Banking in Ghana

My wife and I will be moving to Cape Coast, Ghana early next year. We are cashing our one of my retirement accounts so that we have money to live on for awhile until we are able to draw a salary from our organization. We anticipate living permanently in Ghana, barring an unforseen medical or family emergency. We will have approximately $50,000 USD. What is the best way to open an account in Ghana with that money? I don't suppose having $50K in cash in my carry-on is the best strategy. I have a fair amount of experience traveling internationally, but I've never established a bank account overseas before. Any info is appreciated!

In theory you can't open a bank account in Ghana without a resident's permit but I would think they would be more than happy to accept your $50000!
My husband came before me and opened an account and I transferred my money in.
I hope someone can advise you what is the best way to get your money here

Hi Daniel,
I live in Cape Coast and my wife and I have an account with the French bank, Socété Générale, in Cape Coast. It's in town (opposite Immigration) and right next to Barclays Bank, the people I came here to work for in 1967.
The other Ghana-wide option would be the GCB, Ghana Commercial Bank, whose branches are everywhere. There's a GCB branch at Cape Coast University (UCC) for example, if that is where you are going to be.
This said, I must warn you that it would be very foolish of you to bring all your money in at once.
The reason for this is that the cedi has been falling steadily, its value against the dollar has halved in the last five years, i.e., you are now getting twice as many cedis for your dollar as you were five years ago. And it's still falling significantly, so of course prices are going up steadily, and so you would find the value of your "stash" dwindling.
The other thing is that banks outside Ghana charge like wounded bulls - at least the European ones do - to transfer money to a Ghana bank account.
My solution has been to use my VISA card at ATMs around town (some ATMs don't accept Mastercard) to draw cash when I need it. Some banks charge 15 cedis ($3.40) per withdrawal, so obviously there's not much point going too low. However, not all banks charge for using their ATM (I'll sell you a list for $3.40) :D

HKann: mayke! apomwe?
as you say: in theory you can't (unless you know someone). Of course Daniel's wife may be Ghanaian, we don't know. But either which way, it's a bad plan to bring $$$ into Ghana before you need to spend cedis, right?

Yes I agree unless you can put them in a dollar account that doesn't cost an arm and a leg in fees!

oh right? someone is still doing USD and GBP accounts? We used to do them at Barclays in the late 1960s but I hadn't heard of them recently.
I understand my Mother Lodge in Accra recently switched banks because of problems with the GBP account, so maybe they found someone - would you like me to ask?
I find it simpler to go to Tantri once a week. The hfc Bank in Tantri doesn't charge for withdrawals. (That information is free, but if they start charging because of too many withdrawals you'll have to reimburse me.)

That would be great, thanks!

Thanks for the input. My wife is American. I can see the benefit of leaving our money in our American bank, but we were limited in the amount we could pull out of the atm when we were there last month. We want to buy a car when we arrive, so perhaps we could bring $10k for a car and then leave the rest in our US Bank acct?

Sounds like a good idea.

If I may give a little advice, I think bringing10K to Ghana in cash is not very safe. If you know someone you can trust in Ghana, you can just check out the cars online and let the person confirm then you transfer the money to the person to make payment. After all it's better being charged heavily than the risk of losing all your money. That not withstanding you can come down first and open a dollar account with Barclays bank or GCB or Societe generale and have your wife transfer the money into the account.
Also I don't know if it's possible to let your bank increase how much you can take using your MasterCard, if it is possible then that will be the best plan. A German friend who was in Ghana for a while year used this approach and she did not have any problems.

A little advice from a Ghanaian who's been in Ghana all his life, I hope it helps.
If you need any further information from the banks I can make a free enquiry for you.
Please feel free to contact me on

Thank you for choosing Ghana, I'm sure you'll love it, my German friend is coming back in June or July, less than a year after she left. She's so much in love with Ghana.

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Oh ok, I'm very sorry about that. I had no idea

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