Guide to Philippine best checking accounts

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Are you looking in the market for the best checking accounts? This article compares what universal banks in the country are offering in terms of low opening balance, low maintaining balance, and high interest rates.

What is a checking account?

Checking accounts in the Philippines are offered by banks to every Pinoy as way to easily manage their finances. They are more than a way for easy, secure safekeeping of money. They’re convenient and accepted almost like cash as a form of payment for bills, loans, and mortgages.

Some checking accounts allow unlimited deposits and withdrawals, which are transactions that have limits in other deposit such as savings account. They are also almost always the preferred method of payment when acquiring huge purchases and getting a loan for a house or vehicle.

Advantages of checking account

What are the benefits of a checking account?

  • Checks are easier to carry around than cash.
  • They’re utilized as proof of payment for bills, loans, and mortgages. Pag-ibig applications usually would require this.
  • Having a checking account offers the convenience of being able to receive or spend money.
  • Half a million pesos is insured by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Company. (PDIC).
  • Maintaining a checking account can help you establish a good credit history.
  • Some accounts would give you free monthly statements. It’s a good way to keep a record, budget, and understand your spending habits.

Disadvantages

There are also many disadvantages that come with them.

For instance, it isn’t easy to apply for one. Banks require that you have a prior clean credit history and a savings account in good standing for the past six months. So it pays to do a bit of research by dropping by the bank or visiting their website for the latest account opening requirements.

Secondly, there are many fees such as ordering a new checkbook, falling below the maintaining balance, closing fee, dormancy fee, returned checks, bank statement reprinting, stop payment order (SPO), and others.

Lastly, your money may have low to no interest gained depending on the account that you’ve opened.

How to open a Philippine checking account

  1. Check the bank that you’re interested in. You may visit their website or drop by their branch to inquire about the basic steps, requirements, and documents that you need to prepare.
  2. Some of the banks would actually require that you have already established a good credit score and a deposit account with them that’s active for the past 6 months.
  3. Prepare the valid IDs and documents that are required. Check here for a list of identification cards.
  4. Set aside the necessary amount of money required as starting capital.
  5. Visit the branch and open the account.
  6. You’d likely be asked to come back to get your ATM cards and other bank documents.

Top Philippine checking accounts

Below is a summary of the discussion that follows.

Checking accountBanks
Lowest opening balance (individual)East West,UCPB
Lowest opening balance (business)BPI, DBP, Land Bank, Metrobank, Maybank, PBCom, Robinsons Bank
Lowest maintaining balance (individual)East West, UCPB
Lowest maintaining balance (business)BPI, DBP, Land Bank, Metrobank, Maybank, PBCom, Robinsons Bank
highest yieldMetrobank, BPI

Checking account: lowest opening balance

Individual accounts

The table below shows low starting capital for individual checking account. The checking accounts with the lowest opening balance in the Philippines are East West Basic Checking Account and the UCPB CheckStarter. You can open these accounts for only ₱1,000.

In the table, the bank products with asterisk (*) mean that there is no indication whether these products are intended for business or individual accounts. You may also click on the link that’s going to lead you to the website with the information.

BankChecking accountOpenMaintaining
East WestBasic Checking1,000.00 1,000.00
UCPBCheckStarter1,000.00 1,000.00
Bank of CommerceChecking Account5,000.00
BDOPeso Checking5,000.00 5,000.00
ChinabankChinaCheck Plus5,000.00 5,000.00
DBPCurrent Account5,000.00 5,000.00
East WestRegular Checking5,000.00 20,000.00
Land BankRegular Current Account5,000.00 5,000.00
PBComRegular Checking5,000.00 5,000.00
PNBBudget Checking5,000.00 5,000.00
Robinsons BankRegular Checking*5,000.00 5,000.00
Robinsons BankPeso Checking5,000.00 5,000.00
Security BankEasy*5,000.00 5,000.00
Security BankAll Access*5,000.00 25,000.00
BPIRegular Checking10,000.00 10,000.00
BPIBizLink10,000.00 10,000.00
Land BankPESO Easy10,000.00 10,000.00
MaybankClassic Checking Account10,000.00 10,000.00
MetrobankRegular Checking10,000.00 10,000.00
PBComValue Check10,000.00 10,000.00
PNBRegular Checking10,000.00 10,000.00
RCBCBasic Checking*10,000.00 10,000.00
UnionbankRegular Checking Account*10,000.00 10,000.00
BDOSmart Checking (Statement)15,000.00 15,000.00
ChinatrustPeso Checking15,000.00
MetrobankMetroChecking Extra15,000.00 15,000.00
PBComIntegrAll15,000.00 50,000.00
Bank of CommerceComplete Checking Account25,000.00
BDOSmart Checking (Passbook)25,000.00 25,000.00
BPIMaxi One25,000.00 25,000.00
MetrobankAccountOne Regular25,000.00 25,000.00
PNBPriority Checking25,000.00 25,000.00
RCBCBasic (interest-bearing)*25,000.00 25,000.00
RCBCSuper Value Checking*25,000.00 25,000.00
RCBCDragon Peso*25,000.00 25,000.00
RCBCeWoman Checking*35,000.00 35,000.00
UnionbankPower Checking Account*100,000.00 100,000.00
UnionbankPremium Deposit Account*500,000.00 500,000.00

