Banking in the Philippines is a nightmare area which I have written about before, the problem being that no bank communicates with any other bank, resulting in the need for many businesses and individuals holding accounts in different banks. My task this last week has been to decide which of the accounts I have in the Philippines will be retained.
The banking issues if further confused when information given on websites does not match reality And when you approach staff they have no idea what is going on, for instance. According to the Social Security website payment of contributions can be made online via BANKNET. I logged into the system connected to my PNB bank filled out the forms but kept getting message please try again later after three days I emailed Banknet and they suggested I approach PNB. A woman PNB could not understand why I would want to pay on line when I could just go to the SSS office at the other side of town and pay over the counter. When I explained I was going to be thousand of miles away she still did not understand but told me to go the the SSS office.
The SSS office were a bit more switched on but said they did not think the system was working yet in Dipolog City but might work in Manilla. she however gave me the address of the President who would be able to enlighten me.
My next port of call was to visit the Electricity Supplier Zanaco to arrange payment of future bills. Their opening statement was "its not possible we don't have an online system " This was like a red rag to a bull so I rephrased my question another way and asked them which Bank they use to deposit money into and when they said Metrobank I asked for their account number. I reminded the guy that I was a member of the Co-operative and as such he worked for me to which he replied the magic words you need to see the General Manager so Two hours later I got what I wanted, On a monthly basis they will email me a copy of my bill and I will use my online system to pay into their account confirming the transaction my email. Mission Accomplished.
My the end of the week it seems that the everyone I need to pay has account with Metrobank, so It looks like that will be the account i retain. I also discovered that Payment from Metrobank to SSS also appear to work. I posted a test transaction and will see if that reaches the SSS next week.
I still need to resolve how I can instruct my bank to send money to another country without having to return to the Philippines but as Metrobank is upgrading its system this weekend this just might be possible. My removers have been in touch and are planning to pack my possessions on 23 April so everything is falling into place, but still no word on Visa's