I read a few questions about exchange rates, but my situation might be a little bit different, as I think I have more options to exchange currency.

I have bank accounts in UK, Spain and The Philippines. I'm going to spend 2 weeks in The Philippines, and because I know the use of credit/debit cards is not that common I would like to have Filipino pesos either in cash or in my Filipino account.

The best option so far seems to be MoneyGram as their exchange rate is higher than what I found in different banks. But I'm not sure if a local exchange office in Philippines would be better (or any other option that I might not know), I'm talking about 2000-3000£ (I prefer not to travel with that amount in cash..).

EDIT: I did some research based on @HaLaBi's comment about travellers cheques and I found this post in LonelyPlanet Thorn Tree. I also found this answer in Yahoo Answers, so I think I had to discard that option.

  • From personal experience in Indonesia MoneyGram had a better rate than the local exchangers. I assume the same in the Philippines. Any way have you considered Traveler's cheques? Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 15:53
  • 3
    It is an old method of taking money while travelling. it is a cheque that can be cashed at most banks in the destination country after showing valid identification. It is less common now anyway. I think transferring the money to yourself by MoneyGram is the best choice. MoneyGram is available all over Philippines. Do as I do and split the amount and cash it when needed. Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 15:59
  • 1
    Why not follow the usual advice, and just take out cash from an ATM when you're there? (Likely at the airport where there'll be one). If you need advice on the best broker/firm for low spread international transfers, I suggest you try the Money StackExchange site instead
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 16:30
  • 1
    @Gagravarr I don't like the ATM option because of the fees. I know some exchange offices in UK that if you change more than 700£ there are no fees and you get a high rate.. I don't know if that is common in every country or just in UK/Europe.
    – SERPRO
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 9:43
  • 2
    @Gagravarr: Maybe for some countries there are plenty of cards without fees, but for me it hasn't been easy to find one. Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 11:37

2 Answers 2


For that amount of money the best solution is almost always going to be to do a wire transfer from your UK bank (or possibly your Spanish bank) to your Philippines bank. There will frequently be a charge on each end of the transfer, but it's normally negated by the fact that you'll get a good exchange rate for the transfer - normally far better than you'll get elsewhere.

The next best option is most likely to use an ATM card to withdraw the cash in the Philippines. Although there is a fee, it's normally a flat fee per withdrawal, and the exchange rates are normally very good. Making a small number of large withdrawals will probably be the best value for money - even if you then just walk into your bank there and deposit the money in your local account. If you are going to do this, make sure you tell the bank your ATM card is from first as they may see the traffic as suspicious and temporarily suspend your card.

MoneyGram is basically just a wire transfer, but done via a third party. If their rates are better than your bank (both in terms of exchange rates and fees) then they are definitely a good option - but personally I'd avoid them unless they were giving noticeably better rates than a bank. There are countless other companies who will do similar wire transfers, but again I'd avoid them unless there's a compelling reasons.

Another option to consider is PayPal. I haven't checked their rates, but I know people who have transfered money between accounts using their "International Money Transfer" service. As far as I'm aware you'll need to funnel it through two PayPal accounts (one from the UK, one from the Philippines).


there are some money exchange areas in the malls (in the Philippines) which also give a good rate. this would eliminate processing fees/inter-bank fees should there be any. however, i'd suggest to go for the safer option: not to carry a huge amount of cash in your pocket. less risk. :) SM Malls have their own Foreign Exchange inside the department store.

Another money exchange is also Tivoli which provide a better rate to some banks. Tivoli is located in Trinoma, beside BPI Bank.

BPI Banks and BDO Banks also have better rates. You can check their website at www.bpiexpressonline.com and www.bdo.com.ph respectively. These banks are very accessible and practically everywhere.

BDO Banks are almost in every existing SM Malls.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .