Currency credit cards money and tipping in the Philippines

The Philippines is an archipelago bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the east the Bashi Channel to the north the Sulu and the Celebes Seas to the south. You can find us East of Vietnam, North of Indonesia The country is divided into the geographical areas of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Its capital, the City of Manila, is in Luzon. You can also enter through the cities of Cebu in the Visayas, and Davao in Mindanao.


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Money Matters

Currency money and credit cards in the Philippines
The currency in the Philippines is the called the peso (P or Php) Banknotes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 2000 pesos.
Coins are in 10, 5, 1, 25c and 10c pieces.

You will need to get Peso to pay for everything in the Philippines foreign currencies are accepted in a few touristy places but at very bad exchang rates you are best advised to change your cash at an exchange or bank or use an ATM to take out local cash.

ATMs cash machines
The safest way is to have a credit card, cash card or debit card with which you can draw cash out of one of the many ATMs throughout the country all major towns have them they area a little more scarce in the rural areas so stack up in towns before travelling out and about.

The ATMs work by debiting either your credit card or bank account (with debit card) in your own currency while feeding you local currency out of the machine, this means you will be subject to the exchange rate that they set and some banks have additional fees for withdrawing cash (especially with credit cards) you should also let your bank know you are travelling to the Philippines and that you intend to use your cards there in case they think it is a fraud transaction and block your card until you go to your local bank with ID - not ideal if you are in a nother country on holiday!

Credit, debit and cash cards can be used to get cash or cash advances from thousands of ATMs throughout the country. Check with your bank or credit-card company (or look on the back of your card) to see which ATM network your card is connected to. For getting cash, Cirrus and Plus are the most widely accepted; for cash advances, MasterCard is the most widely accepted, followed by Visa.

Cash advances from ATMs are in local currency, and may be subject to a daily withdrawal limit. Metrobank and Equitable PCI ATMs have cash withdrawal limits of P4000 and P5000, respectively. HSBC machines have no limits - you're only limited by your own bank's daily withdrawal limit.

Particularly in the big cities, ATMs operate 24 hours daily, and can be found in department stores, supermarkets and shopping malls, in addition to banks.

It is ideal to carry some cash on you so you are not entirely reliant on your plastic, US Dollars are the best and most widely accepted but Euros are also easy to change Aussie Dollar and British Pounds can be changed at all major banks, Chinese and Korean currency is normally changable at all major banks and many foreign exchange kiosks but not in rural areas.

Credit cards
Many shops, restaurants, hotels and resorts accept payment by plastic, and credit-card cash advances are possible in larger towns and cities; in small towns and on islands rarely visited there are often no provisions for credit cards (Palawan, in particular, has few places that accept credit cards).

A shop-front sign that reads 'Visa accepted' or 'MasterCard accepted' may well refer only to the Philippines-issued version, so check with the shop personnel by showing them your card. Also note that some establishments will try to add (at times surreptitiously) a surcharge to your bill when you pay with a credit card, on the grounds that they themselves have to pay a surcharge to the credit-card company. It's all up to you whether to accept this rather irritating practice or not. You may be able to avoid this charge by using another card.

There are incidents of credit-card fraud in the Philippines, as in many other countries. To prevent this, keep a close eye on your card at all times - never, for example, allow a shop clerk to disappear into a back room with it (where someone would be able to make several imprints with your card). Likewise, keep a careful record of all your credit-card transactions while in the Philippines, save your receipts, and check your credit-card statements.

You can get cash advances with credit cards from many ATMs and banks in the Philippines. Note that this is different from simply getting cash from your account with a cash or debit card - a cash advance is like a credit-card purchase in that you must pay it back, and with interest if you don't pay your account in full each month. Also keep in mind that there may not be any ATMs or banks in smaller towns and rural areas, so, as usual, it pays to cash up (within reasonable limits) before heading into the sticks.

While many ATMs in the Philippines accept cash cards linked to the Cirrus and Plus networks, far fewer are linked to international credit-card networks, such as MasterCard and Visa. If the ATM in question does not accept your credit card, it may still be possible to get an over-the-counter cash advance from the bank. However, this can be a slow and tedious procedure.

Equitable PCI Banks will issue cash advances for most major cards, including MasterCard and Visa, so this is usually a good bet, but be warned that only one branch in any town is likely to offer this service, so you may have to travel to find the correct branch.

Moneychangers are usually easy to find in the commercial centres of most cities; some department stores and shopping malls also have moneychangers on the premises. Moneychangers usually offer the best rates, but they are also notorious for all manner of short-change scams and rip-offs. Because of the risk of rip-offs, it's best to use moneychangers selectively - if possible, change your cash or travellers cheques at a bank, hotel or resort, even if the rate is usually lower than at a moneychanger.

In Manila you should have no trouble changing US dollars, British pounds or euros; Japanese yen is also widely accepted, as are Canadian and Australian dollars, ASEAN currencies, and some currencies from the Middle East.

There are no particular hassles with exchanging pesos when you leave, unless you're carrying a huge amount. But even then your only problem might be locating a moneychanger with enough US dollars to change them into.

1 Philippine Peso (Php) = 100 centavos.
Bank notes: Php20, Php50, Php100, Php200, Php500, Php1,000.
Coins: 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, Php1, Php5, Php10.

Foreign currency may be exchanged at most hotels, and in most of the large department stores, banks and authorized money changing shops. Exchanging money anywhere else is illegal and the laws are strictly enforced.

Feel free to tip waiters, drivers, porters, housekeepers, salon staff, barbers, and other service providers.
A tip of 10% of the total bill is the usual practice. But if the bill already includes a 10% service charge, tipping is optional.

Private and government offices are usually open between 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Most banks close by 4:00 p.m. But ATMs – some with Cirrus, Citi and Maestro tie-ups for international withdrawals – are common in most cities and major towns.

Most shopping malls, department stores, and supermarkets are open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., with hours extending until 10:00 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

They usually stay open until 11pm during peak Christmas season. You can also watch out for the Midnight Sales, when they stay open until, well, midnight.

Thanks to the Philippines’ fast growing Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry, more and more establishments in major cities have 24/7 service. Apart from convenience stores, fast-food outlets like McDonald’s and Jollibee can serve up your burger while your body clock’s still adjusting.

Visa, Diners Club, Mastercard, American Express & JBC and other credit and debit cards are widely accepted at major stores, restaurants, and hotels.

Foreign exchange regulations
It is illegal for any incoming or outgoing passenger to bring in or take out Philippine Pesos in excess of P10,000.00 without prior authority from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Any violation of this rule may lead to the money’s seizure and civil penalties and/or criminal prosecution. (BSP Circular 98-1995)

The transportation of foreign currency or monetary instruments is legal. However, the carrying of foreign currency in excess of US$10,000.00 or its equivalent in other foreign currencies must be declared to a Customs Officer or the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Violation of this rule may lead to seizure and sanctions, fines and / or penalties.

For more information about Bureau of Customs Passengers Guidelines, visit

Exchange rate
The Philippines has been experiencing a lift in its credit rating & general economic health. The Peso is currently stabilizing.
You can have your currency exchanged at most hotels, malls, banks and money exchange facilities.