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How to Send Money to the Philippines: A UK Filipino’s Guide

Kamusta, mga kabayan! 

If you’re a Filipino expat living in the UK, you’re probably no stranger to the joys and challenges of sending money back home to our loved ones. Whether it’s for supporting family, paying bills, or investing in properties, we all want the most efficient and cost-effective way to send our hard-earned pounds to pesos. But with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one.

Don’t worry, kabayan! I’ve been there, done that, and I’m here to share my experience and insights to help you navigate the world of international money transfers. This is your ultimate guide to sending money to the Philippines from the UK, packed with practical tips and personal anecdotes from a fellow Filipina.

Understanding the Options: Traditional vs. Online Providers

When it comes to sending money, you’ve got two main options: traditional providers (like banks and money transfer agents) and online providers (like Wise, Remitly, and WorldRemit). Let’s weigh the pros and cons of each:

Traditional Providers:

  • Pros: Established reputation, physical branches for in-person transactions, sometimes offer additional services like currency exchange.
  • Cons: Often have higher fees and less favourable exchange rates, can be slower than online providers, limited online services.

Online Providers:

  • Pros: Generally lower fees, competitive exchange rates, faster transfers, convenient online platforms, often offer additional features like mobile apps and real-time tracking.
  • Cons: Might not have physical branches, some require online verification processes, customer service might be primarily online.

My Experience: A Tale of Two Transfers

Let me share a personal learning experience. When I first moved to the UK, I used my bank to send money home. The fees were high, the exchange rate wasn’t great, and it took several days for the money to arrive. It was a bit of a hassle, to be honest.

Then, a friend recommended an online provider called Wise (formerly TransferWise). I was hesitant at first, but I gave it a try, and I was blown away! The fees were significantly lower, the exchange rate was much better, and the money arrived in my family’s account in a matter of hours. It was a game-changer!

Choosing the Right Provider: Factors to Consider

So, how do you choose the best provider for your needs? Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Look for providers that offer competitive exchange rates, so you get more pesos for your pounds.
  • Compare the fees charged by different providers, including transfer fees, hidden fees, and any additional charges for specific services.
  • How quickly do you need the money to arrive? Some providers offer instant or same-day transfers, while others may take a few days.
  • Choose a reputable provider with a proven track record of secure and reliable transfers.
  • Consider whether you prefer an online platform, a mobile app, or in-person transactions at a physical branch.
  • Look for providers that offer excellent customer support, in case you have any questions or issues.

My Top Recommendations for Sending Money to the Philippines

Based on my personal experience and research, here are my top recommendations for sending money to the Philippines from the UK:

  1. Wise is my my go-to provider, with low fees, excellent exchange rates, and fast transfers. Their transparent pricing and user-friendly platform make them a great option for Filipino expats.
  2. Remitly is my another excellent online provider with competitive rates and various payout options, including bank deposits, cash pickups, and mobile money.
  3. WorldRemit is a reliable provider with a wide network of payout locations in the Philippines, including banks, cash pickup agents, and mobile wallets.

Bonus Tip: Booking Flights to the Philippines

Now, let’s talk about booking flights to the Philippines from the UK. As someone who frequently travels back home, I’ve learned a few tricks for snagging the best deals:

  • Book in Advance your flight tickets to Philippines. The earlier you book, the better the chances of finding lower fares. Aim to book at least 2-3 months before your intended travel dates.
  • Be flexible with your dates while booking flights. If you’re flexible with your travel dates, you can often find cheaper flights by avoiding peak travel times like school holidays and major festivals.
  • Compare prices before booking your flight tickets. Don’t just stick to one airline or booking website. Use flight comparison websites like Skyscanner or Kayak to compare prices across different airlines and find the best deals.
  • Consider Layovers, While direct flights are convenient, they can also be more expensive. Consider flights with layovers in major hubs like Dubai or Singapore, as they can often be cheaper.
  • Look for promo fares and Filipino travel agents in the UK. Philippine Airlines and other airlines often offer special promo fares throughout the year, so sign up for their newsletters or follow them on social media to stay in the loop.  But don’t stop there! Filipino travel agents based in the UK often have access to exclusive deals and discounts that you won’t find anywhere else, making them a valuable resource for booking your next trip home. They can also help you navigate the complexities of travel requirements and ensure a smooth and stress-free experience.

Sending money to the Philippines and booking flights doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. With a little research and planning, you can find the best options to suit your needs and budget. I hope this guide has been helpful, mga kabayan! Happy travels!

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