So you want to send money to the Philippines, what’s the best option to choose? Some of the most well known options have very high fees. For example the fees to send money using PayPal can be as high as 8%!
At Time Doctor we have a lot of customers that use our software for tracking time for their workers that are working in the Philippines. We have over 2,500 people working in the Philippines (mostly working from home) using our software. They need a way to get paid and so we created this article to help our customers find the lowest cost to transfer money.
What are hidden currency conversion fees?
Well it’s actually quite simple. There is a REAL currency exchange rate, which is the rate at which banks exchange money. Then there is the rate that you get when you transfer money. The difference is a fee that you are charged for the transfer. However, they won’t tell you about this fee. It’s hidden!
In the tables below we’ve created clarity about the hidden fees by doing our own calculations.
Hidden Fees can be VERY high
Want to exchange $1000 from Australia to the Philippines at the airport in Sydney, Australia? Whoops! You just paid Travelex $128 for the transfer (and they didn’t tell you about this “fee”).
Sending money via PayPal? You will be charged a hidden fee of 2.5%-4% depending on which method you use.
This PayPal fee calculator will help you determine those fees.
What transfer methods do we use at Time Doctor?
We have a remote team with people in 19 different countries around the world. The two transfer methods we use the most are:
- Wise, formerly TransferWise – is a new kind of financial company that you can use to transfer money internationally at a very low cost. Their system is based on local bank account transfers, which makes transfers abroad cheaper than what banks or other providers charge. They charge a small upfront fee between 0.5% and 2% for transactions, depending on the route. However, Wise, formerly Transferwise is up to 8x cheaper thank banks and their fees are transparent.
- Payoneer – very convenient for sending and receiving. They are also one of the few methods that works to receive money in almost every country and the receiver can get their money on a debit card and withdraw from an ATM. They also have an option for direct transfer to the receiver’s bank account. They also have a $50 bonus if you receive more than $100 through this method.
Here are some of the lower cost options you can choose from.
|Transfer Method||Stated fees to send $1000 USD||Hidden currency conversion cost||Total cost||Time for the transfer to arrive|
|Wise, formerly TransferWise (recommended partner)||$10||$0||$10||1-2 days|
|LBC Express (slow)||$5||$13||$18||3-5 days|
|PNB Web Remit (slow)||$4||$15||$19||3-5 days|
|Wells Fargo||$5||$16||$21||3-5 days|
|PNB Web Remit (fast)||$9.5||$15||$24.5||Minutes|
|XE Trade||$0||$26||$26||3-5 days|
|Remitly (slow)||$0||$26||$26||3-5 days|
|Xpress Money||$11||$16||$27||3-5 days|
|MoneyGram (slow)||$0||$28||$28||3-5 days|
|Western Union (slow)||$0||$28||$28||5-7 days|
|Lucky Money (slow)||$3||$26||$29||3-5 days|
|Transfast (slow)||$5||$24||$29||3-5 days|
|Xoom (slow)||$5||$29||$34||3-5 days|
|Western Union (fast)||$8||$28||$36||Minutes|
|Wire transfer||$25 – 40||$10 – 20||$35 – 60||3-5 days|
|PayPal||$0 – 40||$25 – 40||$30 – 80||3-5 days|
|Lucky Money (fast)||$36||$26||$62||Minutes|
|LBC Express (fast)||$50||$13||$63||Minutes|
Some notes for this and all the other tables:
- Stated fees for PayPal will depend on what method you use. If you are sending money to a friend or family member, there is no fee (only the hidden currency conversion fee). If you send as a business the fee is 4%. If you use mass pay the fee is 2%. For all of these options there is a hidden currency conversion fee which is somewhere between 2.5% and 3.5%. For sending from the US. If you send using MassPay the hidden currency conversion fee is 2.5% but if you send using another method it’s 3.5%.
- WorldRemit is offering their services only from the following states in the US:
Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
- The fees for wire transfers are estimates and vary from bank to bank. Depending on how you send the money, the exchange rate fee will be paid by your sending bank or the receiving bank. Most Philippine banks are reasonable when exchanging from USD to pesos and only charge a 1% hidden fee. However the fee will be higher for other currencies.
- Small World FS fees may increase on subsequent transfers. We were not able to get clear information if their transfer rates would stay the same for future transfers.
- Wells Fargo is one of the economical options to send money to the Philippines. They have a comparatively high exchange rate and fee than most of the other banks like; Bank of America, HSBC, etc.
- All of the hidden currency conversion costs are based on our calculations and may vary. My experience when checking these costs is that most companies calculate a fixed percentage that they add to the cost and that this percentage does not vary much. However it’s possible for it to vary greatly so you might want to check it yourself from time to time.
