What’s the best bank to open a savings account?
The Bank of the Philippine Islands or BPI savings account is surely among the Filipinos’ top choices.
If you’re reading this, you’re likely considering opening an account with BPI for saving, safekeeping, or managing your money. You may need a payroll account to receive a salary. Or you need an account for your small business where customers can deposit their payments.
Whatever your purpose is for starting a bank account, this first-timer’s guide will help you choose the right BPI savings account and everything you need to open one.
Table of Contents
Why Choose BPI Savings Account?
Remember that your choice of bank and savings account will affect your finances. So before you open a BPI account, carefully weigh its pros and cons.
Benefits of Having a BPI Savings Account
a. BPI’s financial stability
Established in 1851, BPI is the oldest bank in the Philippines. For over a century, the bank has survived World War II, the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the 2008 global recession, and several coup attempts.
BPI is also the fourth largest bank in the country based on total assets, according to the latest data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas1. It boasts of having over eight million depositors nationwide.
In addition, the BPI prides itself on winning awards and recognitions from international award-giving bodies. Recently, BPI was awarded the title “best sustainable bank in the Philippines”2 in the 2021 FinanceAsia Country Awards.
For this reason, BPI is among the most trusted banks in the Philippines. If you put your money in BPI, you can rest easy knowing its funds won’t get depleted and the bank won’t close down, at least in your lifetime.
BPI is among the banks with the most branches and ATM networks in the Philippines. It has over 900 branches and is further expanding by 20 to 30 branches annually 3.
Customers can access over 3,000 ATMs, cash-accept machines nationwide, and over 800,000 Cirrus ATMs worldwide.
If you have a BPI savings account, you won’t have a problem finding an ATM, even in remote areas.
BPI makes banking convenient through its online and mobile banking facilities, cash-accept machines, and some branches open on weekends.
The BPI Express Assist (BEA)4 Online facility lets customers reserve a timeslot via BPI Express Online to avoid lining up in a BPI branch.
d. Ease of account opening
BPI makes opening a deposit account easier on the pocket through its savings accounts with a low required initial deposit and maintaining balance. You can start an account for as low as Php 15, and you won’t have to worry about getting your balance deducted due to insufficient funds.
Drawbacks of Having a BPI Savings Account
a. Poor customer service
Like other major banks in the Philippines, BPI is often plagued with complaints about its customer service. It’s hard to reach a customer support agent through its hotline.
b. Long queues at BPI branches
Unless you book an appointment through BEA Online, you’ll spend more than 30 minutes up to an hour lining up in a BPI branch, especially during peak hours.
c. Online banking security issues and system errors
If you aren’t careful with your online and offline transactions with BPI, you risk falling victim to email phishing attacks and unauthorized ATM withdrawals.
Customers have reported receiving emails with links to a fake BPI log-in site that collects personal information, an apparent move to steal one’s identity and make unauthorized transactions.
And who can forget BPI’s system glitch in June 20176 that kept customers from getting access to their funds? Although it wasn’t a hacking case, the glitch caused so much hassle to BPI account holders who needed to withdraw money for urgent financial needs.
Related Article: How to Open a BDO Savings Account: An Ultimate Guide
Is BPI and BPI Family Savings Bank the Same?
Yes, after BPI recently decided to absorb BPI Family Savings Bank to serve their customers better. However, the merger between the two banks to create “One BPI” won’t be official until January 1, 2022, when the Securities and Exchange Commission will finally issue them the Certificate of Merger7.
Before the merger, BPI and BPI Family Savings Bank were considered separate entities, with the latter being a subsidiary of the former. For this reason, BPI customers couldn’t deposit cash, withdraw money, pay their loans, or complete other important transactions in BPI Family Savings, and vice versa.
As “One BPI,” the two banks can now give their customers access to a broader range of products and services under one roof.
Requirements for Opening a BPI Account
The following is a list of BPI savings account requirements.
1. One valid ID (original + photocopy)
BPI requires an unexpired government-issued ID with your photo and signature.
Although the branch may have a photocopier, it’s better to have your documents photocopied before you go to the bank. This will save you time instead of waiting for the teller to photocopy all your documents.
