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Cuenca Banking

I think I will be opening a Banco Guayaquil sometime soon. Here is an excerpt from their web page stating that by opening a savings account with them I can pay my utility bills online.

Needless to say I will be giving a full report regarding whether I can pay my Cuenca utility bills online.

Recaudación de Servicios Básicos

Olvídate del estrés de pagar tus servicios básicos. Ahora gracias al Banco Guayaquil cancelas luz, agua, teléfono, celular y televisión por cable; a través de nuestro servicio de Recaudación de pagos básicos.

Para tu mayor comodidad, disponemos de los siguientes canales de recaudación:

VENTANILLA PROPIA de las diferentes sucursales del banco, ubicadas en todo el país.
VENTANILLAS EXTENDIDAS Y CAJEROS AUTOMÁTICOS en las instalaciones proveen el servicio básico.
DÉBITO AUTOMÁTICO en la cuenta de clientes de mayor consumo.
BANCA VIRTUAL, tanto para los abonados que tengan Cuenta Corriente o Ahorro, como para los tarjetahabientes de American Express, Visa Privilegios o Mastercard Prima.
BANCA CELULAR, haz tus pagos a cualquier hora del día, a través de mensajes escritos, desde tu celular.
Nuestro ágil sistema de comunicación nos permite estar siempre en línea con cada unas de las Empresas de servicio público, de tal forma que el pago total o parcial de tu planilla, se actualizará inmediatamente, dando paso a la emisión de la factura o comprobante de pago.

Nards, Banco Bolivarian allows direct pay for water and electric also (at least in Guayaquil)

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/8x-2-XehyNKzZDHfYWgPbgiC-spqZsY2F_qIeq3iEd2Pne6X4T5sALaNaPE8nZ4FQQ3zRQP91DKuUSXRNGuPY4b959hWfX9i3x4gRKGLLGPj_M5DyQbH8_BkqGA4Q9aCL2D4XEXrUAMc1PPSmKQ9GGFUwdP3u6dU5476Jun29w14xtXPK1mX0zZHRadrWvETIazBCZ6O0vTy0RDK_nPTVTvygCE90cIrsqaJ9ImMUuLr2y883qYPTvVCCPWNYYAUkO3VRfoxLXF2fqAp1wFXqo71JWGAQbzXY_6ofgjXP1FrJzmfNtYn_BXC-oEyCPbFHbFJJp-kY7HyvMS2WKJ2bH7iyNhcO5PS9UZsC730ItUumECsJClREV-tMKGcvaiZQdUqGsSBO7CovVwWoWjo7EuNzxLjrRsQPJibai3GIB9yroc2L87nY_mp-yhFxUSv67YCiG8zOLa1GqMz--tmUOCwgdcvscCnTPnjUn7aQOpdEXzGbBueV3CmGzfhg2E9cRqVn_hPEa1D0r6oNsiXemU1pUwUDEEqhimrmyp2eXii3SVoOkEZjMnToLdsVYphuyWio7XwD5axK4--gK7rRwP9BeuDfi6Rv34FXq3T6dfPJEPOmnYD=w501-h950-no

Quick update on my search for a bank to do online banking in Cuenca.

I went to a branch of Banco  Guayaquil in el centro and they told me that while I could pay bills with Etapa, they didn't have an agreement with Empresa Electrica so I wouldn´t be able to pay my electricity bill.

A friend of mine told me I could pay my bills online with a JEP savings account including my electric bill and he even showed the screens where he could do it.   The only catch is you don't get a factura showing you your monthly useage of electricty or water. If you need that you have to go to their offices and get one.

So I went into a branch of JEP yesterday and said I want to open an account. I told her was an Ecuadorian citizen and damn well expected to be treated like one.  She asked me if I was a U.S. citizen as well and I said yes.

She takes out a stick note and procedes to right down what the requirements are for me to open a savings account.   Included in those requirements is I must present my social security card and my U.S. Passport.  Needless to say I was quite surpised.  I guess they must report info back to Uncle Sam.

Nards,

You can expect they will ask you to provide an IRS W-9 form:
https://www.irs.gov/uac/about-form-w9

And who actually has a US Social Security Card?   I've never had anyone ask to see it.   

Charlie B

Hmm.  I actually have a social security card. Of course if I didn't, the W-9 would be a reasonable way for them to verify it.

