Seaman loan Philippines’ guide

Seaman loan Philippines’ guide image

The Philippines is a country located on over 7 thousand islands separated by vast waters. Its coastline is the fifth-largest in the world. So it’s easy to understand why Filipinos have a natural proneness to maritime activities and their affinity to waters. Many residents decide to dedicate their life to sailing to provide financial support for their families. Filipino seamen seek better opportunities beyond the country's shores and send money back to their loved ones.

Who are Philippine seafarers?

Seafarers mostly refer to sea-based Filipino workers who are engaged in international trade as members of a crew on a vessel. Seamen are responsible for operating, maintaining, and running the ship. Mariners from the Philippines work in all kinds of vessels, from cruise ships to bulk carriers, serving the kitchen, engine rooms to the control rooms. 

They leave their closest related people and homes for long periods of time. Often they are away for 6 to 9 months at a time. During these extended periods at sea, they work hard and monotonously to earn money that can be spent on their children, parents, and beloved ones. Away from their families, seafarers are sailing the oceans non-stop for months. 

The work onboard is stressful and tedious usually accompanied by overtime work. Furthermore, seamen in the long-term trip can face heavy weather conditions that could put them at risk. 

Severe working conditions don’t stop Filipinos from becoming seafarers since there is a lack of viable opportunities for the population to work or be employed in the country itself. Another reason that spurs residents is a minimum a twice higher salary than they would earn in the country. 

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Some figures on Filipino mariners

The Philippines is among the largest providers of seamen in the world along with countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, China, and Ukraine. Filippino mariners make up three-quarters of the global merchant ships’ workforce. As of 2018, there are more than 350,000 Filipinos who are working on the boards of tankers, cargo vessels, and cruise ships.   

The basic salary of a Filipino seafarer varies from 10,000 to 12,000 pesos per month. Those who have upgraded skills and gained experience in seafaring can expect to get almost 1,5 times more. Frequently, the mariners are forced to pay for their own training if they want to enhance their careers. The employment abroad offers seamen a twice higher starting income.  

They make the outsized contribution to global trade as ships transfer nearly 80-90% of the cargo where Filipino workers represent a large portion of shipping crews. The country of origin the Philippines also benefits from sea-based Filipino workers. Being family-oriented, the majority send the larger portion of their income to their close people. 

Despite the huge economic contribution of billions of dollars via remittances, seafarers are especially vulnerable due to periodic employment. Usually, the contracts are relatively short-term and provided for one year or less. Filipino mariners don’t have the security of tenure and obliged to renegotiate it each time. 

Recently, the Philippines has been experiencing a decrease in the number of seamen. It becomes harder to be immediately redeployed after the contract term has expired. Yet seafarers still have to put food on the table and pay the bills.       

Although it’s largely believed that seafarers are quite wealthy people who are swimming in cash, it looks like seamen can be more financially vulnerable due to the unstable working opportunities. This leads to problems in having some cash reserves. 

Whatever big the salary would be, sometimes there are needs to make large purchases like a car or apartment. Just like any Filipino, seafarers can have difficult times. Seeking for cash, sea-based Filipino workers can go to the traditional financial institutions or apply for a loan online through licensed private lenders. 

See also: Personal Loan from GSIS. The Ultimate Guide on Getting

What do traditional financial institutions offer to seamen? 

Banks offer credit lines and loan opportunities specifically designed for seafarers. When taking credit, seamen gets the possibility to repay the money after returning from the trip, lower interest rates, and faster processing time among other advantages. Basically, the seamen loan requirements are the same as for any other kind of loan. Each bank applies own conditions to a seaman loan who is a little different from the standard ones. If you have an account with one of the Philippine banks, you can have even better loan opportunities and the whole process of obtaining one faster. 

AUB seafarers loan

It’s an obligatory requirement to open or have an account with this bank for seafarers to apply for credit. The minimum required salary is equal to a thousand dollars. If you are eligible in all parametres up to 500,000 PHP loan is available.   

BDO seafarers loan

BDO provides a loan for a seaman with a 25.98%-26.27% annual effective rate for the tenor from 6 months to 3 years. As a seaman, you can obtain the loan either in pesos or American dollars. It’s possible to reimburse money via the guarantor or through the application. You can borrow a minimum of 10.000 PHP loan for seaman no collateral required and up to 1 million PHP. The amount you can borrow will depend on your income.   

Security Bank seafarers loan

Even though the information that you are a seafarer won’t impact the results of applying for a loan much, the data regarding the amount of your salary will. By selecting a multipurpose loan offered by the bank, you are receiving the possibility to get up to 2 million pesos for a period of one or more years. The money will come with a monthly commission of 1.89%, so take it into account while planning the process of repayment. So, wait for 5 days or less to find out if you are approved, and if the bank will conclude that you are reliable enough, the money is yours. 

BPI seafarers loan

You can opt for a personal loan suitable for Filipino seaman at BPI if you need the money fast. The bank issues up to 300,000 PHP processing the loan application faster than most banks that serve sea-based OFWs. Due to the fewer document requirements, just proof of income and identity, the bank charges higher monthly interest rates at about 1.20%-2.20% for up to 9 months. No pre-payment is needed.

See also: Personal Loan from Pag-IBIG. The Ultimate Guide on Getting

Online lending companies

These are great financial alternatives for seafarers and all Filipinos who need money quickly. Online lenders grant all types of loans with minimum requirements and straightforward seaman loan online application. The lending companies holding the license from the corresponding Philippine authorities are trustworthy lenders allowing for a 1-day processing seaman’s loan.  

Cashmart’s OFW seaman loan

They have an extended choice of financial products, including loans for seafarers. Unlike most online lenders, Cashmart requires for a list of documents before approving a loan. A borrower can apply for 30.000 pesos maximum and repay it in 7, 14, or 28 days. The interest rates vary from 0.0571% to 0.8% per day and will depend on the chosen loan tenor. Your application will be processed in 24 hours. If it’s approved, sign the contract and wait for your money disbursement on the same day.  


It’s a reliable online provider of microloans and financial services for Philippine residents. The amount available for borrowing ranges between 6.000 - 20.000 pesos with a 0% interest rate for 10 days. But you can pick the most suitable loan tenure as they offer flexible options  - up to 180 days, yet then the interest rate will be attached. No prerequisites before applying, just provide the required personal data, and bank account details. The approval is carried out within a few hours, and money transfer to your bank account won’t take more than one hour. 


The online lender Robocash has no specific offers for sailors but their range of loan types enables everyone to find the perfect option. One of the advantages is the automated online loan system and rapid application process. 

You may borrow up to 25.000 PHP through the mobile app that is very convenient. The maximum loan tenure is 6 months but you can choose to repay in 7 days. Robocash takes a commission of 11.9% per month and 2.18% per day. The online lender requires to provide just a valid ID and one of the backup documents. You can expect the approval and money transfer within 1 day. 

The difference lies in service speed and convenience 

There are a lot of low-interest loan options for OFWs who are struggling financially. Online lending companies do it quicker and easier. If you are short of time before your trip and you are in need of cash ASAP for your family members, fill out a simple application form via your smartphone, provide ID photo to the online lender, and receive the needed money. Online lenders help to secure your cash needs and ensure your family’s expenses are covered either before your departure or if you are still abroad.