Submit only one of the following IDs8 that BPI accepts for account opening:
1. PhilID (or the Philippine National ID); or
2. Any of the following government-issued valid IDs or identification documents:
- Philippine Passport
- LTO Driver’s License
- Postal ID
- Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) ID
- Social Security System (SSS) ID
If you are a student, you have to prepare any of the following documents (original and photocopy):
- PhilID (or the Philippine National ID)
- School ID (with the signature of your Principal or School Head)
- PSA Birth Certificate
Important Note: According to our readers who personally applied for a BPI savings account, IDs such as Philhealth ID, TIN ID, and Barangay Clearance are not accepted for the BPI Savings Account application.
2. Proof of billing
BPI needs your latest utility bill to verify your billing address and ensure your account statements are delivered.
You may submit a billing statement for electricity, water, phone, internet, cable, or credit card.
The proof of billing can be under a different person’s name as long as you live at the address indicated.
If you’re renting a home and the utility bill isn’t under your name, submit a Barangay Certification with “bank requirements” stated as the purpose. Or submit an authorization letter from the person whose name is on the billing statement.
3. 1×1 ID picture
An ID picture is needed to prove your identity. This will be attached to a signature card along with your multiple signatures when you open a BPI savings account.
The TIN is a new requirement for opening a BPI account. You’ll indicate your TIN on your account opening forms.
Only the number will do—no need to submit a TIN ID or card if it’s lost.
You can find your TIN in the income tax return (ITR) issued to you by your employer every year.
If you’re unemployed, you may still secure a TIN as long as you submit the following requirements to the BIR revenue district office (RDO) in your area:
- Duly accomplished BIR Form 1904.
- Any official document with the applicant’s name, birth date, and address (e.g., PSA-issued birth certificate, community tax certificate/cedula, passport, driver’s license, etc.).
- Marriage certificate (for married women).
- Barangay Certification.
- Certification or endorsement from BPI that you’ll open a bank account.
5. Initial deposit
The amount you must bring depends on your preferred savings account type.
The required opening balance for BPI savings accounts ranges from Php 3,000 to Php 100,000. You don’t have to pay an initial deposit to open a BPI Padala Moneyger or Save-Up.
If the initial deposit for your chosen account is lower than the required maintaining balance, you’ll have to deposit the difference within one month after opening your account. Failure to do so will lead to the deactivation of your BPI savings account.
How To Open Account in BPI: 6 Easy Steps
This first-timer’s guide will help you choose the right BPI savings account and teach you everything you need to know to open one today.
1. Choose the best BPI savings account that suits your needs
Once you’ve decided to go with BPI, choose the type of savings account you want to open.
BPI offers over ten savings accounts that suit different needs, purposes, and budgets.
There are savings accounts designed for kids, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families, parents securing their children’s future, and low-income earners.
You can try answering this 5-item test from BPI to give you an idea of which BPI savings account suits you best.
The bank’s subsidiaries—BPI Family Savings Bank and BPI Direct Savings Bank—also have their own savings product offerings.
BPI Family Savings is the biggest thrift bank in the Philippines, while BPI Direct is a virtual bank that operates only on the Internet and over the phone.
By January 2022, however, BPI will officially merge with BPI Family Savings to cut costs and better serve their customers. After the merger, they will be known as “One BPI.”
2. Complete all BPI Savings Account requirements
Prepare the requirements to speed up your BPI account opening and avoid returning to complete the process.
3. Visit a BPI branch
Go to your preferred BPI branch during banking hours.
Most BPI branches are open Mondays to Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 9. Those in malls extend to 6 p.m. or 7:30 p.m., like SM Megamall and Glorietta 4 branches.
Select BPI branches also operate on Saturdays.
If you plan to open a BPI Direct savings account, you must do it in a BPI branch.
Don’t forget to bring the original copy and photocopy of the requirements.
The following is an overview of what you should expect to do upon arrival at your chosen BPI branch:
- Approach the New Accounts section and inform any available teller that you’ll open a savings account. Tell the staff also which BPI account you want to get.
- Fill out an application form. The teller will hand you the account opening forms to fill out and ask for your documents. Fill out all the forms, ensuring you provide complete and accurate information. Double-check the forms before returning them to the teller.
- Pay the initial deposit. Wait while the teller is processing your BPI account application. Once done, pay the required initial deposit based on your chosen savings account.
4. Wait for your account activation
Your new BPI savings account will be activated within 24 to 48 hours. Until then, you can’t transact yet using your new account.
5. Claim your ATM card or passbook
After five to seven banking days, return to the BPI branch where you opened your account. Present your valid ID and BPI savings account number to pick up your ATM/debit card and/or passbook.
