OFW Guide to Opening an Overseas OFBank Account
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How to Open an Overseas Filipino Bank Account (OFBank)

Updated on April 05, 2022 12:36 pm
send money to philippines

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) have been keeping the Philippine economy afloat through remittances since the 1980s.

Through the years, OFWs have supported millions of households. They have been an economic lifeline of the Philippines through their remittances, earning the nickname Bagong Bayani, which translates to modern-day heroes.

This article will cover quick facts about OFW remittances to the Philippines, the best way to send money to Philippines, and a complete guide on opening an Overseas Filipino Bank Account.

How to Transfer Money to Overseas Bank Account

The USD to PHP remittance corridor is a competitive marketplace for top money transfer companies. Online money transfer services provide cost-effective and efficient money transfer services for the millions of migrants wishing to send money back home in the form of higher exchange rates, lower transfer fees, and faster speed of fund transfer. 

Compare money transfer companies for sending money with the best USD to PHP exchange rates and lowest transfer fees if you want the best way to send money to the Philippines from the United States.

What is the Best Bank Account for OFW?

Banks such as Citibank and BDO offer specialized OFW bank accounts in the Philippines. The key to finding the best OFW bank account Philippines is comparing the bank offering based on the cost, speed, convenience, and security.

Although many OFWs earn a decent income, it doesn't always mean that they don't face difficulties accessing the financial system. This can include: 

  • Difficulty opening a bank account abroad
  • Lack of savings
  • High money transfer charges
  • Investment and financial scams
  • Lack of access to banking
  • Lack of investment opportunities suitable for them and their beneficiaries. 

In the digital age, banks are increasing the most preferred method of sending money, closely followed by money transfer services.

According to BSP, 51 percent of the total remittances were sent through banks, and 45.9 percent through money transfer services. The remaining 3.1 percent were sent through other sources. 

Many OFWs and their beneficiaries struggle to manage their finances without access to basic banking needs.

The Launch of OFBank

To help OFWs build better financial health, the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFBank) was launched by the Philippine government (the Department of Finance) and the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK), keeping the OFWs and their beneficiaries in mind. 

The financial institution aims to provide the migrant Filipino community with all the banking and financial requirements, including delivering quality and efficient foreign remittance services and OFW-specific financial products, ease of transactions, etc.

OFBank is a digital-only, first branchless Philippine government bank that allows customers to open accounts or complete banking transactions anytime and anywhere across the globe. 

All of the banking features, such as account opening or fund transfers, can be accessed online either through the OFBank Mobile Banking App or the OFBank official website for the delivery of faster and more convenient transactions anywhere in the world. There is no need to locate or visit a Filipino bank abroad. 

Collaboration With Other Philippine Banks

As a fully-owned subsidiary of LANDBANK, once you open an OFBank account, you can transfer funds to OFBank, and LANDBANK accounts with no cost, transfers money to other banks via InstaPay or PesoNet, pay your bills online to merchants, carry out cashless payments at Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals, withdraw money from local and international ATMs. 

LANDBANK branches also facilitate the following types of transactions:

  • Claiming of ATM/Debit Card 
  • Replacement of ATM/Debit Card
  • Deposit of Checks and Cash (for areas without LBP Cash Deposit Machine)
  • Withdrawals exceeding PHP 50,000.00 (USD 970)

Filipino banks that have an international presence, such as the Philippine National Bank overseas branches, BDO, LANDBANK, and Metrobank, are part of the collaborative effort of OFBank. OFWs can visit any branch to open an overseas bank account or inquire about other financial services and products offered.

Products and Services Offered by OFBank

  • Peso ATM savings
  • Time deposits
  • Checking accounts
  • Investment products (Unit Investment, Trust Funds, preferred shares of the OFBank)
  • Loans (Business or Home loans)
  • Payment services 
  • Remittance services  

Is It Safe to Open an OFBank Account Online?

Yes, it is safe to open an OFBank account online. OFBank's digital account opening facility is supported by DOBSAI (Digital Onboarding System with Artificial Intelligence) on supported Android and iPhone devices. 

DOBSAI facilitates real-time account opening by using image recognition technology that allows applicants to take a 'selfie' and upload it for the system to compare the uploaded photo with the photo on their identification (ID) card for verification.

