What’s the Cheapest Way to Send Money to the Philippines?

Time Doctor - What's the Cheapest Way to Send Money to the Philippines

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.

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:

  • 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.
  • Transferwise – very low cost and also a convenient method for transfers to most countries.

Here are some of the lower cost options you can choose from.

Table 1 – Sending $1000 from the US to the Philippines
Transfer Method Stated fees to send $1000 USD Hidden currency conversion cost Total cost Time for the transfer to arrive
Ria Money Transfer (slow) $3 $3 $6 3-5 days
OFX (previously USForex)* $0 $7.5 $7.5 1-2 days
Ria Money Transfer (fast) $7 $3 $10 Minutes
TransferWise $10 $0 $10 3-5 days
Abra* $0 $10 $10 3-5 days
Sharemoney $3 $11 $14 Minutes
LBC Home (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
WorldRemit $14 $15 $29 3-5 days
Remitly (fast) $4 $26 $30 Minutes
Payoneer $3 $28 $31 3-5 days
Xoom (slow) $5 $29 $34 3-5 days
Western Union (fast) $8 $28 $36 Minutes
MoneyGram (fast) $8 $28 $36 Minutes
Ko-Kard $8 $29 $37 3-5 days
Xoom (fast) $8 $29 $37 Minutes
Wire transfer $25 – 40 $10 – 20 $35 – 60 3-5 days
PayPal $0 – 40 $25 – 40 $30 – 80 3-5 days
Transfast (fast) $30 $24 $54 Minutes
Lucky Money (fast) $36 $26 $62 Minutes
LBC Home (fast) $50 $13 $63 Minutes
Skrill $14 $50 $64 3-5 days

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%.
  • In the case of PayPal and some other transfer methods you could argue that the fees are not “hidden”. PayPal actually does tell you on this page all of the fees that they charge, but this page is so incredibly complicated, with such a long list of fees that I would argue that this fee is effectively a “Hidden” fee.
  • 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.
  • OFX (previously OzForex) is a good option for sending larger amounts of money and their exchange rate fee goes down for larger amounts.
  • Minimum transfer of $500/€500 for OFX/CanadianForex/UKForex.
  • 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.
  • BCRemit (UK to Philippines only) also offers cash pick up.
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
BCRemit £5 £0 £5 Minutes
UKForex £0 £7.5 £7.5 1-2 days
Small World FS £5 £3 £8 3-5 days
TransferWise £10 £0 £10 3-5 days
Azimo £3 £9 £12 3-5 days
MoneyGram £0 £13 £13 3-5 days
Western Union £5 £9 £14 3-5 days
Xpress Money £10 £5 £15 3-5 days
OrbitRemit £5 £11 £16 3-5 days
Exchange4free £0 £20 £20 3-5 days
WorldRemit £7 £17 £24 3-5 days
Ko-Kard £5 £22 £27 3-5 days
XE Trade £0 £28 £28 3-5 days
PayPal £0-40 £25-40 £45-80 3-5 days
Wire transfer £15 – 25 £10 – 30 £25 – 55 3-5 days
Travelex £0 £79 £79 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
CanadianForex $0 $7.5 $7.5 1-2 days
Transfast (slow) $5 $4 $9 3-5 days
TransferWise $12 $0 $12 3-5 days
Xpress Money $8 $7 $15 3-5 days
MoneyGram $15 $1 $16 Minutes
Qicsend $4 $14 $18 3-5 days
WorldRemit* $14 $11 $25 3-5 days
Exchange4free $0 $26 $26 3-5 days
Western Union $20 $8 $28 3-5 days
Ko-Kard $10 $20 $30 3-5 days
XE Trade $0 $31 $31 3-5 days
Transfast (fast) $30 $4 $34 Minutes
PayPal $0-40 $25-40 $45-80 3-5 days
Wire transfer $25-40 $20-30 $45-75 3-5 days
Skrill $14 $50 $64 3-5 days
Travelex $0 $130 $130 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
Small World FS €0 €5 €5 3-5 days
UKForex €0 €7.5 €7.5 1-2 days
TransferWise €10 €0 €10 3-5 days
Western Union €5 €11 €16 3-5 days
MoneyGram €4 €12 €16 3-5 days
Azimo €3 €22 €25 3-5 days
Exchange4free €0 €25 €25 3-5 days
Ko-Kard €7 €19 €26 3-5 days
XE Trade €0 €28 €28 3-5 days
WorldRemit €13 €21 €34 3-5 days
Wire transfer €20-35 €20-40 €40-75 3-5 days
Xpress Money €28 €14 €42 3-5 days
PayPal €0-40 €25-40 €45-80 3-5 days
Skrill €13 €50 €53 3-5 days
Travelex €0 €182 €182 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
OFX (previously OzForex) $0 $7.5 $7.5 1-2 days
TransferWise $10 $0 $10 3-5 days
Pinoy First $7 $3 $10 3-5 days
Phil Express $8 $3 $11 3-5 days
iRemit $7 $7 $14 1-2 days
MoneyGram $7 $12 $19 Minutes
OrbitRemit $8 $12 $20 3-5 days
BM Express $12 $10 $22 3-5 days
Exchange4free $0 $24 $24 3-5 days
XE Trade $0 $28 $28 3-5 days
Ko-Kard $10 $21 $31 3-5 days
Mhits $30 $1 $31 3-5 days
Xpress Money $10 $22 $32 3-5 days
WorldRemit $14 $19 $33 3-5 days
Fast Remit $10 $35 $45 3-5 days
PayPal $0-40 $25-40 $45-80 3-5 days
Western Union $28 $21 $49 3-5 days
Wire transfer $25-35 $30-60 $55-95 3-5 days
Skrill $14 $50 $64 3-5 days
Travelex $0 $128 $128 Minutes

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:

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.
  • TransferWise – this is the lowest cost option for the US, UK and Europe. It’s not as easy as uploading a spreadsheet, but once you have sent to a recipient you can just click to send to them again, so it’s not too difficult. We have an article all about TransferWise here.

Note that our links to TransferWise in this article are using a special referral link that will give you your first transfer for free and also gives us a referral fee.

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

time tracking software

There are 120 comments

We'd love to hear from you!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *