Top 9 Neobanks in the Philippines

Top 9 Neobanks in the Philippines

When you think of traditional banking, your mind may be filled with thoughts of dealing with mountains of paperwork and long lines that seem to go on for hours. But now, a new player has come into the game – neobanks.

Neobanks are changing the way people see financial institutions by proving that it’s possible for users to enjoy seamless experience, high interests, and low fees.

If you are curious about what the best neobanks are in the Philippines, you’ve come to the right page.

Here, we will give you a rundown of what a neobank is, its advantages and disadvantages, the most popular ones you can use today, and what you need to consider before opening a neobank account.

What is a Neobank?

Unlike traditional banks, neobanks or digital banks are direct banks that operate without any traditional physical branches. Instead of these physical branches, clients can only access digital banks through their phones or computers.

These fintech firms do best in specializing in certain financial products such as time deposits, checking, bills payment, and savings accounts, among many others.

With neobanks, you can enjoy paying bills, transferring funds, and adding money to your account without having to go to a physical location.

When it first became popular in the UK after the wake of the financial crisis, neobanks were called “challenger banks.” This is extremely apt considering how it challenged and transformed the banking sector.

Pros & Cons of Neobanks

As with anything else in life, there are both pros and cons to neobanks. Below is a breakdown of its advantages as well as disadvantages.

Pros

Accessible 24/7. Because neobanks can be accessed 24/7 through your phone or computer, you can make transactions at your convenience. With a neobank, you can make transactions even if you are in the middle of a business meeting, during a trip, or even if it’s in the middle of the night.

Simple Sign Up Process. When you sign up for a neobank, you can immediately deposit money into your account. This is because the process is focused on digital verification which is faster than other traditional verification methods.

Simple and Easy to Operate. Neobanks pride themselves on being easy to use and understand. The interface is designed in a manner that ensures users won’t be baffled by how to send money, check their funds, and do other activities.

No Waiting in Lines. With neobanks, you don’t have to worry about long lines while trying to do any transaction. You can finish it from the comfort of your home.

Great for the Earth. Because neobanks operate online, paperless transactions will take place. This means there will be fewer trees that will be cut down due to the rising demand for papers, envelopes, and other paper products that are used in traditional banking transactions. When you use neobanks, you’re saving the earth one paperless transaction at a time.

Low Fees. The low operating costs of neobanks allow them to charge lower fees than traditional banks. Some banks even offer no service fees for fund transfers.

Great Interest Rates. Traditional banks are notorious for their low interest rates. Depending on the bank you choose to store your money in, you can enjoy as high as 6% interest per annum.

Cons

No Branches. Because neobanks operate online, they don’t have physical branches which can be inconvenient for people who are more comfortable making transactions in person.

Harder to Invest. It’s hard to invest money with just an app on your phone. This is a problem for people who want to actively invest in their future but can’t do so because of the lack of mobile app offerings.

Saving Money is Harder. The convenience of neobanks also comes with a cost. Because it only takes a few seconds to pay with neobanks, it’s so easy to overspend. This means you have to be careful about spending within your budget.

Harder to Deposit Cash. While neobanks are slowly catching up with traditional banks offering over-the-counter services in establishments such as 7/11, Bayad Centers, and pawnshops, it’s still hard for Filipinos to deposit cash into their account.

More Prone to Scams. Because neobanks are entirely digital, they are more prone to phishing and other malicious attacks. Cyberattacks on neobanks are a common news item in the media. Thankfully, this can be prevented by being more careful.

Hard to Find In-Person Support. While online support is great for most things, there are instances when you need a human being to talk to. This is hard to find with neobanks.

No ATMs. Because neobanks don’t have physical branches, the closest you can get to withdraw your money is by using a traditional ATM. Because of this, you may be charged high fees.

Top Neobanks in the Philippines

Here are some of the most popular neobanks in the country.

Tonik Bank

As more digital banks make their entry into the country, Tonik has established its position as one of the most reliable ones.

Tonik is a digital bank that helps Filipinos closely monitor their finances from the comfort of their home. It is the first digital bank that received its license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas or BSP. All deposits made in Tonik are also insured by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation.

This platform is a favorite of many because of its high interest rates, which can be as much as 6% per annum on time deposit accounts. When you register for Tonik and upload an ID, you will immediately have access to tons of services.

Their solo and group stashes are a favorite among its users since it offers a convenient way to save for separate expenses such as your emergency funds, travel fund, or medical fund. Solo stashes can get up to 4% interest per annum, and group stashes get up to 4.5% interest per annum.