- The lowest cost option for Payoneer would be to use their transfer to bank option. If you transfer the money to Payoneer via credit card the costs will be higher. Also Payoneer generally does not accept businesses that have less than 10 employees. So to get business access to Payoneer you need to have a larger business with many employees. Or alternatively you can try and send money directly via their website using a credit card; but in this case the costs will be higher and they limit the sending amounts.
- Xoom has been reported to cancel any payments that are for the purpose of sending to employees.
- Adding funds for Abra is free if you do it by bank. It costs 1.5-2% if you add cash via teller.
|Table 2 – Sending £1000 from the UK to the Philippines|
|Transfer Method||Stated fees to send £1000 GBP||Hidden currency conversion cost||Total cost||Time for the transfer to arrive|
|Wise, formerly TransferWise (recommended partner)||£10||£0||£10||1-2 days|
|Western Union||£5||£9||£14||3-5 days|
|Xpress Money||£10||£5||£15||3-5 days|
|XE Trade||£0||£28||£28||3-5 days|
|Wire transfer||£15 – 25||£10 – 30||£25 – 55||3-5 days|
|Table 3 – Sending $1000 from Canada to the Philippines|
|Transfer Method||Stated fees to send $1000 CAD||Hidden currency conversion cost||Total cost||Time for the transfer to arrive|
|Wise, formerly TransferWise (recommended partner)||$12||$0||$12||1-2 days|
|Xpress Money||$8||$7||$15||3-5 days|
|Western Union||$20||$8||$28||3-5 days|
|XE Trade||$0||$31||$31||3-5 days|
|Wire transfer||$25-40||$20-30||$45-75||3-5 days|
|Table 4 – Sending €1000 from Western Europe (Euro currency countries such as Germany, France, Italy) to the Philippines|
|Transfer Method||Stated fees to send €1000 EUR||Hidden currency conversion cost||Total cost||Time for the transfer to arrive|
|Wise, formerly TransferWise (recommended partner)||€10||€0||€10||1-2 days|
|Western Union||€5||€11||€16||3-5 days|
|XE Trade||€0||€28||€28||3-5 days|
|Wire transfer||€20-35||€20-40||€40-75||3-5 days|
|Xpress Money||€28||€14||€42||3-5 days|
|Table 5 – Sending $1000 from Australia to the Philippines|
|Transfer Method||Stated fees to send $1000 AUD||Hidden currency conversion cost||Total cost||Time for the transfer to arrive|
|Wise, formerly TransferWise (recommended partner)||$10||$0||$10||1-2 days|
|Pinoy First||$7||$3||$10||3-5 days|
|Phil Express||$8||$3||$11||3-5 days|
|BM Express||$12||$10||$22||3-5 days|
|XE Trade||$0||$28||$28||3-5 days|
|Xpress Money||$10||$22||$32||3-5 days|
|Fast Remit||$10||$35||$45||3-5 days|
|Western Union||$28||$21||$49||3-5 days|
|Wire transfer||$25-35||$30-60||$55-95||3-5 days|
What if you want to send a fixed amount in pesos?
Sometimes you might want to fix the amount that you are sending in pesos. This means for example sending an exact amount of 20,000 pesos. The reason you might want to do this is if you are hiring someone in the Philippines you will get a more reasonable local rate if you pay in pesos. When you start to pay in dollars you might find that your worker will ask for more money just because they are seeing the dollar sign! When sending in pesos, local people tend to think about it more in local salaries.
This is more difficult to do and most services will not allow it. Here are some options that will allow this:
- Azimo (Uk and Western Europe)
- Transfast (US & Canada only)
- OrbitRemit (UK & Australia only)
What if you are sending to multiple people?
If you’re sending to multiple people some of these options are difficult to use or might not even apply at all. The problem is the time and effort that it takes to navigate the website and send each individual amount. Here are some options that are easier for sending multiple payments:
- PayPal – it’s expensive but if you use the MassPay option you can send easily to hundred people just by uploading a spreadsheet. The cost for MassPay is 2% plus a hidden fee of 2.5%, so the total cost is 4.5%. There is also an integration with PayPal and Time Doctor.
- Payoneer – these guys have an easy to use API where you can send to multiple people. We are also developing an integration with Payoneer and Time Doctor.
- Wise, formerly TransferWise – paying multiple people with Wise is easy with their batch payments tool. You simply upload a spreadsheet with payment details and you can pay hundreds of people all around the world in minutes. TimeDoctor have integrated with Wise and we have an article all about Wise (formerly TransferWise) here.
Let us know your comments about any of these transfer methods below!
Other articles that might interest you:
5 Ways to Send Money to Offshore Workers That Are Cheaper than PayPal
What’s the Cheapest Way to Send Money to India?
What is the Cheapest Way to Send Money to Indonesia?
Compare Hidden Exchange Fees When Sending Money to Bangladesh
Rob Rawson is a co-founder of Time Doctor which is software to improve work productivity and help keep track of what your team is working on, even when working remotely.