6. Change your PIN
Your new ATM card comes with a temporary PIN. For security purposes, change it within two days from the card receipt.
Here’s how to change your ATM card’s PIN:
1. Go to the nearest BPI ATM.
2. Insert your ATM/debit card into the card slot.
3. Select a language.
4. Press the button next to Change PIN.
5. Enter your new four-digit PIN and re-enter it.
6. The screen will show “Do you want a receipt?” Select “Yes” or “No.”
7. Enter the old temporary PIN. You can find it on the paper where your new ATM card was attached.
8. “Successful PIN change” will appear on the screen. If the PIN change failed, you’d have to do it again.
9. Once you’ve changed your PIN, you can use your card with your new PIN.
How To Open a BPI Savings Account Online
If you prefer to start your financial journey with BPI in the comfort of your home, you can open a BPI Savings Account online through the BPI mobile app.
Take note that the type of BPI Savings Account that you will have upon opening an account online is the BPI #SaveUp digital product (as of this writing, it is the only savings account available).
Here are the steps to open a BPI savings account online:
- Download the BPI mobile app from the Google Play Store or App Store.
- Select Open an account now.
- Tap Create a bank account. Upon selecting this, you will see the list of valid IDs you need to create an account (kindly refer to this article’s “Requirements for Opening a BPI Account” section for more info). Click the Continue button.
- Answer the question asking whether you are at least 18-year-old Filipino with a permanent Filipino address.
- Read the privacy statement and select Confirm.
- Enter your mobile number and email address. Then, provide the answer to the mathematical question, select Confirm and continue.
- Enter the one-time PIN (OTP) sent to you via SMS.
- Upon entering the correct OTP, you will see the relevant details about BPI #SaveUp. You can also select if you want to receive a BPI ePay Mastercard, a separate e-wallet for online purchases (optional).
- Read the BPI #SaveUp Terms and Conditions. Afterward, please tick the checkbox, and select I agree.
- Enter your details, including your name, mother’s maiden name, birth date, country of birth, and place of birth.
- Tap Verify Identification and select the type of valid ID you will upload. Select Confirm.
- Select Let’s scan, then scan your valid ID. To properly scan your ID, place it within the scanning frame. Ensure the ID’s information is readable and clear. After scanning, select Okay to proceed.
- Take a selfie to verify your identity. Make sure that while taking a selfie, your face is in the center of the screen, and you are not covering your face in any manner (eyeglasses, scarf, etc.). Aim also for good lighting while taking the selfie.
- Complete the additional details, then review your application.
- Create your account’s username and password.
- Once you have your username and password, your account is created. Your deposit account number will also appear on your screen. You can also read the instructions on how to fund your account. Note that you must fund your account within seven days to avoid the closure of the account. You can fund your account via Instapay, CAM cardless deposit, GCash, or any BPI branch.
Tips and Warnings
1. Open an account at the BPI branch closest to your home
For your convenience, open a BPI savings account at your nearest branch.
While you can deposit cash and pay bills at any BPI branch, there are transactions you can do only at the branch where you opened your account.
For example, you can update your personal information or have your lost ATM card replaced only at your branch of account. Imagine having to travel far, for instance, to your branch of account in Pampanga if you live in Alabang to perform these transactions.
To find nearby branches, you may use Google Maps—enter “BPI [city/town/province],” and the search engine will show BPI branches within your area.
What if a BPI branch near my workplace is more accessible? you wonder. Well, you’d better make sure to keep your job for long. If you tend to hop from job to job, having your branch of account near your home is better.
If you often move house, your safest bet is a BPI branch in an accessible mall.
2. Contact BPI through Facebook or Twitter for account opening inquiries
Interestingly, BPI responds faster to Facebook comments than to private messages on Messenger.
3. Register a BPI Online account via BPI mobile app or browser
Performing transactions using your BPI savings account is much easier and faster with BPI’s online and mobile banking facilities than over-the-counter and ATMs. No need to queue for hours!
BPI Online and BPI mobile app allow banking on the go. You can check your account balance, transfer funds, pay bills, reload your cell phone, and do other transactions without leaving your home or in transit.
You can register a BPI Online account using the BPI mobile app. Here are the steps to do so:
- Download and install BPI Mobile App from Google Playstore or App Store.
- Click Register Now.
- Enter the required information for identity verification.
- Select Deposit Account.
- Enter your deposit account number.
- Create your BPI Online account username and password.
