Tell me. Is it just me, or do most Palaweños actually avoid opening bank accounts? Are the banks’ money requirements too restrictive? Is the application process lengthy and tedious? Do people just don’t find the need in a community like ours? Is it all of the above?

This doesn’t seem like a big deal. But bank accounts, and the associated savings and economic benefits, are actually a potent economic driver. I’m a strong advocate of having bank accounts and let me tell you why it benefits you and the public. 

Digital banks
The rise and growth of digital banks in our country remove many apprehensions. Digital banks have no (ZERO) maintaining balances and the application process is a breeze — anywhere from a few days to a few minutes. Oh, and applications are submitted online through a smartphone! No long queues nor costs associated with going to a bank. 

Not to mention the significantly higher interest rates of 2.5% to 6% or the available investment options in some — you can, in fact, gain exposure to international markets such as the United States. The higher earnings can be anything from 5x to 10x more in interests earned! Imagine earning 10 times more with minimal effort. If you’re still not convinced, then consider the commissions you could get from referrals.

And they’re PDIC-insured banks. Meaning you’re protected up to Php500,000. 

Myriad of benefits
Here’s a principle in macroeconomics: an economy’s total savings will equal its investments, and investments grow an economy. In other words, a higher saving rate leads to economic growth. 

Now, if you don’t care too much about macroeconomics, there are also direct benefits to you. 

Think about a community with digital banks. The freed-up time from long queues means improved productivity. Efficient payment systems (i.e., bank transfers and online payments to government agencies such as Pag-IBIG, BIR, etc.) are convenient, boosting trade and production. Community safety is improved without the large cash-on-hand by couriers and payroll staff. 

Everyone benefits from everyone having a bank. 

Opening one
There are a lot of notable digital banks you can open today and they include the following. Also, have a valid ID on hand for their verification process. 

  1. DiskarTech (RCBC)
  2. CIMB (Tie-up with GCash via GSave)
  3. Komo (EastWest Bank)
  4. ING Bank
  5. RBank (Robinsons Bank)
  6. Tonik

Most traditional banks have also ramped up their digital presence. These include BPI, UnionBank, BDO, Landbank, Metrobank, Security Bank, and Maybank.

The specific bank you choose matters less than just deciding to open a bank. 

Advancing the community
Business owners ought to invite their staff to open digital banks. Families and friends should encourage others.

The humble bank account is one of those highly influential factors that ironically go unnoticed. But the benefits can’t be denied. It furthers economic growth through the many ways mentioned — improved productivity, more convenience, higher earnings, and safety. 

We truly are fortunate to live in the age of technology.


Dan Dima-ala is a two-time real estate board exam top-notcher, real estate investor, entrepreneur, and former corporate finance professional. He has a degree in economics & finance and is a certified Accounting & Finance Mentor for GoNegosyo. As a financial freedom advocate, Dan shares his unique insights at freedom locker PH.

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