Filipino expats find themselves in different parts of the world, and in considerable numbers. The United States is home to the largest population of overseas Filipinos, which stands close to 4,000,000. Next in line is Saudi Arabia, which, incidentally is currently the largest employer of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), where their population exceeds 1,000,000. There are around 680,000 overseas Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates, around 660,000 in Canada, more than 350,000 in Malaysia, and over 230,000 in Australia. This, of course, is not the end of the list.
Among the significant number of OFWs, there is a notable percentage with existing loans in the Philippines, which include personal loans, education loans, auto loans, and even home loans. If you plan to make payments toward a loan in the Philippines when living overseas, it is important that you pay attention to various aspects. If you don’t know what to look for, there is a possibility that you will end up paying considerably more than you should.
Is Using Banks A Good Idea?
Using the services of a bank to make payments toward your loan in the Philippines might serve you well only if the bank remains the same on both ends. For example, if you have a loan with HSBC in the Philippines, you may use the services of HSBC in Australia to make your international transfer. In such a scenario, you may benefit through fee-free transfers and quick turnaround times. Other banks with a presence in the Philippines and other countries include Citibank, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, and ANZ.
The usual drawbacks in using banks for overseas money transfers include unfavorable exchange rates, steep fees, and unusually long processing times. Be wary of banks that advertise fee-free transfers, because they tend to charge hidden fees.
What About Online Money Transfer Companies?
There are several reputable online money transfer companies that give you easy means to make payments towards your loan in the Philippines. These companies tend to score over banks when it comes to exchange rates, fees, and turnaround times. What also helps is that several of these companies let you schedule transfers, so you don’t have to worry about making your payments each month. Some of the companies that offer this functionality include WorldFirst, OFX, HiFX, TorFX, and Currencies Direct.
Factors That Need Your Attention
While most prominent overseas money transfer companies serve as better alternatives to banks, going with the first one that comes your way is not a good idea. Consider these factors before making a decision.
- Hedging tools. Hedging tools such as forward contracts and market orders give you means to make the most of exchange rate fluctuations, so you may want to select a company that provides these options.
- Cost-effectiveness. Look beyond the exchange rate and determine how much you will need to pay as fees. Determine if hedging options come at an added cost.
- Payment methods. While just about every overseas money transfer company accepts payments via bank transfers, the acceptance of debit and credit cards is not very common yet.
- Sending limits. This may be a problem when making payments toward home loans, especially if your monthly payment is a significant amount. Fortunately, not all companies have the same limits.
- Customer service. Making payments toward your loan in the Philippines, will, in all likelihood, be an ongoing affair, so select a company that rates well on the customer service front. This is because you never know when you might need some assistance. Most companies offer support via online chat and email, and some provide over-the-phone support too.
Making a payment toward a loan in the Philippines from another country does not have to be a daunting task, provided you know which service provider to select. With scores of alternatives from which to choose, all you need to do to pick the right one is pay attention to your individual needs.