Choosing the Best Money Changer in the Philippines: Things You Need to Know

Venus Zoleta

Venus Zoleta

Last updated June 23, 2022

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the Philippines has an estimated number of 1.77 million OFWs.[1] With this figure alone, you can easily say that a lot of families here in the country receive dollars, yen, dinars, and wons regularly. Our country also has a lot of freelancers working for foreign companies. Thus, they’re earning in foreign currency, too.

Whether you’re receiving OFW remittances or getting paid by international clients, chances are you’ve also 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 comes.

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.

What is the Best Money Changer in the Philippines?

money changer in the Philippines - best money changers

Say you’ve just flown in from the U.S. The very first thing that you’ll need to do is look for the best exchange rate of the dollar currency to peso. The money exchange booths in the airport may offer unparalleled convenience. But you may want to think twice, as their rates are usually expensive. So, if you’re not in a hurry, you can always scour the city for a good money changer.

If you’re staying or living in NCR, among the best places to exchange dollars to PHP are Makati and Mabini Street in Ermita, Manila. This is because these places are home to many expats. Although not always assured, you may find exchange rates of dollar to peso that are much higher than what’s offered by banks. Here are some of the top money changers you may want to check out.

Czarina Foreign Exchange

money changer in the Philippines - czarina

Czarina is one of the most reputable money changers in Metro Manila, having been established in 1978.[2] The shop trades major currencies, such as the euro, US dollar, Japanese yen, 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.

Currently, Czarina has branches in the following locations:

  • Pasig City: Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons
  • Muntinlupa City: Alabang Town Center
  • Baguio City: Pines Arcade Building, Session Road
  • Taguig City: Uptown Mall, Bonifacio Global City
  • Rizal: Q Plaza Commercial Complex, Cainta

Makati

  • Glorietta 4, Ayala Center
  • Makati Cinema Square, Chino Roces Avenue
  • Liberty Center Building, Salcedo Village
  • Picasso Residences, Salcedo Village

Quezon City

  • New Farmers Plaza, Araneta Center, Cubao
  • Ali Mall, Araneta Center, Cubao
  • Fairview Terraces, Novaliches
  • Ever Gotesco Mall, Commonwealth Avenue
  • Robinsons Magnolia, Aurora Boulevard

Czarina also operates in Hong Kong. Currently, there are five branches in high-traffic districts and neighborhoods, such as Central.

Tivoli Money Exchange

Founded in 1983, Tivoli is very well an institution in the foreign exchange industry. This money changer in the Philippines trades major currencies, such as the euro, US dollar, Japanese yen, Hong Kong dollar, China RMB, Singapore dollar, Canadian dollar, Saudi riyal, and UAE dirham, among others.

What makes Tivoli stand out from the competition is that it now engages in cryptocurrency. The shop now facilitates over-the-counter trading and withdrawals of most major cryptocurrencies through its BSP-accredited virtual currency exchange partners. Accepted cryptos include Bitcoin, Tether, Ethereum, Binance Coin, XRP, Dogecoin, Polkadot, Cardano, and more.   

At present, Tivoli has branches in the following locations:

  • Makati City: Glorietta 2, Ayala Center
  • Quezon City: TriNoma
  • Parañaque City: Okada Manila

Read more: OFW Loan Options in the Philippines for Every Kind of Need

LuLu Exchange

money changer in the Philippines - lulu exchange

Established in 2008, LuLu Exchange is a reputable global foreign exchange business that operates in the country. As a money changer in the Philippines, it prides itself on providing secure and satisfactory exchange services and offering the best market rates. It also expedites the exchange in a quick and efficient manner. On top of its money changing services, LuLu Exchange offers remittances and forex trading as well.

LuLu Exchange mainly operates at airports. Although we mentioned in the article to avoid airports when exchanging money, this shop is worth checking out because of its convenience and rates. Nevertheless, you can also find LuLu Exchange in malls.

LuLu Exchange is currently located in the following places:

  • Pasay City: Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Terminal 1, Terminal 2, and Terminal 3)
  • Parañaque City: Ayala Malls Manila Bay, Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard
  • Las Piñas City: Robinsons Place Mall
  • Pampanga: Clark International Airport
  • Cebu: Robinsons Galleria

Naila’s Money Changer

Need to know the exchange rate for yen to peso today? How much is 100 riyal to Philippine peso? Head over to Naila's to find out. This money changer along Mabini Street 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, it also offers exchange services for less typical currencies, such as Norwegian krone, Danish krone, South African rand, Brazilian real, Indian rupee, Pakistani rupee, and Peruvian sol.

Moonlight Money Changer

Don’t let the unassuming and homely exteriors of this money changer in the Philippines 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. You can find this shop along Mabini Street in Ermita.

Read more: Financial Planning for Overseas Filipino Workers

Best Remittance Centers with Money Exchange Service in the Philippines

money changer in the Philippines - Best Remittance Centers with Money Exchange Service in the Philippines

If you live somewhere that doesn’t offer you 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.

