PH gov’t launches ‘digital, branchless’ bank for overseas Filipinos

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The national government, spearheaded by the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Land Bank of the Philippines, has launched the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFBank) as a digital-only, first branchless Philippine government bank that allows overseas Filipinos to complete banking transactions anytime and anywhere across the globe.

The OFBank virtual launch on Monday, June 29, was streamed live on the Facebook Pages of OFBank , and its parent bank, Landbank, and the Landbank YouTube channel. The event was hosted by TV personality Gretchen Ho.

“Despite the global health crisis besetting the country today, our government remains true to its commitment of upholding the welfare of all Filipinos abroad and their families. The launch of OFBank today as a digital-only, first branchless Philippine bank is a testament to this,” OFBank chair and Landbank CEO Cecilia Borromeo said.

The OFBank, a fully-owned subsidiary of Landbank, utilizes Digital Onboarding System with Artificial Intelligence (DOBSAI) to facilitate real-time account opening via the OFBank’s mobile banking app. The new digital account opening platform allows overseas Filipinos (OFs), overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and their beneficiaries to securely and conveniently submit all requirements online.

When opening an account using DOBSAI via the OFBank mobile banking app, the applicant will only need to take a “selfie” and the system will compare this photo with the photo in the valid identification (ID) card uploaded by the client. The app likewise has advanced encryption and security technology that protects sensitive information.

There are three types of accounts available in the OFBank app:

  • OFBank Visa Debit Card for OFs and OFWs
  • OFBank Visa Debit Card for beneficiaries
  • OFBank Debit Card for beneficiaries below 18 years old

These are interest-bearing peso savings accounts with no minimum initial deposit and monthly average daily balance (ADB), as well as dormancy fee. To earn interest, the accounts need to have a daily balance of P500.00.

The OFBank Visa Debit Card allows cardholders, specifically the beneficiaries of OFs and OFWs, to receive secure and convenient real-time fund transfers using Visa Direct, Visa’s real time payment solution through the 16-digit card number.

“The reintroduction of OFBank as a digital-only, branchless Philippine bank is extremely timely when Filipinos are becoming more digital, and our research also shows that close to 80% of Filipinos are interested to use services from a digi-bank. We are glad to show our support to this community by enabling beneficiaries of OFWs and OFs to receive money in real-time by seamlessly and securely using the 16-digit OFBank Visa debit card, which they can also use to make face-to-face and online payments wherever Visa is accepted,” said Dan Wolbert, Visa country manager for the Philippines and Guam.

OFBank account holders can use OFBank’s mobile facility to transfer funds to their beneficiaries’ OFBank and Landbank accounts, free of charge. Inter-bank fund transfers, on the other hand, are subject to a service fee of P25.00 per transaction via InstaPay and P15.00 per transaction via PesoNet.

The OFBank is also increasing its presence online to reach more Filipinos worldwide. In the virtual launch, the bank likewise introduced its modified website. The newly redesigned site contains key information about OFBank, list of products and services, and answers on Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from the banking public, among others.

As part of its efforts to be of greater service to its customers, the bank also launched its official Facebook page. The page will also be an additional channel through which client queries will be addressed.

“As the OFBank becomes fully digital, we aim to better serve the banking and financing requirements of our kababayans abroad, as well as their families here in our country. Rest assured that OFBank will continuously work on providing safe, reliable and secure digital banking,” OFBank president and CEO Leila Martin said.

To deposit funds in an OFBank OFW account:

  • Go to a remittance company, Visa Direct partner, or bank, and cash-in to your OFBank account.
  • If you have an existing bank account or e-wallet, use Visa Direct or other electronic banking channels to transfer funds to your OFBank OFW Account.
  • Funds may also be credited to your OFBank OFW Account through your payroll, especially for seafarers.

For OFBank Beneficiary account holders:

  • Funds may be transferred from OFBank OFW Account or via Instapay.
  • You may also deposit money through Cash Deposit Machine or over-the-counter at Landbank branches.
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