In this modern age of electronic connectivity, procuring a checking or current account seems like a step backward. In Europe, checks are nearly obsolete, and there was even a plan in the UK to abolish paper checks by 2018.
In the Philippines, the ability to issue old-fashioned paper checks remains very useful. According to a recent survey by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), majority of the Filipino population don’t even have bank accounts. Electronic, paperless systems like Singapore’s GIRO are definitely a long time coming here.
One can easily apply, even from overseas, for a checking account online at BPI Direct Savings Bank, the “virtual” subsidiary of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI). Their Maxi-One product is an all-purpose ATM savings and checking account. Simply visit their website, fill out the application form, click “Submit”, and wait for further instructions via email (usually within three weeks).
That’s it. The only time one needs to visit a BPI branch is to claim the checkbook and ATM card, and to comply with the following requirements:
- PHP 25, 000 initial deposit
- PHP 175 checkbook fee
- At least one (1) valid photo ID
- Recent 1 x 1 color photo
- Utility or credit card bill for address verification
One can even order new sets of checkbooks online through BPI Express Online.
Now, having a checking account is good and all, but maintaining it properly is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. After all, one can get heavily penalized, or worse, go to jail for issuing an insufficiently funded check under Batas Pambansa Bilang 22. Go easy on the check writing, and don’t let them bounce.