We will find out soon enough since I am going to be returning to JEP to try and open that savings account.

Interestingly, I was never was asked for my social security number when I opened my account with Banco Pichincha some 4 years ago. Plus, I just helped some gringo friends open a savings account with Banco Pichincha -- I was present with them during the whole process-- and they were never asked for their social security number or asked to provide a W-9.

Nards Barley :

I guess they must report info back to Uncle Sam.

Yep, that's what they intend to do... for FBAR and FACTA (if the latter applies).

The poster below yours is also correct. I had to fill out my W9 in October, when I renewed my investor visa CD. They (Banco Bolivariano) didn't ask for my Social Security Card, which I don't even know where it might be. I just stifled my cynical laugh... here's an Ecuadorian Bank handing me a US IRS document to fill out... even though I've been compliant with FBAR since getting here.

rsymington :
Nards Barley :

I guess they must report info back to Uncle Sam.

Yep, that's what they intend to do... for FBAR and FACTA (if the latter applies).

The poster below yours is also correct. I had to fill out my W9 in October, when I renewed my investor visa CD. They (Banco Bolivariano) didn't ask for my Social Security Card, which I don't even know where it might be. I just stifled my cynical laugh... here's an Ecuadorian Bank handing me a US IRS document to fill out... even though I've been compliant with FBAR since getting here.

I renewed my CD with Pichincha in July 2016 and was not asked to provide a W-9.   Makes me wonder if Banco Pichincha is bucking the system.

Nards Barley :

Makes me wonder if Banco Pichincha is bucking the system.

Certainly a possibility. However when I asked Bolivariano said they they had just started to comply in September. I had stopped in to the bank because my Debit Card stopped working and to do the CD renewal. Turned out they had locked the account to any activity until all my local information was updated and I filled out the W-9. The whole process only took about 20 minutes.

I finished opening up a savings account with cooperativa JEP yesterday.  I fulfilled all the requirements on the aformentioned sticky note, but she also asked me to provide name, addresses and phone numbers for two people I know in Ecuador, which threw me for a loop for a few seconds.

Of the $20 I deposited into the account, $10 is off  limits to me. I initially thought it was a fee, but now I think it is some kind of hold that I will get back when I close the account. The did charge me a $6 fee for the debit card I will pick up tomorrow.

It seemed to take an hour to open this account. I thought by presenting my social security card I was going to avoid any W-9 requirement, but during the last 15 minutes of the process she was filling out the W-9 for me.

As a side note,  I think I read somewhere on Gringo post the other day that a bank required a gringo to provide a copy of his last tax return since he didn't have a social security card.

As soon as some of my utility bills come due next month, I hope to post a comment titled "The making of a dream: paying my bills online in Ecuador"

I recently made my 5th trip to JEP related to opening a savings account to pay my bill my bills online.  The purpose of that trip was to get a username and password assigned to me so that I could get online at the JEP website.  I also deposited $100 in cash so I could hopefully pay my bills online.  I liked the fact I did not need to fill out a deposit slip to make a deposit which I have to do with Banco Pichincha.

On my way out of the bank I stopped at the JEP ATM machine to test out my new JEP debit card.  It was the first time in my life I remember putting the wide edge of a bankcard into the machine's feeder first.  While I thought that was strange, our expert at the Rio Casino in Colombia mentioned using an ATM machine on a road trip whereby he had to close a door behind him, sort of like a telephone booth. I suppose it was constructed that way so that a FARC rebel couldn't sneak up behind you while you withdrew money.

I am happy to report that I paid all my utility bills online today:  three for ETAPA and one with the Electric company.  It was a little bit of a hassle since they have to send me a security code for each bill and that takes at least a minute of waiting for each code and then using an on-screen keyboard to enter the code. But it is worth it since it gives mean one less reason to get off the couch.

One last thing.   Both ETAPA and the Electric company will send you via email an online bill or planilla. You just need to sign up for the service at their respective websites.

Good reporting Nards.

I’m still paying the electric bill the primitive way via servipagos , but now I do it on days I drop off drying cleaning (same building), so that’s a little efficiency right there

Thanks.  I forgot to mention that each bill I paid online cost me 35 cents, so for 4 bills I paid a sum total of a 1.40

Friend sent me an email he receied from Produbanco with an announcement that you can now use an app on your phone to withdraw money at their ATMs.  Apparently they send you a code via SMS that you can enter at the ATM. It also says you can authorize withdrawl to other persons, including those living in other cities.  That could be handy I imagine when somebody you know is robbed and in need of cash.

