works great.

    • RT Cunningham says:

      Randy, I’m talking about other than our own paychecks – miscellaneous payments. I have direct deposit to PNB, so getting paid isn’t an issue.

  3. Jo says:

    Thank you, Mr. C, on this extremely helpful post.

    I came upon it while searching for ways to send money (from US) to my friends in the Philippines who are launching a food and medical supply donation drive from Manila in the aftermath of Yolanda. It is truly heartbreaking and painful and I am lifting up in my prayers everyone who has been affected by the typhoon. God bless the Philippines.

    Thank you again for this info on money transfer. I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog! What a great blog!

  4. gmill says:

    american couple. interested in contacting american expats in phillipines.

  5. Duckie says:

    Most OFW workers abroad use Qwarta Padala to transfer money to the Philippines. Rico is right! You only pay php 200 regardless of the amount you send.

    Thank you.

  6. Josh says:

    Hi,
    You should check the Search and compare website called http://ExchangeRateIQ.com
    It helps you compare all money transfer services and discover the highest exchange rates and lowest fees options for your . money transfer to Philippines

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