2015-11-03 11:58:38

Wondering how to open a bank account in Peru? This article provides tips and advice to open an account in a local or international bank.

Opening a bank account in Peru may be very helpful for managing your money on a daily basis, especially if you plan to stay in Peru for an extended period, but it can be quite complicated for expatriates. In most cases, non-residents cannot open a bank account in the country, as proof of a resident visa is almost always required.

Before proceeding, make sure to inquire at different banks on their policies regarding the opening of a bank account by foreign nationals. Here are some useful tips to get you started.

Procedures

To open a bank account in Peru as an expatriate, requirements will vary from bank to bank, but you’ll almost certainly be asked to produce the following:

  • your foreign resident card
  • proof of address
  • your passport

On visiting the branch of your preferred bank, you will be asked to fill out, fingerprint, and sign an application form, indicating which type of account you would like to open. The application form will probably only be available in Spanish so if you don’t understand it, ask for assistance from a bank agent, or bring someone with you to translate. This will detail important information such as bank fees and charges, so make sure you know what you’re agreeing to.

 Good to know:

Given that you are required to produce a foreign resident card upon opening a bank account, you can request for sponsorship from a Peruvian resident. For instance, your employer can help you open your bank account. In fact, many expats have bank accounts that are opened for them by their employer. However, with accounts opened in this way, access to some transactions may be limited.

Accounts and options

You may choose from different types of bank accounts in Peru: the current account, the account, on which you can receive your salary (cuenta sueldo), the savings account, and the fixed deposit account.

Cash withdrawals are allowed at a specific ceiling as defined by your bank. You are advised to take into account different constraints when establishing this amount. For instance, for many people, rent is paid in cash and there are still many shops and other commercial institutions that do not yet accept payment by credit or debit card. So you may find that you need more cash in hand on a monthly basis than you are used to handling. The use of the chequebook is also quite limited as financial issues mainly rely on trust among clients and traders.

Most banks will issue you with a VISA debit card, which can be used for payments in shops, online, and cash withdrawals. You can then also apply for a credit card, depending on your salary and other credit checks.

On the other hand, most banks allow daily withdrawals of 400 to 700 New Peruvian Soles (PEN) at ATMs. Keep in mind that you will only be able to make free cash withdrawals from an ATM owned by your bank, and only in the city/region of your bank branch. Other bank ATMs, and your own bank’s ATMs in other parts of the country will charge for cash withdrawals. Moreover, a low-rate tax applies to most bank transactions.

Online banking

Most banks operating in Peru provide online banking facilities. Indeed, Peru is deemed to be one of Latin America's safest countries in terms of online banking. This can be a considerable advantage to avoid wasting long hours in the queue. Online banking allows you to review your balance and transactions, pay bills, and make transfers to other bank accounts.

Local and international banks

Like most developed countries, Peru hosts many local and international banks, including Banco de Credito del Peru (BCP), Interbank, Scotiabank, Mibanco, Banco GNB Peru (ex-HSBC), and Citibank Peru, among others. It’s a good idea to shop around and get a feel for what the different banks offer, and what their requirements are for opening an account.

 Useful links:

Banco Central de Reserva del Perú – Central Reserve Bank of Peru
Banco Central de Reserva del Perú –List of banks in Peru
BCP

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.