Features and Services

  • Free ATM withdrawals
  • Up to 6% interest rate per annum on time deposits accounts
  • Physical and virtual card
  • Stash and solo savings accounts
  • PDIC insured deposits up to a maximum of PHP 500,000 per depositor

How to Open an Account

  1. Download the Tonik app on Apple Store or Google Play
  2. Enter your mobile number
  3. Input the OTP sent in your mobile number
  4. Proceed with a selfie registration
  5. Select ID to upload
  6. Enter personal information
  7. Provide your signature
  8. Create a password

EON Bank

EONBank, brought by UnionBank, offers a 100% digital banking experience to Filipinos through its intuitive app that makes bills payment, top-ups, and deposits with only a few taps. Therefore, you can cover your financial needs without much effort.

You can offer different types of accounts with this neobank such as:

  • Eon starter (Php5,000 maximum monthly fund limit)
  • EON Lite (Php100,000 maximum monthly fund limit)
  • EON Plus (Php500,000 maximum monthly fund limit)
  • EON Pro (Php1 million maximum monthly fund limit)
  • EON Cyber (No maximum monthly fund limit)

Features and Services

  • Send and receive money
  • Shop online
  • Top up and buy load
  • Pay bills
  • Do in-store purchases
  • Pay in apps
  • Withdraw cash

How to Open an Account

  1. Download the app on App Store or Google PlayStore
  2. Select open an account
  3. Take a selfie and choose an ID to submit
  4. Create your username and password
  5. Provide additional information

Maya Bank

Formerly known as e-wallet platform PayMaya, Maya has evolved into becoming a one-stop banking app you can use for payments, credit, savings, and even crypto.

Maya Savings currently offers a high interest rate of 6% per annum until August 31, 2022. You’ll also have a virtual credit line where you can borrow as much as Php15,000 within the app to pay your bills.

With Maya Crypto, you can buy cryptocurrencies such as Tether, Solana, Ethereum, and Bitcoin with minimal fees. Finally, your Maya wallet also makes it easier for you to pay merchants.

Features and Services

  • Buyer Protect, Mobile Protect, and Personal protect
  • Savings
  • Credit
  • Crypto
  • Virtual and physical card

How to Open an Account

  1. Download the Maya app, or update your PayMaya app
  2. Click “Agree”
  3. Wait for the verification SMS, and enter the OTP
  4. Enter your details

Komo

Komo is a neobank service by EastWest. This digital banking service allows Filipinos to easily open and manage their account online and give them full control over their finances. Just like other neobanks, Komo also offers high interest rates of up to 2.5% per annum. It also offers Insurance.

Features and Services

  • Savings
  • Insurance (Troo Flex)
  • Bills payment
  • Customized debit card
  • Free fund transfers

How to Open an Account:

  1. Download the app on App Store or Google Play
  2. Answer a few questions and wait for your OTP
  3. Add your personal information
  4. Create your password
  5. Submit a valid ID and selfie
  6. Choose a name to be printed on your Komo Card

OFBank

Formerly known as Philippine Postal Savings Bank, Overseas Filipino Bank is a neobank by Landbank.

This is the first government neobank that is mandated to give accessible financial products and services that are specifically tailored for Overseas Filipino Workers. This neobank proves that being away from your loved ones should not get in the way of supporting them.

This bank also utilizes AI to facilitate an electronic know-your-customer process for online account opening.

Features and Services

  • Remittance
  • Credit facilities and financial assistance
  • Deposits
  • Loans
  • Treasury
  • Bills payment
  • Leasing facility

How to Open an Account

  1. Download the app on App Store or Google Play
  2. Register for an account

ING

If you’re looking for a platform that provides quick and easy banking so you can devote your time to the things you love doing, check out ING. This global bank operates in over 40 countries in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

ING has been in the Philippines since 1990 and since then, it has pioneered direct banking here. Throughout the years, ING has completely devoted their efforts to providing a seamless digital banking experience to Filipinos.

When you open an account with ING, you can enjoy higher interest rates compared to traditional banks. There is also no lock-in period and no minimum opening balance.

Features and Services

  • Mobile check deposit
  • Fund transfer
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Easy funding

How to Open an Account

  1. Download the app on App Store or Google play
  2. Set up mobile passcode
  3. Provide your personal information and necessary documents
  4. Wait for your application to be accepted

CIMB

Despite only launching in 2018, CIMB has cemented its status as one of the most popular neobanks in the Philippines.

