June 13, 2024

The Best Banks In The Philippines – Peso Lab


Which bank in the Philippines is considered the best?

You may be looking to open a savings account for yourself or for your kids. Whatever is the reason, the first thing that you’re surely going to look out for would be a bank that you can trust.

However, with so many institutions that are established in many parts of the country, it can be quite tricky guessing which one is a better choice. This is a difficult question too, and that’s because there is no one answer. There are so many factors to consider before coming up with a definitive list of the best banks to go with.

So instead of just determining the ultimate list of Philippine banks, it is way better to rank them according to different characteristics, products and services that they offer.

The best Philippine banks

According to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), over 3/4 of Filipinos do not have bank accounts. It is a sobering fact that the government aims to improve in the next couple of years, since banks are a gateway to inclusion in the country’s financial system.

Thus, we’ve collected data and came up with the best list of the following categories:

  • Most number of branches. BDO Unibank, with over 1,400 branches and 4,400 ATMs across the country
  • Based on asset: BDO Unibank Inc for universal bank, BPI Family Savings Bank for thrift bank
  • High-yield savings accounts: Tonik currently holds the highest interest, followed by ING and CIMB Bank on promotional interest.
  • Savings account for kids: Equicom’s Kiddie Builders Savings Account
  • Cheapest prepaid card: PSBank Prepaid Mastercard and PNB Prepaid Mastercard
  • Cheapest gift cards: Development Bank of the Philippines
  • Checking account: East West Basic Checking and UCPB CheckStarter for lowest account opening (individual), MetroChecking Extra with highest interest
  • Credit card. For zero annual fee credit card, PNB ZeLo Mastercard
  • Time deposit: City Savings Bank Fixed Rate Time Deposit.
  • UITF (unit investment trust fund): Development Bank of the Philippines for lowest account opening and lowest management fee, BPI and Security Bank for no holding period
  • PERA (Personal Equity and Retirement Account): Landbank PERA Money Market Fund for lowest management fee
  • High-yield LTNCD: Metrobank
  • Feeder fund: In terms of the least fees, Maybank Tiger Peso Money Market Feeder Fund charges an annual fee of 0.25% per annum.

Most number of branches

BDO has the most number of branches. It has over 1,400 locations nationwide, and its ATMs can be found in 4,400 areas. It is followed by the Philippine National Bank, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, Bank of the Philippine Islands, and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation.

Biggest banks on asset

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the biggest universal bank in terms of asset is BDO Unibank Inc. The company is followed by Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, Land Bank of the Philippines, Bank of the Philippine Islands, and Philippine National Bank.

See below the top 10 banks based on their asset. The data is updated as of December 2019. Amounts are in millions.

1 BDO UNIBANK INC 3,069,394.98
2 METROPOLITAN BANK & TCO 2,116,897.17
5 PHIL NATIONAL BANK 1,067,676.31
8 Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation 762,310.50
9 Development Bank of the Philippines 761,498.56
10 Union Bank of the Philippines 706,866.96

Per BSP latest report, the biggest thrift bank is the BPI Family Savings Bank. Philippine Savings Bank, Philippine Business Bank Inc., China Bank Savings Inc. and City Savings Bank Inc. complete the list of the top 5.

6 PNB SAVINGS BANK 59,871.27
10 UCPB SAVINGS BANK 20,977.08

Best banks for savings account

The best savings account is the one offered by Tonik, the newest bank to be launched digitally. The Group Stash offers an unprecedented interest rate of 4.50%. It is followed by ING Savings account and GSave by CIMB Philippines.

Best banks for savings account for kids

Equicom’s Kiddie Builders Savings Account is the best savings account for the kids, offering 1% interest rate per year on a deposit of at least ₱1,000. In addition, when the account reaches ₱15,000 the child can avail of medical and dental benefits. Other similar products with better interest rate is BPI Jumpstart Savings (1%) and PSBank Kiddie and Teen Savers Account (0.50%). These rates are actually higher than the prevailing interest given on deposit accounts, which is currently pegged at 0.25%.

One other important factor that you need to consider is the age requirement. Some of these bank products are only available for children of certain age. You may drop by the bank that you’re interested in or visit their website to get the latest list of requirements.

Best bank offer prepaid card

Prepaid cards has the convenience of a credit card without the hassle of opening and maintaining an account. They can be used for bills payment, cashless shopping, and as ATM card where funds can be withdrawn. Most importantly, unlike gift cards they can be reloaded multiple times until their expiry date.

The best banks that offer the cheapest prepaid cards, and which prepaid cards are free? The cost of getting PSBank Prepaid Mastercard and PNB Prepaid Mastercard is zero as it is waived when you load it up with at least ₱500 initial fund.

Best bank offering gift cards

Gift cards are plastic cards that you can use as payment mode when purchasing products and services. They either bear Visa, MasterCard, or BancNet logo that allows you to use them like cash in many business establishments that accept them. There is no need to open a bank account to purchase them. They’re great as a gift to a friend, family or colleague, as well as corporate giveaways, loyalty rewards program, thank-you gifts, etc.