Business accounts

For business or corporate accounts, there are many products that have the lowest opening balance that starts at ₱10,000 including the ones offered from BPI, DBP, Land Bank, Metrobank, Maybank, PBCom, and Robinsons Bank.

BankHyperlinkOpenMaintaining
BPIBusiness Checking10,000.0010,000.00
DBPCurrent Account10,000.0010,000.00
Land BankRegular Current Account10,000.0010,000.00
BPIBizLink10,000.0010,000.00
MetrobankCommercial Checking10,000.0010,000.00
MaybankClassic Checking Account10,000.0010,000.00
PBComRegular Checking10,000.0010,000.00
Robinsons BankRegular Checking10,000.0010,000.00
Robinsons BankPeso Checking10,000.0010,000.00
PBComValue Check 15,000.0015,000.00
East WestRegular Checking20,000.0050,000.00
Land Bank of the PhilippinesPESO Easy20,000.0020,000.00
UCPBChecking Account 20,000.0020,000.00
BDOSmart Checking (Statement)25,000.0025,000.00
ChinatrustPeso Checking25,000.00
PBComIntegrAll25,000.0025,000.00
UCPBMulti-One40,000.0040,000.00
BDOSmart Checking (Passbook)50,000.0050,000.00
BPIMaxi One (statement)50,000.0050,000.00
MetrobankAccountOne Commercial50,000.0050,000.00
BPIMaxi One (passbook)500,000.00500,000.00
AUBPreferred Peso Checking10,000.00

Checking account: lowest maintaining balance

Another factor to consider when opening a new account is the maintaining balance, and that’s because most banks would charge extra fee when your money falls below a certain level. Some of these fees can have huge impact on your savings because they’re taken from your account each month.

Individual accounts

For individual accounts, East West and UCPB still lead the pack with the lowest maintaining balance of only ₱1,000.

BankHyperlinkOpenMaintaining
East WestBasic Checking1,000.001,000.00
UCPBCheckStarter1,000.001,000.00
BDOPeso Checking5,000.005,000.00
ChinabankChinaCheck Plus5,000.005,000.00
DBPCurrent Account5,000.005,000.00
Land BankRegular Current Account5,000.005,000.00
PBComRegular Checking5,000.005,000.00
PNBBudget Checking5,000.005,000.00
Robinsons BankRegular Checking5,000.005,000.00
Robinsons BankPeso Checking5,000.005,000.00
Security BankEasy5,000.005,000.00
AUBPreferred Peso Checking10,000.00
BPIBizLink10,000.0010,000.00
MaybankClassic Checking Account10,000.0010,000.00
BPIRegular Checking10,000.0010,000.00
Land BankPESO Easy10,000.0010,000.00
MetrobankRegular Checking10,000.0010,000.00
PBComValue Check 10,000.0010,000.00
PNBRegular Checking10,000.0010,000.00
RCBCBasic Checking10,000.0010,000.00
UnionbankRegular Checking Account10,000.0010,000.00
BDOSmart Checking (Statement)15,000.0015,000.00
MetrobankMetroChecking Extra15,000.0015,000.00
East WestRegular Checking5,000.0020,000.00
Security BankAll Access5,000.0025,000.00
BDOSmart Checking (Passbook)25,000.0025,000.00
BPIMaxi One25,000.0025,000.00
MetrobankAccountOne Regular25,000.0025,000.00
PNBPriority Checking25,000.0025,000.00
RCBCBasic (interest-bearing)25,000.0025,000.00
RCBCSuper Value Checking25,000.0025,000.00
RCBCDragon Peso25,000.0025,000.00
RCBCeWoman Checking35,000.0035,000.00
PBComIntegrAll15,000.0050,000.00
UnionbankPower Checking Account 100,000.00100,000.00
UnionbankPremium Deposit Account 500,000.00500,000.00
Bank of CommerceChecking Account 5,000.00
ChinatrustPeso Checking15,000.00
Bank of CommerceComplete Checking Account25,000.00

Business accounts

For business checking accounts with lowest maintaining balance, the same banks are on top of the list. BPI, DBP, Land Bank, Metrobank, Maybank, PBCom, and Robinsons Bank all require at least ₱10,000 to remain on the account to avoid any charges, if there are any.

