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The Best Way To Send Money To BDO Unibank From the USA

Byron Mühlberg, writer at Monito.com
Nov 22, 2022
Affiliate disclosure

Banco de Oro (BDO) Unibank is a popular Filipino bank that's headquartered in Manila. The bank offers international money transfers as one among many financial services. However, if you're interested in saving on transfers to the Philippines, BDO's exchange rates and fees — while better than many banks out there — remain on the expensive side.

Fortunately, by delving into the results over 10 thousand searches made using our comparison engine over the past six months, Remitly is by far the cheapest platform for sending money from the US to BDO in the Philippines.

Compare top money transfer providers:

So, just how expensive is BDO Unibank? And should you use them to send money from the US to a BDO account in the Philippines, or should you choose a low-cost money transfer provider to get the job done instead?

BDO Exchange Rates

Before we explore which options might be best for you, let's take a look at the fees and exchange rates that Banco de Oro (BDO) Unibank offers as a baseline for comparison:

In essence, there are two types of fees that will apply whenever you transfer money from the US to the Philippines with BDO. These are standard fees and commissions, and a hidden exchange rate margin.

BDO's exchange rate margins — the profit that the bank makes when charging its own exchange rate on currency transfers — are relatively low for sending from the US dollar to the Philippine peso, usually around 0.8% of the total transfer amount, a rate that's on par with lower-cost providers out there.

However, when this is combined with the fees and commissions that you'll pay when sending money from the US with BDO Unibank, the total fees become rather expensive in comparison with other providers, given that the total fixed fee increases the more that you send.

As you can see, the fees rise radically the more money you send. However, it's worth noting that the above fees have more of an impact on low-value transfers (especially transfers of less than USD 700) than they do on high-value transfers. In this way, while absolute fees increase the more you send, the fees as a percentage of your transfer actually decrease.

This is demonstrated further in the chart below, which stacks up the total costs of transferring money from the US into a BDO account in the Philippines:

Amount Transferred (USD)

$100

$500

$1,500

$5,000

20,000

Amount Received (PHP)

₱4,464.00

₱23,664.00

₱71,616.00

₱239,280.00

₱958,800.00

BDO Exchange Rate USD/PHP

48.000

48.000

48.000

48.000

48.000

Mid-Market Exchange Rate USD/PHP

48.423

48.423

48.423

48.423

48.423

Fees & Commission (USD)

$7.00

$7.00

$8.00

$15.00

$25.00

Total Cost (USD)

$7.81

$11.31

$21.03

$58.54

$199.45

Total Cost (%)

7.81%

2.26%

1.40%

1.17%

1.00%

Quoted: 05/10/2020 at 10:00:00 AM +02:00 GMT

Looking at the chart above, it may seem obvious that there are indeed hidden costs that make sending money with BDO an expensive choice, especially when it comes to smaller amounts of money. For this reason, we advise against using BDO Unibank as a transfer provider between the US and the Philippines, especially if you plan to send less than USD 700.

Fortunately, whether you're sending USD 100 or USD 10,000 to the Philippines from the US, there's a market of competitive low-cost currency exchange providers which often offer considerably cheaper rates than BDO Unibank.

Compare the best rates and save up to 95% in fees when transferring from the US to the Philippines:

Compare the best deals on money transfers to the Philippines:

Cheaper Bank Alternatives

If you're interested in escaping the fees charged by BDO on transfers from the United States, our analysis of some thirty thousand searches on our comparison engine over the past six months has revealed that currency exchange providers Remitly, WorldRemit, and Instarem offer the most competitive exchange rates and lowest fees on the market — often outpacing those offered by BDO by a considerable margin.

For example, if you sent USD 500 from the US to your BDO account in the Philippines, you'd receive PHP 23,664 if you used the bank's currency exchange service directly. However, if you were to use InstaReM, you'd receive PHP 24,003 ⁠— a saving of around 1.5% of the entire transfer amount.

However, the provider that's ultimately best for you will depend on whether you're looking for the cheapest provider on every transfer to BDO from the US, or whether you're looking to sign up with only one or two providers who are on average (although not necessarily always) cheaper than the rest.

BDO USD to PHP: These Alternatives Are the Cheapest on Average

If you're looking to save on average, take a look at our findings below, broken up by remittance size:

For Smaller Amounts (< USD 500)

When sending a smaller amount of money from the US to the Philippines, we'd recommend that you transfer either with Remitly. Our research revealed that Ria was the cheapest provider on some 97% of searches over the past six months.

For Medium Amounts (USD 1,000 - 2,000)

Similarly, for amounts of money sent under USD 2,000, Remitly retains its spot at the top, being the cheapest provider on 68% of the searches. Small World was cheapest about 22% of the time, while XE was cheapest only about 7% of the time.

As such, we recommend choosing Remitly if you'd like to save on average for this transfer range.

For Larger Amounts (USD 5,000 - 10,000)

If you're planning to send more than USD 5,000 to the Philippines, we recommend you choose XE Money Transfer to get the job done. According to our analysis, InstaReM ranked as the cheapest provider on around 40% of all searches made using our comparison engine over the past six months, followed by Small World, CurrencyFair, and Wise.

Looking To Save on Every Transfer?

If you're looking to cut down the costs on your homeward remittances from the US no matter what, then you're probably looking to get the best rates every time, rather than just the best rates on average.

If this sounds like you, we recommend that you make a point of checking our comparison engine every time you transfer money. That way, you can ensure that you both discover the cheapest provider in real-time and make considerable savings on your transfers from the US to BDO in the Philippines.

How Do These Alternatives Compare To BDO?

While BDO's fees and exchange rates from the US to the Philippines are indeed better than those offered by many banks, they nevertheless remain less competitive than those offered by many specialist services.

Take a look at the chart below to get a sense of how a USD 1,500 transfer from the US to the Philippines would stack up if you used BDO Unibank versus other selected currency exchange providers:

Provider

Time

Sent (USD)

Received (PHP)

Payment Option

Cost Overview

BDO Unibank

2-4 days

$1,500.00

₱71,616.00

Bank transfer, credit/debit card

Upon paying

See more

InstaReM

≈ 2 days

$1,500.00

₱72,012.00

Bank transfer

In advance

Transfer

MoneyGram

Same day

$1,500.00

₱71,951.00

Bank transfer, credit/debit card

In advance

Transfer

TransferWise

≈ 2 days

$1,500.00

₱71,933.00

Direct bank payment, bank transfer

In advance

Transfer

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