For this category, the best bank for gift cards is Development Bank of the Philippines. You can buy them for only ₱40, and you are given four varieties: ₱500 or ₱1,000 or ₱2,000 or ₱5,000.

If you’re looking for flexibility in terms of the amount that you can load up your gift cards, then the ones sold by Bank of the Philippine Islands would be more suitable. For ₱200 when purchased at the branch or ₱150 when purchased online, you may load for as low as ₱300 up to the maximum amount of ₱10,000.

Best banks for checking accounts

So which banks offers the best checking accounts? If you’re looking for basic product with low starting capital, then you can actually start with East West Basic Checking and UCPB CheckStarter for individual checking accounts. You can actually open an account with an opening balance of ₱1,000. These two products also have the lowest maintaining balance of ₱1,000.

For business accounts, you may check BPI Business Checking, DBP Current Account, Land Bank Regular Current Account, BPI BizLink, Metrobank Commercial Checking, Maybank Classic Checking Account, PBCom Regular Checking, Robinsons Bank Regular Checking, Robinsons Bank Peso Checking, and PBCom Value Check. You may open any one of them for as low ₱10,000.

Now, you have to remember that some of these accounts don’t earn interest. See your bank’s rep for more information about non-interest bearing and interest-bearing checking accounts.

But if earning interest is your concern, then MetroChecking Extra (Personal – No ATM card) may be something that is worth looking into. With a balance of ₱15,000, your account earns 0.25% interest per annum before taxes.

Best credit card

Credit card fees can quickly pile up, so in this list we are looking at a credit card with zero fees. There are a several of them available in the market, and they’re easily to get.

A few actually wouldn’t require individuals to have specified annual income requirement, being a depositor and keeping a certain maintaining balance can make you eligible for one.

But for a plastic card with the least yearly required income to apply and one that comes with no fee for life, then it is PNB ZeLo Mastercard.

Best banks for time deposit

What is the best bank for time deposit? Well, it depends on many factors. If you’re only looking for the one with the highest interest rate, then PBCom time deposit products tops the list. It gives 3.875% interest on ₱1 million for a term of 12 months. Other options are BPI Family Savings Bank (3.75% for 1 million) and PSBank (3.75% for 50k with a term of 5 years)

For time deposits, you need to check the starting capital, maturity, fees, and penalties for early withdrawal. Banks should be able to provide you with these information before even opening an account. Another thing to take into account is that the interest rates are not going to be constant. Consider checking with the bank first, as this blog may not be as updated their information.

Best bank for UITF investment

Unit investment trust fund or UITF is an investment product that allows you to take part in the potential growth of the country’s largest companies through stocks or equities bondsmoney market, and other assets.

If you’re looking for a UITF with the lowest starting capital, then you can actually open Development Bank of the Philippines Unlad Kawani Money Market Fund for only ₱25. Next on the list would be Union Bank’s Peso Short Term Fixed Income Portfolio, which you can start for only ₱500.

How about banks with no holding period? Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and Security Bank are the top of the list. Their funds don’t have any holding period, and that means that you can avoid being charged for any exit fee for redeeming your investments too early.

How about the fund with the least management fee? Again, Development Bank of the Philippines Unlad Kawani Money Market Fund is the runaway winner for charging only 0.05% per annum.

Best banks for PERA

Personal Equity and Retirement Account or PERA is an account established by law to allow Pinoy to prepare for their future when they retire. As of the moment, only BPI and BDO offer them with Land Bank poised to launch their own PERA funds soon. And all of these products can be opened for as low ₱1,000.

Structured like UITF with additional tax benefits, they have the same fees as UITF. So the best bank without holding period? All PERA funds from Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) don’t have any, and therefore you don’t have to worry about any exit fee.

In terms of the lowest management fee, it is Landbank PERA Money Market Fund that charges 0.20% per annum.

Best bank for LTNCD

Long term negotiable certificate of deposit is a debt instrument issued by the banks and regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Any Pinoy can invest by purchasing them when they’re being made available to the market during the offer date, which usually span for weeks and announced via national broadsheets and online newspapers.

Similar to other debts such as bonds and retail treasury bonds, investors would hold on to the certificates for a period of time, generally around five years. They will receive interest every quarter, and upon maturity they get their capital back in full.

Since the last quarter of 2019, the bank that offered the highest interest of 5.38% is Metrobank on its LTNCDs offered between September 16, 2019 to September 28, 2019.

Best bank for feeder funds

Feeder funds in the Philippines are like UITFs or mutual funds. Unlike the latter two however, they are not invested directly in securities like stocks or bonds. Instead, they are invested in another UITF, mutual funds or exchange traded fund. And in the country, most of them have target funds in other countries or regions. Thus, they can be a good way for investors to get exposed to foreign securities.

So far, the Maybank Tiger Peso Money Market Feeder Fund charges the least fee at 0.25% per year.

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