If you are one of thousands of Filipinos receiving payments for freelance work or remittances abroad through PayPal, you may want to consider opening a Unionbank EON card. It is one of the best ways to withdraw money to a local bank account without incurring remittance fees. Other banks typically charge about PhP150 per withdrawal. It is not a lot, but still money you can use for other things.
Unionbank is neither the largest nor the most popular bank in the Philippines, but it is quite innovative as far as banks go. It is the first one to have a website, and the first one to come out with an Internet-based savings account in the country back when online banking was just a figment of the Filipino imagination. There are no passbooks or checkbooks. Everything including Unionbank EON online balance inquiry is transacted online, so people could do their banking, from the comfort of their own homes. Of course, this is not such a big deal nowadays, but when EON came out some 10 years ago, it was definitely a first. With ebanking Unionbank EON was definitely a pioneer in the Philippine banking industry.
Another advantage of EON is there is no minimum maintaining balance, and no service fees. Back in the day when it first came out, all you needed to do for a Unionbank EON application was to pay PhP120 for the card and present a government-issued ID at any of the Unionbank branches and you were set. It was like a payroll account in that way. You had to pay the card fee yearly to keep the account open, but you did not have to keep anything in the account at all.
Today, Unionbank EON requirements are pretty much the same, except the annual fee is now PhP 350, and you may be asked to present more than one government-issued ID. You can use the Unionbank EON online application form to key in all the necessary information instead of writing it down, avoiding writer’s cramp, and simply present your reference number at your chosen pickup branch.
Unfortunately, while there is still no maintaining balance, they now charge an ATM fee of PhP10 per withdrawal from Unionbank terminals and PhP15 for non-Unionbank terminals, which sucks. You can avoid this if you are maintaining another Unionbank non-EON account because you can transfer funds from your EON account to it online.
They now also have a service fee of PhP200 per month if you have no activity for more than 12 months, and PhP500 for dormancy (more than 24 months with no activity). However, that is not such a big thing if you have nothing in there anyway, and if you have nothing coming in for 12 months, it makes no sense to pay the annual fee of PhP350 to keep the account open in the first place!
Does it still make sense to open an EON account today? If you are really a Unionbank holder and want a fee-less way to transfer funds from PayPal, then EON is a good way to do it. However, if your regular accounts are at another bank, the PhP150 or so per withdrawal you save using EON may not be worth the hassle of physically moving your EON funds to your regular accounts. Moreover, there are the pesky ATM withdrawal fees to consider. It all adds up, so it really depends on your circumstances.