For most foreigners opening a bank account in Bogotá is a challenge, but there are some banks that will make it easier for you and I will tell you which ones!
Almost all banks in Bogotá normally request multiple documents from you in order to open an account, but over time, I’ve realized that all depends on the place where the bank is located and the advisors that are in charge because there are some who are dedicated to assisting foreigners and are willing to accept just a few documents to open a new account. So, here I’ll share with you some information you will be glad to know before opening a bank account.
Most of the banks I am going to mention here, ask for an original Colombian document, like an ID or a valid visa, in order to open an account (savings and checking); if they just ask for your passport, you are lucky! And if you would like a credit card, they will offer it once you’ve had an account for anywhere between 3 and 12 months (with a lot of transactions made) or otherwise, the bank has promotion months or anniversary events, but it’s not a regular thing. On the other hand, if you have been hired by a company, the company will take care of the bank’s paperwork and they just need your signature for approval.
Banco Caja Social
Ak. 19 #148-60
Phone: (1) 307 7060
Starting with my favorite! I’ve had an account for almost 2 years with this bank. I opened it in the Cedritos office and it’s worked very well for me. They have offices in all of the malls I visit, all services work perfectly and the advisors are very helpful and kind, so I wouldn’t change it at all. To open an account, they request almost nothing: They just ask for a Colombian ID or a valid visa and a minimum deposit (normally it’s 30.000 COP (10 USD approx.)). Then in less than 5 minutes, they will give you the card ready to use! This bank, unlike the following ones, doesn’t charge any maintenance fees for any account, nor annual fees for credit cards.
Speaking of credit cards, I know that Banco Social offers it if you been with them independently for 6-18 months or at 3 to 6 months if you have them through your job.
Ak. 11 #82-1
Phone: (1) 742 4221
This is one of the principal banks in Colombia and you can find it on almost any corner in Bogotá. The advantage is that it has numerous partnerships with stores, so you might be surprised with the discounts you will get from them.
When I went to their office in Zona T, I wanted to try open an account with a passport, as I read that they accept this document, but they told me they don’t accept it unless it has a valid visa to be in Colombia. To open any account with this bank, they require a valid ID from Colombia, an employment verification letter or an accounting record if you are independent and the “RUT” (tax registration). If you already have an account with them, you can ask for a credit card in 4 months depending on your record. Also I want to say that they charge a monthly maintenance fee and it will vary depending on the account type.
Ac. 85 #13-66
Phone: (1) 380 8111
From my experience, BBVA is also a great choice for freelance foreigners, because you’ll only need your Colombian ID and that’s it. The only detail is that they charge a maintenance fee, but if you opened an account as an employee with an employment verification letter, they won’t charge it. Also when you quit the job that gave you the letter, the bank will give you 3 months without charging any fee. while you look for a new job. What a nice gesture!
Now, if you want a credit card they will give it to you in 3 to 6 months if you are enrolled with a company, and in 6 to 18 months if you are independent. Just remember that the time varies depending on how much you use your account.
Cra 11 #82-36
Phone: (1) 330 0000
Davivienda like Bancolombia has a huge amount of offices all over Bogota. This bank has almost the same terms and policy as Bancolombia, the difference between them is that in Davivienda they just ask for your Colombian ID and your passport for confirmation. Also just like Bancolombia, they require a minimum of 4 to 6 months with an account to apply for a credit card. What I like the most about Davivienda is that they are always working to improve. They have an app where you can make a transfer by just clicking a button in a Whatsapp conversation. The newest update is a button which tags people on instagram to pay you. What a great idea!
Banco de Bogotá
Cra. 11 #82-71
Phone: (1) 635 2945
And last but not least, there is Banco de Bogota, which also has a partnership with “grupo AVAL.” This bank will allow you to open an account with them just by using your passport with a valid visa or permission to be in the country. They will also accept your Colombian ID, but only if you pass an international evaluation they do, in order to confirm that everything is legal and is right with you. When it’s approved, you normally won’t have to pay any maintenance fee; only if you get cash at any ATMs, including theirs. If you are more into looking for a credit card with this bank, you need your Colombian ID and there is no annual fee.
Remember all of the banks in Colombia are great, so choose the bank you feel most comfortable with and has the characteristics which suit you best, like the best location for your everyday routes, the one that gives you benefits for every purchase, or the best customer service, etc.
Quick tip: If you withdraw money from the same ATM of your bank account, it won’t charge you a fee (depending on the account type) but if you do it at a different ATM, it will charge you 3.000 COP (1 USD approx.).
To locate any bank go to this article: Apps to Help You Get Around Bogotá
And if you want to exchange money fairly go to this article to know: Where to Exchange money in Bogotá
Now you know some foreigner-friendly banks in Bogota, which will you go for? Share it if your bank account is listed and comment below if you think one is missing!
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