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Quito Banks

Ecuador, Quito

account opening Quito

Those people who decide to make Ecuador their home for more than a year might be advised to consider opening a bank account in Quito. This is especially important for those who are working in Quito. Opening a bank account will allow bigger and more savvy employers to be able to pay salaries directly into your bank account, saving on the long lines that exist in most bank branches, and also on the risk of walking around with large volumes of cash in a city where street robberies can be frequent.

Having a bank account will mean that you can escape some of the fees and, in some cases, even foreign exchange rates that can be significant when you use local ATMs to withdraw money from your account back home. Costs for withdrawing money from international accounts can be $1.50 just to make the transaction (not including any currency exchange fees that may apply from your bank back home). In addition, if you do not inform your bank that you now live in Ecuador, they will block your card at the most inconvenient of times, only unblocking it upon calling their offices. It is therefore advised that you inform your bank (ideally, prior to arriving) that you will be using your card in this region and country.

Those moving to Quito to work at some of the larger international schools or organizations will often be assisted by their school or company in opening an account. This will save a considerable amount of time and hassle, so if your employer offers to do this for you, you should probably take them up on it. If not, approach the bank and find out what is required for a new account. If possible, get the person who is advising you to write down the list of what is needed. This list will commonly include:

  • Color photocopies of your passport including photo page and visa page.

  • Color photocopies of your cedula and/or censo.

  • Three references from citizens who have known you for a considerable period of time, along with copies (maybe color) of their cedula and votacion documents.

  • A copy of your rental contract.

  • Originals and copies of one or more of your utility (water/electricity) bills.

  • Letter from your employer stating income and length of service, and that you are of good character.

There are different kinds of accounts that exist, including Cuenta Corriente (Current Account) and Cuenta de Ahorros (Savings Account). For some reason, it seems to be easier for foreigners to open a savings account rather than a current account. Most banks have online banking, and if this is the case with the account that you set up, you can then organize payments of bills online, rather than having to make the (long) lines in banks or utility companies. On opening an account, you will usually be provided with an ATM card for withdrawing cash from machines. If you withdraw money from an ATM that does not belong to your own bank, you will usually be charged $0.50. It is likely that your withdrawal limit per day will be $200 at an ATM belonging to your own bank, and $100 per day from a competing bank’s ATM.

Fairly reliable banks with which to open an account include Banco de Pichincha, Banco Pacifico, Produbanco and Banco de Guayaquil. All of these banks can be found widely available across the city, with Banco de Pichincha the most ubiquitous of the bunch.

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By Thomas Griffin

I recently graduated from the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. I studied in Sevilla, Spain in...

31 Oct 2013

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