International money transfers
If you have a local bank account you can arrange to have your pension, or any funds transferred into it on a regular basis. Your bank at home will charge you, the amount depends on your bank at home and your Filipino bank. For any type of international transfer it is best to have a bank in the Philippines with international connections and a SWIFT or IBAN number to make the transaction smoother.
If you don’t have a local bank account or want to transfer money within the Philippines or internationally your best option is Western Union. It is found all over the Philippines, even in provincial cities. If you have a family member or friend in your home country they can wire you money directly through Western Union and you can pick it up at any branch.
The most convenient way of paying bills in the Philippines is online, nearly all but the smaller rural banks offer Internet banking. If you don’t have a bank account or access to the Internet then there are several other methods. Cellphone banking and using an ATM are common ways to pay bills, but for these you do need a local account.
You will rarely, if ever, receive bills in the post. There isn’t a regular postal service in the Philippines. The company will send someone to your house with your bill. Once you receive it, and if you don’t pay online or by cellphone then you can pay in a local shopping mall. In most large malls there is a counter with a bill paying service where you can pay nearly all your utility bills. You will have to pay in cash and be prepared to wait if they are busy. For services like Internet and telephone you may have to go to the store of your provider to pay.
Credit or debit cards
Many places in Manila and Cebu accept credit cards for purchases. Be careful if a shop has a sign saying MasterCard or Visa accepted, this can mean only those credit cards issued in the Philippines, so show the shopkeeper your card first.
In more remote, less traveled areas there are fewer provisions for credit card purchases, when you leave the cities you should always have plenty of cash with you.