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Comprehensive Guide to General Banking, Products, and Services in the Philippines

A detailed guidebook on the Philippine banking system, how it works, and the different products and services offered by major banks.

Chapter 3

Types of Bank Accounts In The Philippines

Keeping our money in a safe place is basically the primary role of banks in the life of consumers. Deposit accounts from banks keep money safe while also earning interest per month. Banks today provide different interest rates to deposits accounts, depending on the deposit account the consumer chooses.

Savings account

A savings account is one of the simplest types of bank accounts. It allows you to store cash securely and earn interest on your money. Savings accounts earn through interest instead of incurring them. 

Its interest rate is also the most straightforward compared to other banking products. The concept is simple – you earn while you save. However, savings accounts are not high-yielding investments as the interest rates will just play around 0.5% to 2% per annum depending on the bank and the type of savings account.  The funds from the savings account are easily accessible to the depositor and can be taken out anytime through over the counter withdrawal or via ATM. 

Savings accounts usually come with an ATM debit card and/or a passbook, for the account holder to access the funds anytime. 

How To Open A Savings Account

Opening a savings account in the Philippines is mostly done at the bank premises. Other than the documentation and ID, you will need to fill up and sign some forms. The process is very straight forward, simply go to your bank of choice, bring the necessary documents and ID, and the required funds for the initial deposit.

Common requirement for opening an account

  • Photocopy of 2 valid IDs
  • Proof of address (utility or credit card bills, voter’s id, and postal id)
  • Two 1×1 photo
  • An initial deposit of 2,000 and up 


  • Easily available and quick to set up and move money to and from
  • It can be easily linked with e-wallets or online payment engines like PayPal
  • Your full balance can be withdrawn at any time
  • Your funds are insured against bank failure


  • Low to almost no interest yield.
  • Withdrawals are easier – makes splurging easier too
  • It comes with daily and monthly withdrawal limits

Should you open a savings account?

This is the most basic type of deposit account. It’s best for the purpose of safely stashing your money without expecting any high yields in return. If you’re simply looking to have an account for the safekeeping of your money, a savings account is made for just that. 

Checking accounts 

A checking account has most of the features offered by a savings account, but it can grant access to checking facilities. Nowadays, checking accounts come with debit cards for account holders to have more convenient access to their funds. Compared to a regular savings account, checking accounts have fewer restrictions when it comes to monthly withdrawal and spending limits.

How To Open A Checking Account

Much like a savings account, opening a checking account is mostly done in a bank branch. The process for this will be more tedious since a checking account will allow for a bigger amount of money transactions to be made. You will need to accomplish and sign some bank forms and submit your chosen bank’s documentary requirement. For the most part, bank requirements for account opening are the same. To give you a rough idea on what you need to bring, below are some of the most common requirements for opening a checking account.

Common requirement for opening an account

  • Valid ID with photo and signature
  • Initial deposit (minimum ₱5,000 to ₱20,000)
  • Utility bill reflecting the address

What is a checking account used for?

Checking accounts are primarily tools for making a big chunk of payments. With this, you can set up automatic payments and money transfers to and from your account through a check or post-dated checks. 

Unlike savings accounts, checks are there to make your money transactions faster and hassle-free. 

Should you open a checking account?

A savings account may be good enough for managing money while a checking account provides benefits that will make your financial transactions a lot easier to manage. 

  • Issue checks for large amounts of payments 
  • A paper trail or proof of payment
  • Virtually no daily or monthly limits for withdrawals and payments

Fees, charges and interest rates
Interest rates0.125% to 0.50% per annum
FeesCheckbook - ₱175 to ₱500
Minimum daily balance to earn interest₱50,000 to ₱100,000

Time deposit

This is an investment type of account where the money is deposited for a fixed period and it earns a fixed interest rate at the end of that period. Compared to other investment types, a time deposit is a safer investment option because it provides a guaranteed interest rate over a specific period of time. 

Interest rates for time deposit range from 0.5% to 1.125% per month, and the higher the amount and the longer the term of placement, the higher the interest rate will be.  

Did you know?

Banks offer time deposit accounts because it is one of their sources of cash flow. They lend these funds to other customers and profit from it. They earn through imposing higher interest rates in their loan offers compared to the rate they pay on time deposits.

Term placement refers to the length of time the deposit will be in the account to earn interest, and these could be from 30 days to 360 days. Compared to the savings account, time deposit accounts will impose penalty fees for early withdrawals. 

How To Open A Time Deposit Account

There isn’t really a clear cut process on how to go about opening any bank accounts including a time deposit account. Most of the banks in the Philippines require a personal appearance in the bank upon opening any type of account, and from there you’ll have to accomplish and sign some forms – this process can vary per bank. On the other hand, for time deposit accounts, some banks allow online application for their existing account holders, you will need to check with your bank for that process.


  • Time deposits offer investors a fixed interest rate until maturity
  • Time deposits are risk-free investments
  • Time deposits have various maturity dates and minimum deposit amounts
  • Time deposits pay a higher interest rate than regular savings accounts


  • Time deposit returns are lower than that of other conservative investments
  • Investors may miss a better opportunity if interest rates rise
  • Depositors can’t withdraw their money without a penalty
  • Fixed interest rates don’t generally keep pace with inflation

Should you open a time deposit account?

This is meant for those funds that you can afford to untouched for a long time without going broke. If you’re only in it for small but secure gains, this product could be for you.

Comparison of deposit accounts 

Each type of deposit account comes with its own set of benefits that are catered towards a certain need. Weighing in on what services you need from your bank should ultimately determine which type will suit you best.

Savings accountTime depositChecking account
Interest rateLow HighNone
Minimum depositLowHighHigh
Deposit insuranceYesYesYes
Fees for early withdrawalNoneYesNone
Access to fundsImmediateImmediateImmediate

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