Cebuana Lhuillier

You may buy or sell US dollars in select Cebuana Lhuillier and Pera Padala branches nationwide. If you’re living in Metro Manila, here are the Cebuana Lhuillier branches where you can exchange dollars to PHP: 

  • Marikina 3
  • Shaw Boulevard
  • Vito Cruz
  • JAKA Plaza
  • Isetann Recto
  • Malabon 8
  • Pasay Road
  • Karuhatan
  • Pritil
  • Roces Avenue

M Lhuillier

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, British Pound, and Japanese yen.

Palawan Pawnshop

Palawan Pawnshop’s currencies for peso exchange not only sell major currencies, such as the US dollar Singapore dollar, Australian dollar, or Hong Kong dollar. This money changer in the Philippines also sells Swiss franc, Chinese yuan, UAE dirham, New Taiwan dollar, and New Zealand dollar.

Buying foreign banknotes is a different matter, though. Purchase transactions shall be made through a reservation. A non-refundable down payment of ₱1,000 must be given for the transaction to push through. If you have a transaction amounting ₱10,000 and below, you can authorize a person through a letter to process the said transaction. However, if the transaction is worth ₱100,000 and above, Palawan Pawnshop may request further validation, such as supporting documents.[4]

Villarica Pawnshop

Just like other modern pawnshops in the country, Villarica Pawnshop not only provides pawning services, bills payment, and cash withdrawal. It also operates as a money changer in the Philippines. It offers high exchange rates of any foreign currency, such as USD to PHP, at any Villarica branch.[5]

Among the currencies that you can exchange here include euro, Japanese yen, Australian dollar, British pound, Canadian dollar, Singaporean dollar, and Hong Kong dollar.

Read more: How to Use Smart Padala: A Guide for New Users and Agents in the Philippines

Personal loan in the Philippines

Best Banks with Foreign Exchange Services

A bank may double as a money changer in the Philippines. 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.

Philippine National Bank

PNB buys and sells foreign currencies against the PHP or other foreign currencies. Its good working relationships with other banks allows it to purchase and sell large volumes of currencies at market prices. As such, PNB is able to offer its clients top exchange rates.

Among the currencies available for exchange at PNB are the euro, US dollar, Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, Hong Kong dollar, Singapore dollar, and British pound. Need rates for converting non-US dollar to another non-US dollar? PNB can provide that upon request.

Bank of the Philippine Islands

money changer in the Philippines - bpi

BPI is another good bank for exchanging currencies. Aside from buying and selling widely traded foreign monies, its Forex solutions also include foreign currency time deposits and multi-currency investments. BPI currently deals with the following currencies: US dollar, Euro, Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, British pound, Singapore dollar, Hong Kong dollar, Japanese yen, Chinese yuan, and Swiss franc.

Planning to convert your dollars to PHP peso today? If you have an account with BPI, you can easily convert your US dollar to PHP peso online. You can do so by simply transferring your dollars from your BPI US dollar account to your BPI peso account.

Security Bank

Do you have a Security Bank branch near you? If so, pay it a visit and have your foreign money exchanged. Its list of exchangeable currencies is almost the same as BPI. However, Security Bank also buys and sells Korean won.

Security Bank allows you to make 24/7 foreign exchange transactions online in real time through the Security Bank Secured Platform for Online Trade (SB SPOT). To access it, you need to comply with the following requirements:

  • A Security Bank online account
  • Enrolled and active US dollar and PH peso accounts in your online account
  • A maintaining balance worth $500
  • Other documents required by Security Bank

Foreign Exchange Shops and Counters in Malls

money changer in the Philippines - Foreign Exchange Shops and Counters in Malls

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.

Tips for Choosing a Money Changer in the Philippines

money changer in the Philippines - tips

We’ve compiled some useful tips that will help make foreign exchange much easier and more efficient and practical.

1. Avoid Changing Money at the Airport 

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 commuting upon arriving in the Philippines or in your foreign destination country.

To save time and effort, scout for money changers online before you arrive in the country. Don’t forget to read reviews to avoid getting scammed.

2. If Possible, Avoid Paying Commission

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.

3. Compare Rates Before You Exchange Money

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 the peso-dollar exchange rate and its impact on the economy and individuals. Aya Laraya shared and explained the basic dynamics of the exchange rate. Consequently, there are some surprising facts about the exchange rate that most Filipinos are not aware of.

4. Use Your Good Judgment

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.[6]

Final Thoughts

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 or highest currency rate that will give you the most value out of your money, check and compare the exchange rate of dollar to peso or other currencies for that matter.

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.

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Sources:

Venus leads the blog content strategy and optimization at Moneymax as the Head of Editorial Content. She has 15+ years of experience in content marketing, corporate communications, and public relations. Venus graduated cum laude with a Journalism degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman. Before joining Moneymax, Venus had written informative guides and articles, specializing in personal finance and digital marketing. She also invests in stocks, mutual funds, VUL, and Pag-IBIG MP2. A hardcore Hallyu Tita, she enjoys bingeing K-dramas on Netflix while bonding with her rescued cats. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.