- Enter your email address, read the terms and conditions, and tick the checkbox.
- Wait for the one-time PIN (OTP) sent to you via SMS. Once you have the OTP, please enter it in the required field. Tap Submit to continue.
There you go! You already have a BPI Online account.
You can also create a BPI Online account directly on your web browser through the BPI website. To create an account:
- Visit the BPI Online site.
- Select Register Now.
- Select BPI Deposit Account.
- Provide your deposit account number and birthdate. Complete the captcha and click the Next button.
- Nominate a username and password for your BPI Online account
- Provide your email address and click Submit to continue. Afterward, select Yes, send me the code so you can proceed to the next step.
- You will receive a one-time PIN via SMS. Enter the OTP.
That’s it! You have already created your BPI online account.
You can now use the username and password you have provided to log in to your BPI online account.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Which bank is better to open a savings account with–BPI or BDO?
The better choice depends not just on the savings account features but also on the quality of the banking experience. Up to you to choose which one better matches your preferences and needs.
To help you decide, here are several considerations based on customer feedback posted online:
Reasons to get a BPI savings account:
a. Better online and mobile banking experience. BPI Online and BPI mobile app are more seamless and easier to use. You can also create a BPI #SaveUp account using only your smartphone and without going to a BPI branch.
b. More efficient in-branch transactions. BPI Express Assist machines automate over-the-counter transactions—no need to fill out a deposit or payment slip. BPI tellers also won’t need to input details because the machine automatically generates them on their system.
c. Online appointment system. This reduces a customer’s waiting time in a branch by 15 to 30 minutes.
d. More deposit machines nationwide. BPI Cash Accept Machines have a more comprehensive presence (518) than BDO Cash Deposit Machines (almost 400).
e. No service fees on intra-regional deposits and withdrawals. Unlike BDO, BPI doesn’t charge a fee for transactions in any branch other than the branch of account within the same region. For inter-regional transactions, BPI started charging service fees (Php 50 per deposit and Php 100 per withdrawal) in January 2019.
Reasons to get a BDO savings account:
a. Easier account opening requirements. BDO approves applications even without a TIN. Also, no need to bring an ID picture because BDO tellers use a small camera to take each applicant’s photo.
b. More branches open beyond 4 p.m. and on weekends. BDO branches in SM malls have longer banking hours, with some even serving customers on Sundays.
c. More secure online banking. BDO sends a one-time password (OTP) to ensure only account holders can access their online accounts. It also has a Lock ATM Card feature to protect against the unauthorized use of lost or stolen debit cards.
2. Which is better: a BPI ATM or a passbook account?
The right type of savings account depends on what you’ll use it for. If you want to save money (which means you won’t access it often), a passbook savings account is the better choice. It’s also safer than an ATM account because it isn’t prone to ATM skimming. If you use a bank account mainly for spending (like cashless shopping and bills payment) and need regular access to cash, then having an ATM savings account makes more sense. The advantage of ATM accounts over passbook accounts is their lower required initial deposit and maintaining balance.
3. Can students get a BPI savings account? Does BPI accept school IDs?
Yes. The bank offers a savings account—BPI Jumpstart Savings—for elementary and high school students aged 10 to 17. College students can avail themselves of a savings account that’s easy on the budget.
BPI charges a Php 5 debit fee for every ATM withdrawal or cashless transaction using the ATM card. A Php 100 is set on top of the debit fee for every over-the-counter withdrawal.
A BPI account worth considering is BPI Direct’s Express Teller Savings. You can open an account for only Php 500. It also has a low maintaining balance of Php 500. This is the best option for college students who need a bank account to receive their school allowance.
BPI accepts school ID for student applicants if it has the principal or head of school’s signature.
The bank also requires students to provide contact numbers when opening an account.
Students below 18 years old need to be accompanied by a guardian during account opening.
4. I’m an OFW and am currently based abroad. Can I have someone in the Philippines open a BPI account for me?
BPI requires all applicants, including OFWs, to personally open an account. The bank must verify one’s identity, so it doesn’t accept applications through representatives. Neither does it offer an online account opening facility.
If you are working overseas and want a BPI savings account, BPI may process your account opening abroad if you live or work in an area with a BPI branch or remittance center. BPI’s overseas locations include Hong Kong, Tokyo, Dubai, and London.
If you can’t open an account abroad, visit a BPI or BPI Family Savings branch on your next return to the Philippines. Present the BPI requirements plus any proof of being an OFW (e.g., OFW ID, OWWA ID, Seaman’s Book, work permit, overseas employment certificate, etc.).
