Unsurprisingly, remittance centers mushroomed all over the country. Although these centers are the most common way to send money to the Philippines, they're by no means the only way. You can also transfer cash from abroad to the Philippines via:
Pros: PayPal is easy and free to set up. Just open a compatible bank account (like Unionbank EON), use a valid e-mail to open your PayPal account, and link the two together. The site has a built-in currency converter, which comes in handy if you're transferring U.S. dollars to a peso account. You can also use PayPal instead of credit cards to purchase goods online.
Cons: PayPal charges a hefty percentage on top of the value of each transaction. If you're withdrawing directly to a Philippine bank account, it takes up to 4 business days for the balance to show up. Since PayPal is an online service, there's a chance your account can get hacked, and your personal info compromised.
Pros: If you and your recipient live oceans apart, Western Union (WU) is a good way to send money in a jiffy. It has outlets all over the Philippines, and allows you to deal with a flesh-and-blood agent who can help you with any concern. Your recipient doesn't need a bank account to withdraw the cash you send: The only things s/he needs are a valid ID, the money transfer control number (MTCN) and a blank form (for non-members and first-time WU users).
Cons: This convenience comes at a (literal) high price. Also, if your recipient doesn't have a WU near them, it can be a hassle on their part to retrieve the money.
Bank Wire Transfers
Pros: Some banks charge a fixed amount per transaction — regardless of the amount transferred — effectively making this cheaper than services like PayPal. You can also do this online, interbank and internationally (though you should ask your local bank for more details about this).
Cons: Whether you save money on this method depends on your bank. If your recipient doesn't have a bank account of his/her own, that can be a problem.
Pros: Bitcoin is probably the most convenient form of currency available. You can transfer it in any amount to anywhere in the world at any time, as though you're handing out cash to a person right in front of you. It's also secure, transparent and doesn't require you to cough up astronomical transaction fees.
Cons: As a relatively new currency, Bitcoin still has a ton of kinks to iron. Unless your recipient is knowledgeable about this type of currency, they probably won't have any idea how to convert this into usable cash. There's also the volatility risk inherent in Bitcoins, which have a fixed supply but increasing demand.
Pros: Similar to PayPal, signing up for Xoom is free and easy. Your recipient doesn't have to wait for days for the money to show up in their account. (In fact, some users report that it takes less than an hour.) Xoom claims to charge lower fees compared to other money transfer services.
Cons: In some instances, Xoom puts the money "on hold" for too long. Some customers claim that their agents ask for more documents than is convenient/comfortable. Just last year, the company fell victim to a fraudulent money transfer scheme.
Pros: There are only three steps to using this service: Choose country, fill in recipient details, and send. The fees are less than 1 percent of the total amount sent, and the funds go directly to your recipient's bank account.
Cons: Depending on where you live, there may be a limit to how much you can send at a time.
Pros: Like World Remit, Remitly deposits directly into your recipient's bank account. The fees are relatively low (e.g. if you're sending money to the Philippines on "Express" mode, you'll be charged US$5). If you meet certain criteria, those extra fees may be waived altogether. Money transfer can be as fast as five minutes.
Cons: Similar to Xoom, Remitly had customers who complained that the service put their money "on hold" for too long.
Pros: Transferwise minimizes exchange rate costs by "matching" currency flows. For example, if you want to convert US dollars to pesos, the system will find someone who wants to convert pesos to dollars. The transfer fees are also reasonable: If you're sending to the Philippines, you'll be charged between Php145 to one percent of the amount transferred, depending on whether it meets the "minimum threshold."
Cons: The company doesn't have many negative reviews online. That doesn't mean it has no flaws whatsoever, though.
As you can see, all of these services have their pros and cons. If you plan to use them as alternatives to remittance centers, make sure you put the necessary security measures in place. Stay safe, and have a great weekend!