BankHyperlinkOpenMaintaining
BPIBusiness Checking10,000.0010,000.00
DBPCurrent Account10,000.0010,000.00
Land BankRegular Current Account10,000.0010,000.00
BPIBizLink10,000.0010,000.00
MetrobankCommercial Checking10,000.0010,000.00
MaybankClassic Checking Account10,000.0010,000.00
PBComRegular Checking10,000.0010,000.00
Robinsons BankRegular Checking10,000.0010,000.00
Robinsons BankPeso Checking10,000.0010,000.00
PBComValue Check 15,000.0015,000.00
East WestRegular Checking20,000.0050,000.00
Land Bank of the PhilippinesPESO Easy20,000.0020,000.00
UCPBChecking Account 20,000.0020,000.00
BDOSmart Checking (Statement)25,000.0025,000.00
PBComIntegrAll25,000.0025,000.00
UCPBMulti-One40,000.0040,000.00
BDOSmart Checking (Passbook)50,000.0050,000.00
BPIMaxi One (statement)50,000.0050,000.00
MetrobankAccountOne Commercial50,000.0050,000.00
BPIMaxi One (passbook)500,000.00500,000.00
AUBPreferred Peso Checking10,000.00
Chinatrust Peso Checking 25,000

Checking account with the best interest

The last comparison is going to be on checking accounts with the best interest. What I’ve noticed is that those that have low starting and maintaining balance generally are non-interest bearing. Some accounts offered tiered interest. The higher the balance is on the account, the higher the interest that is earned.

The table below combines both individual and business accounts. Metrobank and BPI are the leading banks offering 0.25% interest every year for checking accounts between ₱15,000 and ₱50,000.

BankChecking accountBalance to earn interestInterest
MetrobankMetroChecking Extra (Personal – No ATM card)15,000.000.250%
BPIMaxi One25,000.000.250%
BPIMaxi One (statement)25,000.000.250%
BPIMaxi One (passbook)25,000.000.250%
MetrobankAccountOne Regular50,000.000.250%
MetrobankAccountOne Commercial50,000.000.250%
RCBCBasic (interest-bearing)25,000.000.150%
RCBCDragon Peso50,000.000.150%
RCBCSuper Value Checking100,000.000.150%
ChinabankChinaCheck Plus5,000.000.125%
East WestRegular Checking20,000.000.125%
ChinatrustPeso Checking50,000.000.125%
East WestRegular Checking50,000.000.125%
ChinatrustPeso Checking100,000.000.125%
AUBPreferred Peso Checking500,000.000.125%
DBPCurrent Account10,000.000.100%
Land BankPESO Easy10,000.000.100%
Land Bank of the PhilippinesPESO Easy20,000.000.100%
DBPCurrent Account25,000.000.100%
PBComValue Check25,000.000.100%
PNBPriority Checking25,000.000.100%
PBComIntegrAll50,000.000.100%
PBComValue Check50,000.000.100%
PBComIntegrAll50,000.000.100%
Security BankEasy100,000.000.100%
Security BankAll Access100,000.000.100%

You may see that on the table, there are products that have unspecified interest rates.

How much can you earn when opening a checking account?

So you might wonder how your money would grow over time when you put it in a checking account? Here is a table that estimates the earnings through varying interests on a one-time deposit of ₱1 million in 10 years. The interests, as stated in the table below, are based on the previous data which ranges from from 0.10% to 0.25%.

The values that you see here already include the 20% tax on the interest.

Year0.10%0.125%0.15%0.25%
11,000,8001,001,0001,001,2001,002,000
21,001,6011,002,0011,002,4011,004,004
31,002,4021,003,0031,003,6041,006,012
41,003,2041,004,0061,004,8091,008,024
51,004,0061,005,0101,006,0141,010,040
61,004,8101,006,0151,007,2221,012,060
71,005,6131,007,0211,008,4301,014,084
81,006,4181,008,0281,009,6401,016,112
91,007,2231,009,0361,010,8521,018,145
101,008,0291,010,0451,012,0651,020,181

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