I guess obstinate expats without smartphones are going to be SOL when their bank develops such an app.

Even the El Mercurio reported on this a week ago.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/eb3x4F4ME072IbRCO0uiBJRuR6LLkFiyOKfDChNjyHjJZkuNMJM3Y1s5AYIHDXMKeGfT1FBXyw=w214-h437-no

Nards Barley :

I guess obstinate expats without smartphones are going to be SOL when their bank develops such an app.

Nah!  We'll just keep using our USA-based Schwab cards at the mall .. take out our money .. and laugh all the way to the bank. :lol:

cccmedia

Nards Barley :

Friend sent me an email he receied from Produbanco with an announcement that you can now use an app on your phone to withdraw money at their ATMs.  Apparently they send you a code via SMS that you can enter at the ATM. It also says you can authorize withdrawl to other persons, including those living in other cities.  That could be handy I imagine when somebody you know is robbed and in need of cash.

I guess obstinate expats without smartphones are going to be SOL when their bank develops such an app.

Even the El Mercurio reported on this a week ago.

[img align=c]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/eb3x4F4ME072IbRCO0uiBJRuR6LLkFiyOKfDChNjyHjJZkuNMJM3Y1s5AYIHDXMKeGfT1FBXyw=w214-h437-no[/url]

:top:

Carrying less cards around is definitely good news. I have one of those slim wallets, but Megamaxi/Supermaxi, Mi Comisariato, cédula, driver's license are all essential and take up a bit of space.

Do they also accept dollar BILLS from the US?

OrganicMom :

Do they also accept dollar BILLS from the US?

U.S. greenbacks up to $20 denomination are commonly used in Ecuador, although change for twenties can be problematic with taxis and small tiendas.  Top hotels and restaurants might accept a $50 or $100 bill.

$1-bills are far less commonly used than coin dollars.  In recent years, the most commonly used U.S. dollar-coin is the one featuring Sacajawea, the Shoshone Indian woman who was Lewis and Clark's interpreter from North Dakota to the Pacific Northwest in their early-1800's expedition.

In the under-a-dollar category, both U.S. coins and Ecuadorian coins of the same size and weight as the equivalent U.S. ones .. are in circulation.

cccmedia

OrganicMom :

Do they also accept dollar BILLS from the US?

The currency of Ecuador is the U.S. Dollar. Do you specifically mean the $1 bill? If so it’s acceptable everywhere, it’s just as good as the $1 coin. As for other denominations, one of the biggest myths about Ecuador was something like “if you have a 50 or a 100 dollar bill you basically have no money in Ecuador.”  :rolleyes:

I actually believed that nonsense, and we came here with all denominations. Here’s our experience. $100 and $50 bills are accepted at 4/5 Star hotels, supermarkets, malls including services like Claro but some places like cafes will not accept a fifty or hundred dollar bill and some explicitly state so at the cashier counter.

Outside of those places a $20 is usually the limit. For local tiendas (shops), they usually have a credit system, for example you pay with a $20 but buy $7 worth of goods, they owe you $13, they don't have that amount, then you have $13 credit at least(or maybe $7 if they give you $6). It works the other way too, you buy $10 worth of stuff, you only have $5, then you owe them $5. That's how it works in local tiendas when you establish a relationship.

Well, my  banking dream-come-true has become a nightmare.  JEP online modified their website and took away the ability to pay internet bills online.

No timetable given for restoring this feature as of now.

Go back to Banco Guayaquil.  I use them to pay all my bills online.

Charlie B

icemeister :

Go back to Banco Guayaquil.  I use them to pay all my bills online.

Charlie B

As I mentioned here, they don't have a convenio with Empresa Electrica here in Cuenca, although I could see if that has changed.

I will give  JEP a month or so to restore that feature before searching elsewhere.   I would probably first go to one of the baniks I haven't visited such Banco Pacifico, Boliviariano or Internacional.

What's worse than being in line at servipagos and there's a guy in front of you with a thick stack of money in one hand and a stack of bills in the other. He's going to occupy one counter at least 30 minutes paying all those bills.

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