Please see Nov 2012 update below:
Which of these is the best for online money transfer to Philippines from U.S.?
Paypal, Xoom, Moneygram, or Western Union.
I’m now looking for another money transfer service that my U.S. employers can use to send me my salary as a virtual assistant and SEO writer. And it must be an online service, as my employers are busy. There are cheaper remittance alternatives, but my employers don’t have time to go to remittance outlets. They prefer paying online with their credit cards and debit cards.
Currently, they’re using Paypal. All they need is my email address linked to my Paypal account. But I now think I’m losing money because of the lower Paypal dollar-to-peso conversion rate. Also, I have to wait for 3 days before the money is credited to my account. And I have to pay 150 pesos to BPI for the transfer to my BPI account. They say other banks charge 200 pesos for the transfer.
It’s good my employers are the ones paying the Paypal transfer fee, which is 3.4 % of the remittance amount plus 15 pesos.
Now, let’s compare four services that offer online money transfer to Philippines from the U.S.
Money transfer fee: 3.4 % plus 15 pesos for credit card payments (paid by either the sender or recipient) plus 150 or 200 pesos for withdrawal into a local bank account
For remittance amount of $500, transfer fee is $17 plus 15 pesos, plus 150 pesos for withdrawal into a BPI account or 200 pesos if withdrawn into a BDO account.
For $850, fee is $28.9 plus 15 pesos, plus 150 pesos for withdrawal into a BPI account or 200 pesos into a BDO account.
Dollar-peso exchange rate:
On Dec 17, the Paypal exchange rate was 1 US$ = 42.6354 pesos
BDO exchange rate was 1 US$ = 43.50 pesos
Although the payment appears immediately on Paypal account, the actual money transfer takes 2 to 5 days or more. So far, the transfer to my BPI account takes 3 business days. Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards or debit cards can be used.
On Dec 17, the Xoom exchange rate was 1 US$ = 42.88 pesos
while the BDO exchange rate was 1 US$ = 43.50 pesos.
The minimum amount to send is $50. The service fee is $5.99 if paid thru bank account and $8.99 if paid thru credit or debit card. Fees start at $5.99.
For $500, transfer fee is $13.99 if paid thru credit card or debit card. For $850, the fee is $17.99. For $1,000, the fee is $18.99.
If payment is made via bank account, money transfer fee is $5.99.
On Dec 17, the Western Union exchange rate was 1 US dollar = 42.6494157 pesos
while the BDO exchange rate was US dollar = 43.50 pesos.
For a remittance amount of $500, transfer fee is $25. For $850, fee is $30. For $1,000, fee is $30. Sender can use Visa, MasterCard or Discover.
If bank account is used to send, money transfer takes 3 business days, but it’s cheaper — only $8 for a remittance amount of $500.
For remittance amount of $500, transfer fee is $28. For $850, fee is $55.
The system calculates only up to $899.99, can’t find why. Moneygram does not disclose its currency exchange rate before actual processing.
If bank account is used to send, remittance takes 3 business days and the money transfer fee is $14.99 for a remittance amount of $500.
|– Can send online||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|– Can receive in||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|– Can receive in||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|– Exchange rate||42.6354||42.88||42.65||not disclosed|
|for 1 US$||pesos||pesos||pesos||before processing|
|Dec 17, 2011|
|– Fee for $500||$17||$13.99||$25||$28|
|paid from credit||+15 pesos|
|or debit card|
|– Fee for $850||$28.9||$17.99||$30||$55|
|– Fee for $1000||$34||$18.99||$30||?|
|– Other fees||150 to||None||None||None|
From the above chart, it looks like XOOM is the best. I’ll check again and then ask my employers to pay through XOOM.
Disclaimer: If you’re also analyzing which service to use to make online money transfer to Philippines, please double-check my computations. I made careful research, but I might have missed something.
Update December 2012:
For the past several months, my US-based boss has been paying me every month in dollars via XOOM, and I’ve been receiving it real FAST — almost the same minute as remittance time. I get the email notifying me of the remittance, and the next minute, I get another email telling me the money is ready for pickup. Usually, I pick up the money at a BDO branch in US dollars and then change the dollars to peso at a nearby Czarina branch.