The Key to Getting a Checking Account in Ecuador (without Being a Resident)

I don’t think I have to spell out the enormous benefits of having a bank account in another country. For one, you can take money out of the ATM when in that country without paying fees. Deposit money and pay bills without having to transfer the money into the country every time; and not to mention, tax advantages with regards to your home country.

In Ecuador, you can get that offshore bank account you desire.

The problem is that a foreigner in Ecuador can’t get an account without a local ID card, given out when you are already a resident on one of the resident visas.

I know what you’re thinking…

“OK, but I just arrived, and not on a resident visa but simply a tourist one, so how can I get an account now?”

Here is the trick; avoid the big banks of Ecuador, with the stricter policies, and head for the smaller banks, there are several, preferably the ones whose main colors are green or red…

These smaller banks are much more likely to overlook their normal regulations and give you an account. (Most Ecuadorians view foreigners as high rollers and the banks are no different. Big banks already have their accounts, but the smaller ones are constantly on the lookout!)

If one banker turns you down, try a different branch of the same bank, where you may have more luck.

But, the easiest way to get an account in Ecuador in these smaller banks is to KNOW someone with an account in one.

Word of mouth referrals are king in Latin America, and if they are a current client, they can refer you, and the bank will often overlook their normal restrictions and open an account for you. So ask around and find someone (maybe even your real estate agent could help you out)…

In Latin America, not only the banks value highly word of mouth referrals, but the whole society. Million dollar deals are made daily between people simply based on their spoken word, their reputation and personal recommendations.

…It is easier than you think to meet people your first week down here, go to church, message people on Facebook, take a language class…

Then have them recommend you verbally in their (preferibly smaller, flexible bank) and that’s it, the account is yours.

Remember, it’s not necessary to have a contact, but it certainly helps.

If you liked this you’d love my weekly Ecuador Insider’s Newsletter laying out everything an investor needs to know before they go:

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