5. How can I open a joint savings account with BPI?
The account opening requirements and process for joint savings accounts are identical to individual accounts. Each applicant must provide his or her documents and be present at the bank to sign the forms.
All joint account holders must also return to their branch of account to claim their ATM cards or passbooks together.
6. Can foreigners apply for a BPI savings account?
Yes. Expats or foreigners living in the Philippines for six months or longer can open a savings account with BPI or any bank. However, foreign tourists and non-residents on a short stay in the country cannot get a Philippine savings account.
Opening a bank account for foreign residents is similar to that for Filipino citizens. Banks require the foreigner applicant’s passport and Alien Certificate of Registration(ACR I-Card). BPI also accepts the Immigrant Certificate of Registration (ICR) as proof of address in the Philippines.
7. How do I deposit into my new BPI account?
You can deposit cash or check over the counter in any BPI branch.
Follow these steps:
Step 1: Claim a queue number from the BPI Express Assist kiosk at the bank’s entrance. To start, tap the screen and choose “Deposit” as your transaction. Enter your account number and the amount you’ll deposit. Then get your printed queue number.
Step 2: Wait for the teller to call your queue number. You’ll also see your number flashed on an LCD screen when it’s your turn.
Step 3: Give the teller your queue number and the cash or check you’ll deposit.
Step 4: Wait for the teller to issue your deposit slip that confirms your successful transaction.
A quicker way to deposit cash to your savings account is using a cash accept machine in select BPI branches. It’s like an ATM that accepts and credits real-time cash deposits.
Here’s how to make a deposit through a BPI cash accept machine:
Step 1: Insert your ATM card into the card slot.
Step 2: Choose “Deposit.”
Step 3: Enter your PIN.
Step 4: When the bin opens, put your bills in it.
Step 5: Tap the “Add Deposit” button to confirm your deposit.
Step 6: Get your transaction receipt from the machine.
You may also deposit cash without your ATM card. The procedure is the same, except you must enter your savings account number instead of your PIN.
8. What will happen to my account if it falls below the required maintaining balance?
Each time you go below the required maintaining balance for two months, a Php 300 service charge will be deducted from your account. This doesn’t apply to accounts without maintaining balance (Kaya Savings, Padala Moneyger, Pamana Padala, and BPInoy Savings).
If your account falls below the maintaining balance and has no client-initiated transaction for two years, it will incur a monthly dormancy charge of Php 30.
Staying below the maintaining balance and having no transactions in your account will result in continuous deductions, eventually leading to your account’s closure.
9. What are the BPI bank code and SWIFT code?
To ensure a more secure and easier financial transaction, identification codes have been designated to banks or their specific branches. These codes are known as bank codes and SWIFT codes. Here are BPI’s bank code and SWIFT code.
- Ranking of Universal and Commercial Banks in the Philippines as to Total Assets. (2021). Retrieved 23 November 2021, from https://www.bsp.gov.ph/Statistics/Financial%20Statements/Commercial/assets.aspx
- BPI posts 2Q2021 net income of Php 6.8 billion. (2021). Retrieved 23 November 2021, from https://www.bpi.com.ph/media/pressreleases/q2-2021-net-income
- Vidal, K. (2018). BPI looking to put up 20-30 branches annually. Retrieved 4 August 2020, from https://www.bworldonline.com/bpi-looking-to-put-up-20-30-branches-annually/
- How to set your appointments in BPI Online. Retrieved 23 November 2021, from https://www.bpi.com.ph/digital-banking/bea-online
- #SaveUp. Retrieved 23 November 2021, from https://www.bpi.com.ph/bank/savings/digital-saveup
- Ager, M. (2017). BPI says ‘human error’ caused banking glitch. Retrieved 4 August 2020, from https://business.inquirer.net/231748/bpi-says-human-error-caused-banking-glitch
- Noble, L. (2021). BPI merger with savings unit effective by 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2021, from https://www.bworldonline.com/bpi-merger-with-savings-unit-effective-by-2022/
- List of Acceptable IDs. (2021). Retrieved 23 November 2021, from https://www.bpi.com.ph/bank/savings/list-of-acceptable-ids
- Branch Advisory: List of Closed Branches as of November 23, 2021. (2021). Retrieved 23 November 2021, from https://www.bpi.com.ph/announcements/branch-schedule-2021