Freelancing has seen something of a boom in the Philippines. More and more Filipinos ditch their nine-to-five jobs to be their own boss. While many contract and freelance jobs are offered locally, majority of Filipino freelancers I know work for overseas companies mostly based in the U.S. The distance doesn’t matter as these companies pay their employees through PayPal or Payoneer. However, as antiquated as it is, there are still companies that rely on checks.
There are also some who get creative by making passive income through affiliate marketing. Two of these popular programs are Clickbank and the now-defunct Adbrite. Scouring the Internet, I’ve read stories where many weren’t able to claim their payouts from Adbrite just because they weren’t able to encash their US dollar checks issued by a foreign bank.
Having almost experienced the same thing—I almost wasn’t able to encash a dollar check for over six months—I know how devastating it is not to have your funds available just because of a stupid banking system. The feeling comes close to “so near yet so far.” So here’s my step-by-step guide on how to encash (the correct word is “deposit,” by the way) that foreign bank-issued US dollar check to ease your financial burdens:
First Things First
Well, we are opening a local dollar account. I won’t let you waste your time by asking the bank to deposit the check to your peso account. Believe me, I tried it several times.
The only bank that entertained me is BPI. I think they can do it if persuaded, but the fees are hefty that it’s not worth it.
Buy a Dollar Bill
Now, go to your nearest mall and head to the currency exchange service. Tell the person manning the register that you want to buy a US$100 bill. Pay the amount in Philippine peso.
Open a LANDBANK Dollar Account (Passbook Only)
Before applying for an account, make sure you have these requirements ready. Don’t worry as they are very easy to obtain. As for me, I only presented my passport, TIN ID, and a copy of Barangay certificate.
For the initial deposit, LANDBANK only requires US$100—the lowest one I’ve seen so far.
After making sure you have the necessary requirements, proceed to a branch near you, inquire about dollar savings account, present your requirements (they would have to verify them), and fill out some electronic forms. Wait for an hour or two—depends on the branch—and claim your passbook.
Deposit Check/s for Collection
If you already have check/s prior to your account opening, make sure to bring them in order to save time. Since the application process is fairly straightforward and simple, you can already deposit them right after claiming your passbook. Just ask the bank personnel who assisted you to proceed to check deposit.
Usually, they will ask you to sign the back of the check/s.
After that, wait for approximately 15 banking days for the funds to clear.
As much as LANDBANK is the preferred bank for those who don’t have enough cash—you would have to let the initial deposit sit in there—their dollar account offering doesn’t have an ATM card or an online portal to check your transactions. Hence, there’s no way of knowing if the funds are already cleared in your account.
I usually wait up to 15 banking days and then visit them again to have my passbook updated. If the passbook already reflects the amount you deposited, then you can now withdraw your hard-earned money!
Just a caveat: LANDBANK charges $5 (recently changed from $3) per deposit of a check. Therefore, make sure you deposit a single check with a large amount of money than several ones in smaller amounts in order to save bucks.
Lastly, you can’t use the funds in your to-be-deposited check for your application. You would have to pay the initial deposit to be approved. I believe this is also the same with other local banks. Dollar accounts are not for everyone, unfortunately. But with LANDBANK, it’s still possible.
So there you have it! I hope this article helped you to ease your mind about a pending US dollar check rotting on your desk. Go on and encash—deposit—it before it expires.