Published: March 13, 2021 | Updated: September 2, 2021 | Posted by: Venus Zoleta | Personal Finance
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the Philippines has an estimated number of 2.2 million OFWs. With this figure alone, you can easily say that a lot of families here in the country receive dollars, yens, dinars, and wons regularly.
Our country has also a lot of freelancers working for foreign companies. Thus, they’re earning in foreign currency, too.
Whether you’re receiving OFW remittances or freelancing for international clients, chances are you have kept the money because you’re waiting for the value of its peso equivalent to get higher. You’ll then have it exchanged when the right time has come.
But getting the most out of your foreign currency doesn’t stop there. You also need to have it exchanged at the best money changer in the Philippines with good rates. The same rule applies if you’re exchanging your pesos with another currency.
With that, we’ve come up with a list of the country’s top currency exchange centers, as well as other places where you can buy or sell dollars and other currencies. They offer reasonable foreign exchange rates, convenience, and safe transactions.
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Obviously, you’re looking for the best rate, so the first place you need to go to is a money-changing shop. If you’ve just arrived in the country, money changers at the airport offer unparalleled convenience, but they usually have poor deals. You may want to avoid them, especially if you’re not in a hurry.
Need to buy or sell pesos, dollars, or another currency at the best rate? We recommend scouring the metro for forex shops. Among the best places to exchange peso to dollar are Mabini Street in Ermita, Manila and Makati, as these places are home to many expats. You can even find rates that can be 10% to 20% higher than some banks.
Czarina is one of the most reputable money changers in Metro Manila, having been established in 1978. The shop trades major currencies, such as the US dollar, Japanese yen, Euro, Hong Kong dollar, Australian dollar, Singapore dollar, Canadian dollar, and China renminbi (RMB), among others. What’s great about this outlet is that it doesn’t charge a commission, and its services are all offered in real-time.
This money changer along Mabini St. in Malate, Manila is the go-to place for the best currency conversion rates. Other than the US dollar, Japanese yen, British pound, and Kuwait dinar, the shop also offers exchange services for less typical currencies, such as Norwegian krone, Danish krone, South African rand, Brazilian real, and Peruvian sol.
Tivoli is another established foreign exchange shop in the metro. It offers competitive rates in an exclusive and safe environment, as its branches are located in Glorietta 2, Trinoma, and Okada Manila’s VIP Area and Retail Center.
Don’t let the unassuming exteriors of this Ermita-based money changer fool you. Considered one of the best providers of competitive rates in Manila, Moonlight is also known for its customer-friendly service, a reason why lots of foreigners flock to this shop.
Other than its good forex rates, Sanry’s is well-known for its convenience and safety because its branches are located in Ayala malls, such as Greenbelt 1, Glorietta 2, Market! Market!, and Trinoma. You can also find it at Cash & Carry, Greenhills, and Robinsons Galleria.
If you live outside Manila and don’t have easy access to the shops listed above, you can still have your foreign currency exchanged at remittance centers. These places let you hit two birds with one stone—you can claim your foreign currency-based remittance and have it changed to peso without having to go elsewhere. Now, that’s what we call convenience.
You may buy or sell US dollars in select Cebuana Lhullier and Pera Padala branches nationwide. We’ve linked below the list of branches that offer this service.
If you’re receiving remittance in foreign exchange at M Lhuillier, you can have it converted into peso right then and there. This remittance center offers competitive foreign exchange rates for currencies such as the US dollar, euro, and Japanese yen.
Palawan Pawnshop’s currencies for peso exchange not only include major currencies, such as the US dollar or Singapore dollar, but also Swiss franc, Chinese yuan, and UAE dirham. Buying foreign banknotes is a different matter, though. Purchase transactions shall be made through a reservation. A down payment of PHP 1,000 must be given for the transaction to push through.
At Western Union, changing peso to dollar and a wide range of other currencies is possible.
You can also have your foreign money exchanged at banks that provide good exchange rates and secure transactions. Banks exchange money at the closing rate from the BSP.
However, keep in mind that some banks have more stringent rules in place compared with money changers and remittance centers.
For one, the bank will offer the foreign currency exchange service only if you have an account with them. Moreover, you’re only allowed to transact with the branch where you opened your account. You’ll also be required to bring a couple of documents, such as your passport or any valid government ID, passport, and TIN ID.
Major malls like SM and Robinsons have money exchange counters in their department stores (and in SM Hypermarket and Savemore as well) where shoppers can do their forex transactions. These malls are among the most convenient and safest places to exchange money in the Philippines. Their foreign exchange rates are reasonable, too.
However, these currency exchange services don’t entertain peso to dollar exchange. Forex counters in malls only convert dollar to peso, though they also accept currencies other than the USD. You can sell THB, HKD, SGD, EUR, JPY, and AUD, among other currencies in such malls.
We’ve compiled some useful tips that will help make foreign exchange much easier and more efficient and practical.
Rates at money changing stations at airports have much higher rates than what you’ll find at money changers and banks outside. Airport money changers charge more because they have high operating costs, such as expensive monthly rent and extended operating hours. You may exchange some cash if you need money for commute upon arriving in the Philippines or in your foreign destination country.
Foreign exchange businesses earn money by selling foreign dollars at a much higher rate. But other than that, they make money by charging customers a commission. Before you have your money changed, ask the shop if they’re charging such a fee. If they charge a commission, try somewhere else (especially if you’re not in a hurry). You can always find a commission-free money changer, such as Czarina Foreign Exchange.
Just because the finance news says that the exchange rate is at this specified amount doesn’t mean that all the money changers in the country will offer that value. Before you exchange your money, shop around for favorable exchange rates. That way, you can maximize the value of your foreign currency.
Moneymax talks about common questions about peso-dollar exchange rate and its impact to the economy and individuals. Aya Laraya shared and explained the basic dynamics about exchange rate. Consequently, there are some surprising facts about the exchange rate that most Filipinos are not aware of.
While shopping for forex shops with good offers, you’ll come across one that seems to have rates that are “too good to be true.” And its offer might be just that, especially if the shop looks shady and you’ve been hearing bad reviews about them.
Use your good judgment and avoid such shops! If you want to make sure that a shop is safe, secure, and trusted, you can check out this list of BSP-Registered Money Service Business.
While life is gradually returning to normal, remind yourself that the pandemic is still happening. With that, you need to be mindful of your safety when visiting foreign exchange shops. Wear your face mask and face shield. Observe social distancing and follow the shop’s safety protocols. After receiving the converted money, sanitize or wash your hands thoroughly; the money you’ve just received has been already touched by thousands of people before you.
The presence of thousands of money changers in the country just proves that commerce in the Philippines is pretty strong and that we are global citizens. But keep in mind that not all foreign exchange centers are created equal. For reliable services, you can visit the shops listed above. However, don’t discount small forex businesses, as they may also have reasonable rates and high-quality service. Just do your due diligence.
Foreign exchange rates fluctuate from time to time and vary per money exchange center on any given day. Even different branches of a money changer have different rates as well. To find the best rate that will give you the most value out of your money, check and compare peso to dollar (or any other currency) exchange rates.
It also helps to keep yourself updated on the latest exchange rates and all the factors that affect global currency trades. Read the news and follow some banks’ social media pages for updates.
Further reading: OFW Success Stories in Business
Venus is the Head of Content at Moneymax, with 15+ years of experience in digital marketing, corporate communications, PR, and journalism. She invests in stocks, mutual funds, VUL, and Pag-IBIG MP2. Outside of work, she’s crazy about cats and Korean dramas. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.