I was looking for a way to receive Google AdSense payments that doesn’t involve a check sent by mail (I’m sorry but I don’t trust our postal service) and chanced upon a post by someone who said they get theirs through wire transfer using a Union Bank savings account.
It brought back a lot of memories from when my husband and I were starting out with our remote careers. At the time, we couldn’t get credit cards yet and Union Bank was the only bank here that had a debit card that could be used to verify a Paypal account. Ah, those were the days.
Now, Union Bank has evolved into one of the top banks in the country in terms of accessibility and being digital-forward. It’s also been given a license to operate as a digital bank this year.
I’ve heard about how easy it is to open up a savings account with them — at home, no less — but never had a reason to do so until now. Let me tell you this: when they said it was going to be easy, they weren’t lying.
How I opened a Union Bank savings account
I downloaded the Union Bank app on my phone and started the process there.
- Fill out the form with your details.
- Take a photo of a valid ID. (I used my passport. Other IDs you can use are a Driver’s License, SSS ID, PRC ID, Postal ID or UMID Card.)
- Take a photo of yourself and include signature specimens — just like how you would if it were in an in-person application.
- Get the confirmation and you’re done — really.
After following the steps, I logged on to my account and was surprised to see that I already had a savings account number!
There is also an option to request a physical card, and of course, I got one. I did it through the app as well. I just went to my account on the app and requested one! I got a confirmation through text and was told to wait between 5 and 10 business days before the card arrives. It was a delightful surprise that it arrived exactly after 5 business days.
The card can be activated online too. I just went to the app and tapped ‘Manage Cards’ to activate it and was done!
Why I opened a personal savings account
I opted for the personal savings account because I first intended to use it just for my AdSense earnings, but after finding out about the other services and features Union Bank offers, I decided to ask the company I work for to send my salary to my new account instead.
One of the things I like about Union Bank is you can transfer to any bank account in the Philippines without a fee. This works great if you can wait for the transfer to come in the next day or two banking days depending on when you send it. Nothing a little planning and scheduling can’t help you accomplish!
For comparison, I have a BPI savings account. We used to use it to send our monthly rent; the recipient has a Security Bank account and BPI charges us P25(!) per transaction. We’ve been doing so for a year and four months now. That’s P400 we could’ve used for something else.
The Union Bank personal savings account also doesn’t require an initial deposit, which is really convenient for those who just need to open an account right away. There is, however, an annual fee of P350 because of this — but it’s waived on the first year. With the fees I save from transferring to other banks, though, I can already pay the annual fee.
Extra features I like
The app can be a pain in the butt sometimes. There are times when it works fast but other times, you wait for an OTP through SMS which is valid for 2 minutes and don’t get it till maybe 10 minutes later. (Update: The app went through an update and is now working smoothly!)
Its features are still really great though. Aside from scheduling bills payment, I also like that it has this feature where you can choose to allot a portion of the amount in your savings account to different goals. I set one up for finally completing our emergency fund. I like that it’s still technically in your total amount but you see that it’s set apart from the money that you’re still able to touch.
You can also get an insurance plan through the app, but I don’t really have a need for it because I’m already paying for one now and don’t plan on topping it up anytime soon. You can also invest through the app but I’m enjoying the ease of using GInvest right now, so I don’t really see myself moving or funding a new investment soon.
We’re now also looking into opening a savings account for our daughter. Will update this post about how it goes!
If this got you interested in opening a Union Bank account, feel free to use my referral code: UBNOW-MJV43FN4. This helps me earn redeemable points! Once you have your own account, you’ll get a referral code too, which you can use to earn points.
Jorj is an editor by profession, a b/vlogger on weekends, and a wife to Yop and mom to Cadence always. She's powered by curiosity and is in the process of becoming her best self.