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How to Open an Ecuador Bank Account

Posted in: Living in Ecuador

ecuador-bank-account-banco-pichinchaA few weeks ago, we finally opened our bank account here in Ecuador. After 17 months, I’m sure you can tell that it’s not a priority or necessity to have one. But it does make things more convenient. At least that’s what we are hoping.

Banco Pichincha has a program just for us extranjeros (foreigners). Here is what you’ll need to open an Ecuador bank account.


  • Opening deposit of USD$300
  • Opening Application (they fill that out during your meeting)
  • Passport or color copy of Identity card (only color)
  • Residence Card  (Censo of registration from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Bill (copy) of a basic service: water, electricity or phone (home, not hotel). Must be less than 60 days old.
  • If the foreign citizen is a member of a company, attach copy of contract or letter from the company stating its duties and the same time in the country. (foreign workers)

And even though it isn’t officially included on the list – a letter of recommendation is also required. The brochure they had out in branch notes that you need a letter from someone who also has an account there, who will vouch for you. You know, that you are an upstanding and all around great person. And they must sign it, with their bank account number and cedula or passport number. Not sure of what it actually means, but it is required.


  • Monto de Apertura de USD 300.
  • Solicitud de apertura
  • Pasaporte a color o copia de Cédula de identidad (solo a color)
  • Carné de residencia (Censo de empadronamiento en el Ministerio de relaciones exteriores)
  • Copia de planilla de pago de un servicio básico: agua, luz o teléfono (de residencia, no de hotel). La planilla de servicios debe tene run máximo de 60 días de antigüedad.
  • En caso de que el ciudadano extranjero sea miembro de una empresa,  adjuntar copia del contrato o carta de la empresa indicando cuales son sus funciones y el tiempo de las mismas en el pais.(extranjeros empleados)

For more information, check out the Banco Pichincha site.


Pictured is the head office for Banco Pinchincha here in Cuenca. It is on the corner of 12 de Abril y Av. Solano. Its just a couple of minutes from the city center. You don’t have to come here, there are numerous other branches, but this one is the largest in the city.


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Meet the Author

Bryan Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with GringosAbroad.

21 comments… add one
  • Richard Alexander Oct 5, 2016, 8:04 pm

    Thinking of relocating to Ecuador, will at least be visiting this winter. 55swm, will be looking to get some kind of business or hustle going. I speak Spanish. Thank you yfor any advise

    • Subhan Oct 11, 2019, 1:57 am

      International account

  • Ashokan Ambaly May 31, 2015, 2:44 pm

    Dear Mr. Bryan, Greetings and very interesting to read your answers. I am at final plan to move & get residency in Ecuador. Appreciate your on line New Letter . Thanks & best regards. Ash

  • Eleanor Jul 28, 2014, 8:08 am

    Sure would love to receive your newsletter as I wish to retire to Bahia sometime next year and need all the information I can get!

  • B. DAVID TURCOTTE Jul 6, 2013, 7:32 am

    HI BRYAN.I just rented a 2 bedroom apartment,[moving today]. Do you or any one
    know witch banks except social security deposits? THANK YOU B, DAVID.

  • Rod West Sep 20, 2012, 5:18 pm

    Hello Bryan. Id like to ask a question about moving to Cuenca to provide professional services. Can I ask you via email exchange?

    • Bryan Haines Sep 21, 2012, 5:49 am

      Hi Rod, feel free to post your questions on the site or on facebook and I’ll do my best to respond. We don’t offer individual (private) consultation – either business or personal. There are simply too many questions.

      Thanks for your understanding,


  • Sofia Aug 6, 2012, 8:01 pm

    To open an account now you have to be a resident or at least in the process of becoming one (by showing copies of the paperwork in process). It used to be easier but now they require residency status.
    Please note that the debit card has to be swiped through the magnetic card reader. You can’t use it remotely as i have tried to. Much to my annoyance. Getting a credit card in Banco Pichincha requires either a RUC (business number) or Ecuadorian social security number.

  • stanleigh Jul 21, 2012, 8:07 am

    To get a resident card I need to invest $25,000 in a CD and show proof; however, your post says I need a resident card to open a bank account. Which one comes first, the chicken or the egg? Lol.

  • elmonica Apr 5, 2011, 11:46 am

    "Residence Card"

    I am in the process of educating myself about Ecuador and requirements for visas etc. Since this opening an account procedure requires a "residence card", I assume one must already have established themselves in some permanent fashion. If I were to become a resident of Ecuador, my route would probably be through an investment account of some kind which presumably would be possible without a residence card. Would you agree? Thanks

  • E. Lutz Jan 7, 2011, 7:12 pm

    Hi Brian nice to here from you, Us guys from the far north. Keep up the good work . There is alot i could say , but I'd rather send you personal messages on e-mail. TTYL

  • David Marshall Jan 6, 2011, 11:59 am

    Thanks for this Brian. We were in Cuenca for 10 days over Christmas and loved it. It is still our intention to make the move in June this year. As a fellow Canuck, can you provide any advice on how you configured your banking arrangements on the home end before you moved. For example, did you get a US $ account, a US $ Visa or ????? Best regards, David.

    • Bryan Haines Jan 6, 2011, 12:11 pm

      Thats a great question – I'll cover it in detail next week in a post. But in short – we used Royal Bank – both in Canada and the US. More to follow next week.

      Glad to hear you enjoyed your visit.


      • David Marshall Jan 6, 2011, 12:32 pm

        Thanks Brian, I will look forward to it. We are with RBC as well.

      • Jim C. Mar 5, 2013, 8:39 pm

        Hola Bryan
        I have. just started using your site for info on my up and coming venture Ecuador A blessing i say a blessing. i see a date of Jan 6 2011 where can i find your archives. I already have Royal business done via Canada and US. plus one last question i believe it’s called Coopras this is a bank of a different sort (credit union like) but not money insured like a government bank is this right.Jim out
        Bless your week
        Jim C

  • Liliya Bykova Jan 6, 2011, 10:16 am

    We have Banco Pichincha saving (ahorro) account since October 2008.
    It is a must to have account .
    We pay ALL our bills online – utilities for the condo where we live and for the condo we have for rent .
    All you have to do – go to the option Pagos with your facturas in front of you.
    first step – Inscribir factura (register your bill) after you register- your amount and info will be avalable for you to review and pay every month!!!!
    Every month you go to the Pagos click on Pagar inscribir facturas – and you see your bills with amounts. If it is too early yet – it said no disponible.
    Also you can set up repitative wire transfer from your account in US bank to your Pichincha (or any other bank) account. If you have question about it – I can answer.
    If you buy something or need to pay for something – you can transfer money from your Pichincha account to the seller account and so on ..

    • Bryan Haines Jan 6, 2011, 12:02 pm

      Thanks – this is very helpful. Honestly, I'm still trying to get the e-key registered. It keeps failing when I submit online. The online bill payment sounds very convenient.

      Anything that reduces the need to carry / deal with cash is awesome!

      Thanks for the comment!

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