The first time I ever really heard about passbook accounts was when my officemate said she was going to go to the bank during our lunch break and I saw her carrying what looked like a passport. I asked, "Bakit dala mo yung passport mo?" "Hindi, passbook ko 'to." She explained that she uses it for her savings and that it's easier for her to fight the temptation to touch that money kasi mas mahirap siyang kunin. Over the years, I learned that this is one of the major reasons people open passbook savings accounts: The money in this account isn't easy to access, which for some, is an additional step they take to keep it "safe" from budol buys.
But what exactly is a passbook account?
As mentioned, it is a savings account that comes with a "bank-issued notebook called a passbook where your transactions and current account balance are recorded." This is much different from an ATM account where you use a debit card to access your money. It usually has a minimum balance you need to maintain in order to avoid paying a penalty fee. There is also a minimum balance for if you want your money to be earning interest; though the amount differs per bank, it is anywhere between P10,000 to P25,000.
A passbook savings account is considered a "safer option" by many because it isn't exposed to risks like debit card fraud or ATM skimming. If you need it updated, you simply have to go to the bank and the teller updates it for you.
We asked the women in Cosmo.ph's Cosmo Community for their thoughts on and experiences with passbook accounts:
1. "My husband and I have a passbook account. Lahat ng money that we collected (wow, collected, lol) from the wedding, we [keep] in a passbook account—for tracking lang naman. My friend and I [share one, too], since we have a small business together. I'm not sure if may benefits but it's just for tracking purposes on our part. Online bank only allows you to see three months from the recent date (unless you request a bank statement) so having a passbook account will allow us to see even the [older] transactions. -Faith
2. "Your money will hardly grow with a passbook account. I only have one to house my no-touch money for emergencies!" -Iana
3. "For savings na bawal galawin, I [stuck to] just the passbook. I didn't avail the ATM card, I didn't apply for online banking, and I opened the account sa branch na malayo sa amin. I'm from Rizal and my bank is in Makati. Hassle talaga to withdraw from that account. I have to go to Makati or puwedeng nearby branch pero may additional fee." -Dianne
4. "I opened a joint AND passbook account with my then-bf (now husband) kasi I wanted to start saving early for the wedding (oo, in-assume ko na magp-propose siya, sabi rin naman niya, lol). We agreed on an equal amount to be deposited per pay period para in case things don't work out, easy 50-50 split kami. We did it that way rin para withdrawals need both signatures namin through the bank mismo, walang dayaan talaga. Mostly, may trust issues ako and thankfully, gets rin naman ng husband ko kasi baka mamaya ako rin pala mandaya. A few months before the wedding, we changed it to an OR account para I can do withdrawals on my own to pay suppliers, then after the wedding, tsaka kami nag-update ng account and kumuha ng ATM (under his name) so we can access our money anytime. We still keep separate personal accounts." -Anya
5. "I've had one since I was seven years old! I was required to save all of my pamasko and extra allowance then every after school year dapat may mabigay ako sa parents ko para malagay nila sa bank. When I [started] working, my papa required me to save 50 percent of my salary and place it in my emergency fund (passbook)." -Pau
6. "I used to have a passbook for my son's savings account, which we also use to keep the money for tuition/insurance fees. I closed it because it's a big hassle to withdraw funds, especially [during the] pandemic. Plus, for every withdrawal, the bank has a fee of P100, if it's not the branch where you opened the account. It's actually good to have a passbook if you have no plans of withdrawing funds (for a long time), but interest rate wise, it's not earning much." -Sabrina
*Answers have been edited for clarity.
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