Saving money may be the last thing on your mind when the whole world is struggling to get through a pandemic, but as parents have realized, it pays to have an emergency fund or money set aside to help tide you over financial surprises like job loss, medical emergencies, and other unplanned expenses.

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Wondering how to grow your savings from the safety of your home? Open an account in digital or direct banks. Apart from being able to make your transactions online, you’ll also be able to enjoy higher interest rates compared to banks with physical branches.

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What’s a direct bank?

A direct bank, also called “digital bank”, “virtual bank,” or “online bank” handles all transactions online — whether through the Web, email, or mobile check deposit. Because they don’t have physical branches, these types of banks have the capacity to offer higher interest rates on their accounts. The best part is that you can open an account without having to go to a branch near you — they have their own system in place to confirm identities and documents.

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If you’re interested, here are 3 digital banks in the Philippines where you can grow your money.

ING

Interest rate for new accounts: 4% per annum (p.a.) for the first 4 months; 2.5% p.a. onwards

This international bank is based in the Netherlands and services over 40 million customers in 40 countries all over the world, including the Philippines. Currently, they are offering an interest rate of 4% p.a. to new clients who will open their savings accounts between September 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020. There is no minimum required to open an account.

Key features of having an ING account include: online check deposits, no transfer charge when transferring from your ING account, and higher daily transfer limits (up to Php1 million).

To open an account, first download the ING app then prepare the following documents: one (1) government-issued ID, one (1) proof of address. Open an account by filling out the form on the app and verifying your identity. For the complete guide, click here.

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CIMB

Interest rate: 3% p.a. for UpSave account; 0.5% p.a. for Fast and Fast Plus accounts

One of the digital banks experiencing fast growth in the Philippines is CIMB, a virtual bank based in Malaysia. It is a member of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) so you are assured of the maximum deposit insurance of Php500,000.

Apart from being able to cash in, transfer money, and pay bills and loans online, you can also load your phone through your account. The UpSave account also includes free life insurance coverage of up to Php1 million with a minimum average balance of Php100,000. There are no annual fees and no initial deposit or minimum balance is required to earn the high interest rate.

On the other hand, you can get a free Visa debit card delivered to your doorstep with a Fast or Fast Plus Account. Click here to learn how to apply for an UpSave account and here to learn how to apply for Fast and Fast Plus accounts.

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GCash Savings

Interest rate: 3.1% p.a.

If you’re a Globe subscriber, you can get started on an online bank account powered by CIMB Bank. You only need 1 valid ID to get started! There’s also no minimum deposit and maintaining balance required.

With a GCash savings account, you can deposit and withdraw right from the GCash app.  The only caveat is that you can only deposit a maximum of Php100,000 annually.

BONUS: PAG-IBIG MP2 Savings Program

Dividend rate: around 7.65%

If you have no plans of touching your savings for the next five years, you can apply for the PAG-IBIG MP2 savings program and earn higher profits — tax-free! All you need is to be an active PAG-Ibig fund member who has been paying monthly contributions for 24 months.

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The minimum deposit is at Php500 but remember: the higher the amount you save, the more money you will earn. For example, if you set aside the minimum amount of Php500 each month, expect your money to grow to Php30,000 after five years. This amount can be higher if you choose to receive your earnings at the end of five years.

Click here to know more about PAG-IBIG’s MP2 Savings Program.

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