Today I thought I’d share my experiences with this method of sending money from US to the Philippines. I work for an online merchant and have to channel my earnings to a U.S. bank account so I can get it in cash (as against converting it to an Amazon gift certificate balance). I do it through my mom’s friend who lives in California and until yesterday, he sends me the money through Western Union online. We didn’t have problems with WU’s services. Money gets sent in minutes and only one valid ID is need to claim the money. Plus we can withdraw it in any one of the tons of WU branches here in Baguio. On Session Road alone, I think I saw two or three agent locations.
The other day, my mom’s friend’s wife suggested to use the LBC ATM Bilis Padala service, which she uses herself to send money to relatives who live here in the Philippines. What had to be done was to go to the nearest US LBC branch and apply for an LBC ATM card which will be sent to the Philippine recipient through mail in 3 days. The recipient can then use that card to withdraw the money sent to them in any ATM. According to one of the feedbacks I’ve read, the recipient got the card two days after the application abroad, which is what I am holding to right now, for the sake of my sanity.
It is a cheaper way to send money, compared to Western Union, and after the initial wait of 3 days (hopefully) to receive my money, 15 seconds is all it takes for my money to be credited to the LBC card account for the succeeding transactions (again, I hope). It requires no maintaining balance, which is great because you avoid the fees resulting from low average monthly balance that is characteristic of most other cards. You can also use it to pay for purchases at retail outlets like Makro, for a minimal fee of P2.50 per transaction.
Please NOTE that I am in no way affiliated with LBC. What I say here is based on what I saw on the site. In fact, please expect me to bitch about their poor services when after three days I have not received the card. But to be fair, if I DO receive the card in time (or earlier (I can only hope for), I will be writing about that, too. So check back in a couple of days.
Meanwhile, lemme hear your own experiences about it. Good or bad, I can take it. I’m a big girl now. What matters is everyone gets to know what quality of services to expect from this LBC ATM Bilis Padala. I’m looking forward to your opinions.
It is a couple of days later, and what do you know. I received the card on time. So I can safely say that LBC lives up to their promise of sending it in three days. Now, withdrawing is another matter. I heard some people had difficulty in withdrawing in bank ATMs other than BPI, but those comments were made a couple of years ago, so we’ll see. Tomorrow we will try to withdraw the money from an ATM. Will let you know how it goes.
We went to withdraw it today at a BPI ATM because it was the first machine we saw. There was no service charge, which is great. But the max amount per withdrawal is P4,000 so I had to withdraw a couple of times, and you can only withdraw a total of P50,000 a day. Other than that, it went smoothly (thank God). You can also max out your card’s balance, since there is no minimum maintaining balance. So there. I hope to receive another remittance through it on Monday (note the word I HOPE), so I will let you know if it arrived as soon as it was remitted, and if it can be used at another ATM other than BPI.