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Currency Exchange- re-visiting the topic

Perth, Australia
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Currency Exchange- re-visiting the topic

I will be travelling to Philippines later this month.

I read on a previous post that, and I am inclined to agree, the best way to get the most from your dollar ( in my case AUD/Australian Dollar) is to take cash and exchange on the street for the best rate.

Someone else mentioned HSBC bank, and opening an overseas bank account. HSBC phone representatives urged me not to consider this option- as the normal annual traveller would have to endear far more hassle and time-consuming paperwork than is worth the trouble to obtain an overseas account with a debit/atm card. Multi-currency accounts from HSBC in Australia come without a debit/atm card and are only used for the major currencies- of which PHP is not.

Tell me, who does what. I know it's a previous topic, but I'm looking for some currency (pardon the pun) and want to be certain that carrying $5k on my body into the Philippines is the best option....

Thanks in advance guys

Melbourne, Australia
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1. Re: Currency Exchange- re-visiting the topic

Yes, you can carry that but please keep your wallet in your front pocket and do not display the cash.

Have A$50 ready to exchange at the bank outside or in T1 or T2 when you arrive. For instance, the T2 bank is near the inner roadway, arrivals level at Manila NAIA.

If you have time, the best place to exchange cash is Edzen or its associate Sheena moneychanger along A. Mabini Street, Ermita (not far from City Garden Hotel, Manila - not the latter's Makati establishemnt). Edzen's opening hours are 0800 to 0200 daily. Last trip two or three weeks ago I got P41.47 = A$1 which was at least 0.7 of a peso per A$1 better than elsewhere.

You can reach Edzen by LRT train to Pedro Gil station then walk up past Robinsons, or a taxi if you must. Try to travel in the early morning before 0900 as there is far less traffic. Sundays is the easiest day traffic wise. There is a Manila rail map available at www.urbanrail.net

If you feel unsafe, have a moneybelt (not a 'bum bag'). However I have never felt unsafe.

Edited: 06 November 2013, 10:54
Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: Currency Exchange- re-visiting the topic

One alternative is that HSBC ATMs will allow daily cash withdrawals of up to P40000 per day. Other ATMs of competing banks are P10000 or rarely P20000 if I recall.

I used HSBC ATMs on two recent trips in both Makati (RCBC Plaza - where Australian Embassy is) and Quezon City. They worked faultlessly.

Perth, Australia
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3. Re: Currency Exchange- re-visiting the topic

VicLad- do you mean you used a HSBC card at an HSBC ATM or another card?

I guess my overall desire is to get the best possible rate for my Aussie dollar, and Im almost certain it was you who suggested in a previous topic that you prefer to carry cash!? I read that and must say I agree- the only way I can be certain that I am having the real value of my cash in exchange is by taking my own cash with me.

Although I am 6'2, athletic and 95kg - I am confident in defending myself aswell as my perceptive awareness of sneakiness around me- it's become apparent that there are some crafty pickpockets around in Philippines. I plan on carrying a neck/body pouch for my cash and cards.

Australia
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for Cebu City, Cebu Island
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4. Re: Currency Exchange- re-visiting the topic

Do you mean you used a HSBC card at an HSBC ATM or another card?

------------------------------------------------------------------

I use other cards. Aust Post Load and Go.

Perth, Australia
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5. Re: Currency Exchange- re-visiting the topic

and what do you pay in foreign withdrawal fees and domestic bank charges? What exchange rate do you get compared to the cash rate?

everything I've experienced using ATM's abroad- especially in SE Asia has been that the fees from both institutions are high, and the exchange rate is the worst imaginable by a country mile.

Hence, the 'carrying cash' stance.

Australia
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for Cebu City, Cebu Island
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6. Re: Currency Exchange- re-visiting the topic

HSBC is the only bank in the Philippines that don't charge an additional fee. At least they don't charge me.

I still have to pay for the load and go card. It is 3% plus a flat fee of 9c for every withdrawal.

The exchange rate is comparable with what you get exchanging Aussie cash.

Cards are the safest way but cash is king as far as costs are concerned.

England, United...
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7. Re: Currency Exchange- re-visiting the topic

I did not get charged for drawing cash from an ATM at a Philippines Saving Bank (PSBank) in Cebu City. I was using a Visa Debit card from the UK.

However, limit was PhP10,000, but enough for a few days.

Oslo, Norway
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8. Re: Currency Exchange- re-visiting the topic

PS bank charges P200 for overseas cards, which becomes part of the transaction and not show up separate, so some think they were not charged it and write if off to a low exchange rate.

I would use ATM before I would carry that much cash for sure. AND, in my opinion, if you do carry cash in large amounts, its not worth the hassle to take MRT (pick pocket dangers) or other ways to get to a place to cash money. Most areas have exchange places. Stick to reputable ones and the places that VICLAD mentions have branches all over. NEVER exchange on the street. Better to get a lower exchange rate and cash what you need leaving the rest in a safe etc.

BE FOREWARNED, this is holiday season, which sees a big increase in pick pockets and other petty crime.

Perth, Australia
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9. Re: Currency Exchange- re-visiting the topic

cash is king. im confident.

England, United...
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10. Re: Currency Exchange- re-visiting the topic

My card is issued by Visa Europe and their daily rate was used for conversion, no sign of the P200 charge at all. Just the usual charges by my own bank, same as in other countries I've been to. The rates are given on the Visa Europe website at visaeurope.com/en/…exchange_rates.aspx.

The daily rate for non-European cards is slightly different, another website link from the bottom of the Visa Europe page.