Should You Send Money to the Philippines Through Your Bank?

Using your main street bank account to send money to your friends and family in the Philippines might seem convenient, but do money transfer companies provide a better service? Our helpful guide compares the two, breaking down the financial jargon and investigating the costs involved. Read on to discover the best option for your US to Philippines remittance.


The Philippines is one of the most popular remittance destinations from the United States, meaning there are a myriad of options out there. Our useful guide looks at the difference between using banks and money transfer companies to send money and aims to give our readers a better understanding of the factors and costs of sending cash to the Pearl of the Orient.

The Cost Sending Money to the Philippines Through Banks vs. Money Transfer Providers

Transferring money from the USA to the Philippines is not without costs, and before you make your transfer there are two key costs to look at: the exchange rate margin and any associated transfer fees.

When banks transfer currency between each other they use something called the interbank rate, which fluctuates regularly down to changes in the market. The interbank rate, also known as the mid-market rate, is reserved for big banking corporations, but the difference in percentage between this rate and the rate consumer banks or money transfer companies offer the currency to consumers is known as the exchange rate margin. With popular currency pairings such as the US Dollar to the Filipino Peso it is typical for the exchange rate margin to be less than 5% above the interbank rate. At the time of writing (Sep 23, 2022) WorldRemit has an exchange rate margin of 3.44%.

Banks are often less transparent about their exchange rate margins, making their currency convertors only available to account holders. However, at the time of writing Bank of America had an exchange rate margin of 7.10% above the interbank rate and Wells Fargo a whopping 10.08%.

This means that if you were to send USD 1,000 to the Philippines, with WorldRemit your family member would receive PHP 56,677 and with Wells Fargo they would receive just PHP 53,259.48.

Banks and money transfer companies also charge a transaction fee for initiating the remittance. The table below highlights the charges that each provider charges for sending money from the United States to the Philippines via bank transfer.

Chase BankThere is a USD 5 fee or no fee if sending over USD 5,000.1-2 days
Bank of AmericaAccording to their website there are no fees for international wire transfers (although documents elsewhere state USD 35)1-2 days
Wells FargoFees are disclosed at the time of the transaction but range from USD 35-40.1-2 days
U.S Bank CorpUSD 50 for personal account holders. USD 70 for business account holders.1-3 days
CitiGroupThese range from USD 0-35 depending on your account type. View our Citigroup guide for a breakdown.1-2 days
WorldRemitRange from USD 1.99-3.99 depending on the pick-up method and paying-in bank.Instant

As you can see it is common for banks to charge up to USD 50 in fees for processing a remittance, while the same transaction with WorldRemit has a maximum fee of USD 3.9

Sending Money to the Philippines through Banks Pros and Cons


In person: Banks offer an in-person service which may be suitable for those without internet access or people looking for a cashier to talk them through making their transfer.
Fast: Most remittances between the United States and the Philippines are received within two business days.


High margins: With exchange rate margins that exceed 10% there is a high price to pay when using a bank to carry out your remittance.
High transfer fees: With banks charging up to USD 50 to transfer your US Dollars into Philippine Pesos, the cost of your transfer can soon add up.
Lack of pay-out options: With banks you only have the option of having your recipient receive their remittance via bank transfer, whilst money transfer companies offer differing options from mobile airtime to cash pick-ups.

Sending Money to the Philippines through MoneyTransfer Providers Pros and Cons


Low margins: With an exchange rate margin of 3.44% on the United States to Philippines route, money transfer companies offer far better exchange rates than banks.
Low transfer fees: The highest fee you’ll pay with WorldRemit on a USD 1,000 USD/PHP transfer is USD 3.99. This is ten times less than the fees charged by US Bank Corp.
Fast: Most remittances sent from the US to the Philippines arrive instantly.
Pay-out options: WorldRemit gives users the option of choosing whether to send their remittance via bank transfer, cash pick-up, mobile money, or airtime top-up.


Limits on large transfers: WorldRemit imposes a maximum sending amount of USD 10,000 per transfer.
No live chat option: WorldRemit does not offer a live chat channel for customer services; instead, users can use an online form, email, or phone.
The Cut-Off Times When Sending Money to the Philippines Through Banks vs. Money Transfer Providers

Sometimes time is of the essence when sending remittances and unfortunately banks, unlike money transfer companies, aren’t open 24 hours a day. Wire transfers can only be processed during bank opening hours and usually take up to two business days to arrive.

It’s important to note that banks have daily cut-off periods and any remittances received after this time will be processed the next day. Banks also close for the weekend, and therefore a remittance sent after the cut-off period on Friday afternoon will be processed the following Monday morning, meaning your transfer will arrive with your recipient on Wednesday. Any bank holidays taking place in the Philippines, or the United States can also affect the arrival time of your remittance.

The following table displays the cut-off time for the five main banks in America and WorldRemit.

ProviderCut Off TimeDelivery Time
Chase Bank16.00 (EST)1-2 business days
Bank of America17.00 (EST)1-2 business days
Wells Fargo17.00 (EST)1-2 business days
US Bank Corp16.00 (EST)1-3 business days
CitiGroup17.15 (EST)1-2 business days
WorldRemit24 HoursImmediate

Should You Send Through Your Bank or an Alternative Provider?

With excessive exchange rate margins, high transfer fees, and slower arrival times it's difficult to see any positive benefits of using a bank rather than a money transfer company to carry out your remittance to the Philippines. If you’re looking to send payment quickly and ensure that your recipient receives as much of it as possible then it's clear that money transfer companies offer the current best rate.

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Mehdi Punjwani
Mehdi Punjwani
Mehdi is a writer and editor with over five years of experience in personal finance, writing for brands including MoneySuperMarket, Equifax and The AA. He graduated from Brunel University with a BA and MA, and likes to spend his free time hiking, travelling, and reading.