Getting your money changed before or while traveling is always a tricky situation because most foreigners and travelers visiting the Philippines may be misguided and even fall into potential scams. Most locals would suggest exchanging their dollars or currencies to pesos in banks like the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Philippine National Bank (PNB), HSBC, and East West Bank among others. There are also standalone money changers that exchange your currency for you but with the risk of getting scammed.
The Black Market and Money Changing Scams
Travelers and tourists usually go to the black market to get their money changed because the rates are lower compared to other financial institutions and their foreign exchange rates. Money changing scams begin in the streets of Manila, beware of strangers going up to you offering their money exchanging services because this may either lead you to lose your money, get less than the necessary equivalent, or even receive fake money. The operations of the black market in the Philippines can be sketchy, dangerous and utmost illegal, thus the need for visitors and travelers to be aware and careful with their currencies.
There are of course ways to avoid being scammed, the safest option is going to the bank for a more reliable currency exchange via a bank teller. It is suggested that one must canvass the rates different money changers have to offer. Ultimately, the best tip is not to leave the counter until you have counted all the money exchanged twice upon leaving. It is a must for foreign travelers to be alert when it comes to such scams due to the growing impact of the black market on the travel industry.
For those who are returning visitors and travelers to the Philippines and insists on trust worthy money changers, the list below is some of which are frequented by many.
Moonlight Money Changer
Moonlight Money Changer is located near the Ermita Church in 1190 Mabini Street, Malate, Manila which is open from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM. It is dubbed by many foreign visitors to be one of the best places to get money changed. Most money changers are found in the Ermita area which is where most money exchangers have competitive currencies, attractive to travelers and tourists who want to maximize every dollar in their pocket.
Contact Number: +6325243405
Nailas Money Changer
Another money changer that people go to in Malate, Manila is the Nailas Money Changer located in 1741 Mabini Street. It is open from 7:30 AM to 9:00 PM and is just across the hotel, Red Planet in Ermita. This is a personal recommendation due to their fast transaction and efficiency when dealing with customers. I visited this money changer when my cousin from the Netherlands visited the Philippines last January of this year. The lady helping us with our transaction was polite and very patient with my cousin who was trying very hard to explain to her exactly what she needed. Even if the lady wasn’t very verse in English and couldn’t speak it properly, she was able to give my cousin the proper equivalent of her money after double checking and counting several times, with an official receipt at that.
Contact Number: +6325252307
Czarina Foreign Exchange
If you are a visitor staying in Makati, which quite frankly is expensive, you might want to have your money changed in Czarina Foreign Exchange. Not only is it easily locatable in several branches in the Makati Business District, they also have a branch in one of the most visited malls in Ayala. They are easily locatable for they just stay in the 3rd level of the Glorietta 1 mall. Czarina Foreign Exchange is open from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Sundays to Saturdays.
Contact Number: +6328127060
SM Business Service Center – SM North EDSA
When staying in the north of Metro Manila, SM is the place to visit for money exchange services. The SM Business Service Center located at the 2nd level of SM North EDSA, North Avenue corner EDSA in Quezon City, is open from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM from Sundays to Thursdays and 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM on Fridays and Saturdays.
Whether you are a foreign traveler, tourist or a local interested in buying some dollars or exchanging currencies, one constant reminder is to do proper research before traveling. Proper research regarding the country’s currency and the trusted financial institutions in the country are necessary to know or be familiar with since it will be the main basis of how your money will be spent and converted, as well as the transactions that go along with it.
Also, be sure to trust your instinct when handling money transactions and exchanges since everyone in the country usually spots tourists easily and tends to take advantage. Aside from making sure your essentials are safe, your money is properly and safely changed without violation of any laws, remember to be street smart in a city that constantly finds new modus operandis to trap people in. It’s best to take extra preventive and safety measures to keep essentials and money safe from scammers roaming Manila.