Thanks to technology, we can do everything through our gadgets — shopping, ordering food, and even banking. The ease and convenience of opening bank accounts entirely through your mobile phone and being able to send funds online anytime is a huge advantage, especially in a pandemic era. Digital banks in the PH let you save money while earning huge interest rates, pay bills online, load your phone, get insurance, and more. The efficient service even makes sure you’ve got control of your account from account opening to blocking and closing.
If you’re interested to start your digital banking life, check out some of the best digital banks in the Philippines:
CIMB Bank Philippines
- Fast/Fast Plus accounts These accounts respectively have 0.50% and 0.75% interest rates paid out at the start of every month.
- UpSave accounts have 2.5% interest rate p.a. starting March 1, 2021.
- You can connect your GSave account to your CIMB account (more on that later).
Pros: It’s connected to GCash for easier transactions. CIMB has lots of promos like personal loans, insurance, and their current 4% interest rate until April 30, 2021 for accounts with P100k. They’re PDIC insured up to P500k.
Cons: CIMB does not issue bank statements, so keep that in mind if you need bank statements for loans or travel. You should also be aware that their interest rates seem to be going down and they’ve recently notified customers that ATM withdrawals will have charges.
Interest rate: Even if CIMB UpSave now only has a 2.5% interest rate per annum (p.a.) they’re still better than major banks in the country. So if you’ve got extra cash sleeping around, you might want to move it here to earn a little extra.
Card: If you’re eligible, you can get it delivered 7 days after you’ve requested it. It’s handy for withdrawing cash anytime, anywhere.
Cash-in options + Liquidity: Over-the-counter cash-in is available via 7-Eleven and Bayad Center. Cash-in online from other banks is possible via Pesonet and Instapay although depending on your bank, charges apply. CIMB has waived its PesoNet charges until Dec. 31, 2021.
Pros: The app lets you request and download bank statements and deposit checks. Every ING account is PDIC insured up to P500k.
Cons: It will take you from a few hours to days (sometimes weeks) to get your account verified. But let’s just chalk it up to ING being super careful who they open bank accounts for.
Interest rate: ING Save has an interest rate of 2.5% p.a, subject to change. They’ve also got an introductory promo that lets you have 4% p.a. for your first four months.
Card: Upon request, a free ING Visa debit card will be delivered to you. You can use it to withdraw funds from any local BancNet ATM or Visa ATM worldwide.
Cash-in options + Liquidity: You can transfer funds online through any bank but be wary of the transfer fee. (Tip: Try transferring from your bank>GrapPay>ING for a waived fee). ING InstaPay and PesoNet charges to other banks are waived until Dec. 31, 2021.
Pros: Easy account opening process and you get a debit card for free. You can get a bank statement from the app itself. KOMO is PDIC insured up to P500k for every depositor. Join the official Facebook group, Komounity for tips and tricks.
Cons: KOMO has faced a number of hiccups and issues such as floating transactions and ATMs not dispensing cash. These typically get resolved in 3-5 working days but a hassle nonetheless.
Interest rate: KOMO account holders enjoy a 3% interest charge credited every end of the month but starting April 1, 2021, that will go down to 2.5% p.a.
Card: Swift door-to-door delivery of their blue-green debit card. Account-holders can enjoy unlimited free withdrawals at EastWest ATMs and up to 4 free withdrawals per month for other BancNet ATMs.
Cash-in options + Liquidity: You can transfer online via InstaPay and PesoNet although certain charges may apply for different banks.
Pros: It’s PDIC insured up to P500k. It’s connected to CIMB Bank so funding your UpSave account is a breeze. You can open an account in one minute using one ID — no initial deposit or maintaining balance required.
Cons: It doesn’t have bank statements.
Interest rate: Account owners can enjoy a 2.6% interest rate p.a. on any amount they put in.
Card: There’s no card for this one although GCash itself has one (and you’ll have one for CIMB too).
Cash-in options + Liquidity: As long as you link your bank to GCash for cash-ins it’s going to be easy depositing money to GSave. However, to withdraw money from GSave and transfer it back to your bank — GSave>GCash>Bank — would require a minimal fee.
Pros: You can open an account through the app in minutes and choose from a variety of savings accounts each with its own benefits. If you’ve got a complaint and can’t reach customer support online, walk up to their branches.
Cons: There is a debit card fee of up to P350 per year but this can be waived by maintaining an average daily balance of P10k. There is also a minimum average daily balance to earn interest.
Interest rate: UnionBank gives its customers 0.10% interest rate p.a. subject to 20% tax.
Card: You can get one delivered in 5-7 banking days after your account is verified.
Cash-in options + Liquidity: Fund transfer and online cash-in are available to and from all major local banks. If you need your funds withdrawn, your debit card can be used in any ATM.
Pros: You can earn up to P30,000 by referring people to sign up with DiskarTech. Each successful referral earns you P30. Your money is insured by PDIC up to P500k.
Cons: There have been customer complaints about a glitch in the app that resulted in their accounts suddenly getting blocked. Although DiskarTech customer service is responsive, you still might want to keep that in mind.
Interest rate: DiskarTech account holders enjoy 3.25% interest rates p.a. which is significantly higher than most digital banks. It’s currently the highest one on this list that is not a promo.
Card: Even if DiskarTech doesn’t come with a card, it features cardless withdrawal through RCBC ATMs. All you have to do is follow the “Withdraw” instructions on the app and input the pin at the RCBC ATM. Magic.
Cash-in options + Liquidity: You can opt for online bank transfers but not all banks have RCBC or RCBC DiskarTech on their lists. For over-the-counter deposits, choose a partner merchant (7-Eleven, Bayad Center outlets, etc.) and tap ‘Deposit’ on the app which will walk you through a series of steps. You can do over-the-counter and cashless withdrawals.
Tonik Digital Bank
Singapore-based Tonik is one of the newest digital banks in the PH. They aim to “revolutionize the way money works in Southeast Asia” through the 100% digital platform set to launch in Q1 of 2021. Tonik’s goal is to tap the 70% unbanked Filipinos. If you want to be one of the first to try it out, head on to their website and sign up to get an email of the app link.
Pros: You can be sure your money is safe since Tonik is working closely with Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas and has their account holders PDIC insured up to P500k.
Cons: None from beta users at the moment. We’ll keep our eyes peeled.
Interest rate: Those lucky enough to be invited to try out Tonik report that the interest rate ranges from 2% to 6.25% p.a. depending on the savings account you’re using.
Card: According to an article by Sunstar, Tonik plans to offer cards as well as deposits, loans, current accounts, and payments.
App: The app is yet to be made available to the public.
Pros: Hassle-free account opening in terms of everything being available online. You get free withdrawals in any ATM branch in the Philippines and any Maybank ATM in Malaysia, Singapore, and Cambodia
Cons: Customers have complained about account applications being rejected multiple times.
Interest rate: Compared to other digital banks, iSave earns you a small 0.25% interest rate at an average daily balance of P20k.
Card: For a minimum deposit of P1,000, Maybank will send you your card within 5-7 banking days.
Cash-in options + Liquidity: You can cash-in via over-the-counter, interbank transfers (with respective fees), GCash bank transfer, or deposit in various outlets like 7-Eleven, Tambunting Pawnshop, etc.
If you’re interested in knowing more about digital banks in the PH and how Pinoys are using them, you can follow communities online. On Reddit, there’s r/phinvest and r/phmoneysaving and on Facebook, you can join a bunch of groups like this one here.