This digital bank started in Malaysia and it aims to help Filipinos reach their financial goals by giving them the right tools and knowledge to make smart choices. With CMB, you can open different bank accounts including Fast Plus Account and Upsave Account. You can also open multiple Upsave accounts to help you separate your savings.

Features and Services

  • Fast and seamless transactions with InstaPay
  • Free fund transfers
  • Account management
  • Debit card management
  • Personal loans
  • Repay loans
  • Link GCredit to CIMB

How to Open an Account:

  1. Download the CIMB app for Philippines
  2. Click open an account
  3. Select the account you want to open
  4. Check your eligibility
  5. Prepare your valid ID
  6. Provide your mobile number and verify your OTP

Gcash

Arguably the most popular mobile wallet in the Philippines, Gcash is used by millions of Filipinos. With GCash, you can experience an elevated level of convenience in all your spending, whether you want to get a coffee in your favorite coffee shop, pay your utilities, or even book movies.

Through GCash, you can transact in just a matter of seconds and keep your money safe. This makes it a top choice for Filipinos who prefer cashless transactions.

Another feature of GCash that is worth noting is that users can enjoy planting virtual trees on GForest every time they use the app for transactions. These trees have real-life equivalents. Thanks to GForest, you can contribute to the country’s natural resources.

You can also link your CIMB bank account to your GCash account to easily move your funds to and from your digital wallets.

Features and Services

  • Bills payment
  • Fund transfer
  • Invest money
  • Book movies
  • Withdraw cash
  • Use GCredit
  • Buy and borrow load
  • Shop online
  • Buy in-store
  • Take advantage of GForest

How to Open an Account

It is possible to open a GCash account through the GCash website, Facebook Messenger, Globe *143# Sim Menu, and GCash app. Since registration via GCash app is the most popular and convenient choice for most people, this is what we will discuss below.

  1. Download the GCash app on App Store or Google Play Store
  2. Provide your mobile number (open to all networks)
  3. Enter the OTP sent on your mobile number
  4. Provide your details
  5. Set up your 4-digit PIN
  6. Verify your account by submitting a valid ID picture and selfie

UNObank

UNOBank is a credit-led digital bank that is set to do wonders to make banking simpler and more accessible. With the secure and trusted UNOBank app, you can easily manage your money whenever, wherever.

Unlike other neobanks, UNOBank will be centering its focus on offering loans to help meet the financial needs of Filipinos. This is helpful considering only 10% of Filipinos borrow for organized sectors.

Aside from lending for the mass and mass affluent and bridging the gap between unsecured and secured loans, they will also cater to savings, investments, transactions, and protection.

Features and Services

  • High interest savings rate
  • Immediate virtual debit card
  • No hidden fees
  • Pre-approved dynamic credit lien

How to Open an Account

UNOBank will launch in the Philippines soon. Join their mailing list to get notified of updates.

Things to Consider When Opening a Neobank Account

When deciding whether or not a neobank is right for you, you should take note of the following.

Ease of Transactions. This is probably the most important thing to consider before you sign up. You want to be able to make transactions easily and comfortably. You don’t want to need to spend a lot of time or include unnecessary steps.

Aside from that, try to see if your preferred neobank offers perks for transactions you constantly do. For example, if you constantly do fund transfers, you may want to look for a platform that doesn’t charge you for this.

Fees and Interest Rates. You want a neobank with low fees and interest rates that are competitive. This will enable you to get the most value for your money.

Account and Product Options. As with traditional banks, you want to make sure you are getting the right account to fit your needs. You don’t want to sign up for a neobank and realize later that it doesn’t have the accounts and products that you need or want.

Technology. Make sure your chosen platform is easy to use. This is especially important for older people. The more intuitive the interface is, the better.

International Use. Want to use your neobank when you’re abroad? Check if they support international use. You don’t want to find out that your digital bank can’t be used internationally when you are in a new, foreign country.

Support Channels. If you have problems with your neobank and need to contact customer support, how will you do so? Can you contact them through a phone call, email, or live chat?

You want a platform that will make your life easier and not the other way around. Find a neobank that offers quick and easy replies to your inquiries. It’s frustrating when you have a problem and can’t find the right place to get help.

Customer Reviews. The best way to check how a certain neobank operates is to check customer reviews and feedback. After all, there is no better source of information than actual users.

If you have friends or family members who have used neobanks before, ask them for their recommendations. This is the fastest way you can find a neobank that is worth your time and money. Doing this will also give you a better idea of the things you should expect from neobanks.

Jason Acidre is a financial literacy advocate and the publisher of Grit PH – one of the fastest-growing online publishing platforms in the financial & business space in the Philippines.