Updated 3 years ago

Wondering how to open a bank account in Costa Rica? Here is some information on related formalities for foreigners.

Procedures regarding the opening of a bank account in Costa Rica are rather simple. Indeed, foreigners are allowed to open a bank account in the country, provided they meet some requirements. So whether you are working or you have retired there, having a local bank account will definitely facilitate your transactions. However, make sure to inquire about any specific conditions and requirements after you have selected your bank. These may vary from one bank to another.

Banking system

El Banco Central de Costa Rica is the country's central bank. However, it manages independently the country's economic, credit, and monetary policies. Moreover, like in most modern countries, you can choose between several other public, private and State banks such as Scotiabank, Citibank, Cathay Bank, HSBC, San Jose Bank, etc.

Costa Rica's official currency is the colon or CRC (₡). The following sums are available in bank notes: 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000 CRC. As regards coins, you have 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 500 CRC.


In general, documents to be produced to open a bank account are the following (varying from one bank to another):

  • your passport
  • your resident card
  • a recommendation letter issued by your bank (in your home country)
  • a local recommendation letter issued by your employer, for example.

Other documents may also be required. You will be notified by the chosen bank.

If you already have a resident permit, you are allowed to open a current bank account. A minimum deposit of 50,000 colons is required, or an equal amount in US dollars. To further facilitate your banking transactions, feel free to subscribe to the Internet Banking service so that you can manage your bank account independently online without having to move to the bank. To be eligible for a checkbook account, the minimum deposit varies between US$ 200 and US$ 2,000.

If you do not yet have a resident permit, you can only open a savings account in Costa Rica. An initial deposit of 3,000 to 25,000 colons or of US$ 10 to US$ 500 will be required. In case you open an account in US dollars, you are likely to be compelled to keep a minimum balance of US$ 10. Fees of US$ 10 also apply to the opening of this type of bank account.

 Useful links:

Expat.com – Finance and Banks in Costa Rica Forum 
Directorios Costa Rica (Banks directory) www.directorioscostarica.com

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.