The digital account opening platform allows OFWs and their beneficiaries to open an account securely and submit all the required documents online with great ease and convenience.

Opening an account using DOBSAI through the OFBank Mobile app is safe and secure. The app has advanced encryption and security features that protect clients' sensitive information.

Ensure that you use the actual site https://www.ofbank.com.ph/ and be aware of money-related scams in the Philippines.

Types of Accounts Available in OFBank's DOBSAI

OFWs can open three types of accounts in OFBank's DOBSAI.

  • OFBank Visa Debit Card for Overseas Filipinos and OFWs
  • OFBank Visa Direct Card for Beneficiaries
  • OFBank Regular Debit Card for Beneficiaries below 18 years old, but at least 7 years of age

These accounts are interest-bearing peso savings accounts. There is no minimum initial deposit, monthly average daily balance (ADB), and no account dormancy fee. But you will need to maintain a daily balance of PHP 500 (USD 10) to earn interest on your savings.

The OFBank Visa Debit Card cardholders, especially the OFWs and their beneficiaries, can receive real-time money transfers securely and quickly via Visa Direct, Visa's real-time payment solution through the 16-digit card number. 

The OFBank enables you to pay from abroad your beneficiaries' utility bills, loans products, SSS (Social Security System) fees, OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration), insurance premiums, education fees, credit cards for OFWs, and more. 

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Requirements for Opening an OFBank Account

Ensure you have the OFBank Mobile Banking App downloaded on your phone and a secure internet connection. 

  • A filled out application form available via www.ofbank.com.ph
  • 2 Valid Government Issued IDs (original and photocopy)

Any one of the following valid identification cards:

  • Passport
  • Unified Multi-Purpose ID (UMID)
  • PRC Professional Identification Card (PRC ID).
  • Driver's license
  • OFW ID
  • OWWA ID
  • Senior Citizen Card
  • SSS ID
  • Barangay Certification, or
  • other government-issued valid IDs.

You must submit these supporting documents or IDs online through the OFBank Mobile Banking App. During the account opening process, you will be required to take a picture of your photo-bearing document or ID. 

A Step-By-Step Guide to Opening Overseas Filipino Bank Account

As the first government-run digital-only in the country, opening an account with OFBank is easy. You simply need to download the OFBank Mobile Banking App via Google Play or Apple App store. And follow the instructions step-by-step for account opening and provide all the necessary information: 

  • Login using user ID and password
  • Choose the preferred description (OFW, OF, or beneficiary) 
  • Complete  your information in the Profile Details section 
  • Authenticate your mobile number and email address using the one-time PIN (OTP)
  • Fill out your personal, financial, and account purposes information 
  • Upload your ID 
  • Take a selfie
  • Review all the information you have provided and click "Confirm."

You will receive a confirmation email to verify once you have completed the account opening process with OFBank.

OFW Remittances to the Philippines

Despite the economic woes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the modern-day heroes continued to send money to the Philippines. 

In a statement, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said personal remittances from OFWs amounted to $34.884 billion in 2021,  accounting for 8.9 percent of the Philippines' 2021 gross domestic product (GDP).

The top five countries sending remittances to the Philippines are the United States, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and the United Kingdom in 2021.

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How many people send money to Philippines from USA? The Philippines received a bulk of its remittances from the US alone, accounting for 40.5 percent of the total remittances sent to the Philippines in 2021. 

Send Money to Philippines Online

Another option you have when looking to send money to the Philippines online is online remittance services. Services like Panda Remit, Wise, Xe, Remitly, Pangea, and Instarem allow you to transfer money online to the Philippines with low transfer rates, fast turnaround times, and great exchange rates. Compare PHP exchange rates online here. 

Final Takeaway

OFBank digital-only bank has been created to serve the evolving banking needs of migrant workers and Overseas Filipinos in this digital age. Current financial technology makes it much easier to access digital banking solutions and other essential financial services, such as conveniently and securely opening a bank account online from abroad.

OFBank, as a dedicated bank for OFWs and their beneficiaries, aims to continue working on providing safe, reliable, and secure digital banking services to kababayans abroad and their families in the Philippines. You want to be able to send money to Philippines easily and safely as an OFW, and overseas bank accounts as well as online remittance services are excellent options. 

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