Access to banking services has undoubtedly become an important part of Filipino life. A few years ago, the average Filipino could survive without having a bank account, relying on unprofessional means to get financial products.
But thanks to the recent digital advancements and issuance of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) regulations that are more conducive to financial inclusion, it is now easier for Filipinos to open a bank account. Circumstances helped push for this boost, as online and cashless transactions have become more commonplace every day in the Philippines. According to the BSP, 56 percent of adult Filipinos in 2021 have accounts, adding that it projects this number will increase to 70 percent by the end of 2023.
This isn’t surprising; it is now so much easier to open a regular savings account in a reputable bank. This is beneficial not just for people who want to start their financial freedom journey as first-time bank account holders. Now, Filipinos can easily open multiple bank accounts or transfer to a new banking service.
Are you planning to choose a new banking partner to fulfill your financial goals this 2024? Or are you finally planning to open a bank account after years of resistance to formal financial services? Here’s a guide on what you should know when choosing a new banking partner.
Financial stability and reputation: When choosing a banking partner or a service to open your savings account with, it is first important to check their reputation. How many years have they been in service? While you don’t have to look into their financial reports and credit ratings, a cursory online search of the bank’s current standing should do the trick. What you should look into is the bank’s reputation in terms of customer service. For instance, a national survey on customer service done by the Philippine Daily Inquirer has hailed RCBC to have the Best Customer Service among all commercial banks in the country.
Bad customer service means you will have a difficult time reaching your bank if you encounter any issues. Traditional banks have online customer service via messaging apps and through their digital apps as well as phone hotlines. Many money apps only offer online customer service without the option to talk to a customer service representative over the phone—which can prove to be challenging if you encounter complex banking issues.
Ease of entry. It’s now easy to open a savings account—you won’t need countless IDs and other requirements. What government IDs do you currently have access to? Do you have the right ID? Of course, applications for more complex financial products will have more requirements. Check out RCBC OneAccount, a deposit account that offers the features of a savings, checking, and time deposit account, which only requires one valid ID and proof of billing. What’s more? You can easily open one without having to go to the branch! You can open your account in just a few clicks.
Hidden fees. Check your bank if the account you opened has annual fees or fees for certain services—especially if you are availing more than a savings account. A bank is trustworthy if it is transparent with its fee structures, as this means it won’t catch you off guard with hidden costs.
Range of services. When opening a savings account, the first thing you should check is its interest rate, particularly if you opened the account for the main purpose of saving money. But even the most basic bank accounts should allow you access to a range of financial services. The basics, of course, include free withdrawals at their ATMS and accessibility of bank branches for over-the-counter transactions. But there are other services beyond this. For instance, many banks offer personal loan options for clients with good history. Others provide optional life insurance and personal accident insurance. Assess what you feel you will need from your bank beyond its good interest rate and check if the bank of your choice can provide this.
Online features and technology. Clients should be able to access bank features via their digital apps. Check what your bank’s online apps can do. It should be able to do the basics—check your transaction history, transfer funds to other accounts, pay your bills, and buy mobile load. But technologically advanced banking partners can do more than this: for instance, help you access more advanced features such as cardless withdrawals, deposit checks via the bank app, make time deposits and foreign exchange, and lock/block your lost cards. Basically, online features should enhance your overall banking experience and streamline your financial management—all within your mobile phone.
Check out RCBC Pulz, RCBC’s all-in-one banking app that provides seamless and personalized banking experience while providing multiple security features to ensure safe digital banking. The app is equipped with more advanced features, including investment in UITFs, online foreign exchange with 6 currencies, send cash to people without bank accounts, and soon, availment of digital loans, to name a few.
Start the year right by kickstarting your financial journey! And the best way to do this is by choosing the right bank that can help you manifest your 2024 money goals. Go to https://www.rcbc.com/savings-accounts or visit an RCBC branch nearest to you to help you get started now.