My Experience Wiring Funds to TD Ameritrade Account with BPI

This guest post is contributed by Real_Yield, one of the friends I met through the Reddit Phinvest subreddit and its discord server. Real_Yield is a bottomless font of knowledge. From current financial news, high finance concepts, to classical music, you can trust that Real_Yield will have his say, and everyone will listen.  

 

After opening his US brokerage account guided by my post How to Open a TD Ameritrade Account as a Non-Resident Alien and as a “token of gratitude” (his words), he consented to share with my readers his experience in wiring funds to TD Ameritrade with BPI. 

 

I hope you all like it and please feel free to post a comment if you have any questions. 

 

I’m posting the article without any edits and will let Real_Yield relate his experience in his own words. 

 

There are things that you need to prepare before heading to BPI to ensure that your precious time will not be wasted by bringing incomplete documents:

  1. Hard-copy/print-out TD wiring instructions
  2. At least two (2) IDs
  3. Any proof of ownership of a TD Ameritrade account (In my case, I sent a screenshot of my profile page to the BPI branch.)
  4. Of course, peso or dollar funds for wiring

Preliminaries

There are things that you need to prepare before heading to BPI to ensure that your precious time will not be wasted by bringing incomplete documents:

  1. Hard-copy/print-out TD wiring instructions
  2. At least two (2) IDs
  3. Any proof of ownership of a TD Ameritrade account (In my case, I sent a screenshot of my profile page to the BPI branch.)
  4. Of course, peso or dollar funds for wiring
TD Ameritrade Wiring Instructions
TD Ameritrade Wiring Instructions

Choosing the Transaction Type

When you already headed to the bank’s New Account booth, indicate that you will be buying dollars to wire abroad. The bank will present two options for you to choose:

 

  • DEBIT FROM PESO ACCOUNT: BPI will debit from your peso account, convert them to dollars based on BPI dollar selling rate, with wiring fees and documentary stamp taxes. The BPI branch where I went told me that in this option, it would be better to earmark or inform the branch ahead of time so that they can secure the dollars you need (but maybe less stringent on preferred clients)
  • DEBIT FROM DOLLAR ACCOUNT: BPI will debit from your dollar account and a single wiring fee.

 

I actually have a dollar account with BPI when I did this transaction but since my intended amount for wiring is way larger than my current dollar balance, I opted to debit from my peso account. Perhaps I would prefer to stack up dollars first in my account and just debit there for my future transactions as that could be way easier.

Wiring Particulars

The branch actually reminded me that they will only allow wiring of dollars for three specified causes. This might vary widely according to your branch or if you are a preferred client. I somehow understood it because these kinds of transactions are crucial enough especially if it hits the AMLC cap of $10,000.

 

Initially, the branch was hesitant to accommodate me since investing abroad was not in their list. The branch manager then asked documentary proof of my ownership of a TD Ameritrade account. This is where your TD Ameritrade wiring instructions and proof of TD Ameritrade ownership will matter a lot. I also provided by two IDs as proof of identity, of course.

 

Once they became certain of my ownership, they gave me two forms for me to fill up:

  • Form for Dollar Transfers – this is where you will write the wiring details that TD Ameritrade gave you. This form is applicable for both peso and dollar debit wires.(This is a triplicate form, the red one is given to you as customer copy)
  • Foreign Exchange Transaction Form – For peso-debit wires, this is necessary as you will also be buying dollars from BPI prior to wiring them to TD Ameritrade. For dollar-debit wires, this is not needed since the bank will just pull out from the dollars in your account.

 

Some reminders in filling up these forms:

  1. The branch personnel reminded me to be very careful of the SWIFT code and the International bank account number. Any errors on these fields might cause failure of the wiring process.
  2. Indicate in the FX Transaction Form that the use of the funds is for “Outward Investments by Residents” and ensure that the peso account to be debited is provided correctly.

 

Once you completely filled up the forms, you might need to wait for the branch to conduct the transaction. In my case, they almost took two to three hours since it appeared that they don’t process this kind of transactions very often.

 

The manager left me the branch’s number to inform them if the transaction was successful. She explained to me that I might need to contact them if the transaction has pushed through or not since they have no way of knowing if the funds were correctly received by TD Ameritrade’s correspondent bank once BPI wired it to them. She also assured that in case I might encounter issues, I can just call the branch for them to re-wire the funds.

Fees and Conversion

By this point, you might be asking: Does it really worth your time to go to a bank just to fund your TD Ameritrade account?

 

My answer would still be a YES since other options such as Transferwise, while more convenient is just more expensive with higher fees.

 

When it comes to exchange rate, I was not actually able to get the BPI posted rate. For reference, the posted dollar selling rate that day was 48.85, but I was actually able to get at 49.05. While this might get some uncomfortable, the 20 centavos difference is still fair for me. If you are a Preferred Client, you might actually avail the posted selling rate or even better. That’s still way better than Transferwise which might put a whopping a full peso spread in exchange rates.

 

To check latest BPI rates, you might go to this link: https://www.bpiexpressonline.com/p/2/2091/indicative-exchange-rates

BOI rates at the time of transaction
BPI rates at the time of transaction

The fees I paid though was the exactly how was it presented in BPI’s website:
https://www.bpiexpressonline.com/p/1/694/international-wire-transfer

BPI Wire Transfer Fees
BPI Wire Transfer Fees

The first row will apply for dollar-debit wires, while the second will apply for peso-debit wires.

 

Here is the cost breakdown of my transaction, which you will actually see in the red sheet customer copy that BPI will provide for you.

Wire Transfer Summary
The summary of my wire transfer with BPI

You should see the debited total transaction amount within the same day.

Debit transaction reflected in your BPI online account
Debit transaction reflected in your BPI online account

The wired dollar account became available by next day, perhaps they already processed it overnight. However, they deducted USD 15 from my wired amount.

Balance in TD Ameritrade Account

Thank your for guesting me here in your blog!

Funding your account in the Philippines wasn’t so hard, was it? I hope this guest post will help you realize  how easy funding your TD Ameritrade account. If you have questions or clarifications, please put them in the comments and I will request Real_Yield to answer your them.

love Katie Scarlett

This post is part of my series on cross-border investing

 

Post 1: How to Open a TD Ameritrade Account Outside of the US as a Non-Resident Alien

Post 2: Taxation on US Stock Investments of Non-Resident Aliens

Post 3: I Opened a TD Ameritrade Account – Now What?

Post 4: The Ultimate Guide to Philippine Feeder Funds

Post 5 (this post): My Experience Wiring Funds to TD Ameritrade Account with BPI

 

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