So, why did we open an Ecuador bank account? Well, there are the obvious tax benefits, tax shelters and security of a Latin American country. Ecuador is the new Switzerland!
Okay, well, maybe not. But there are some good reasons to open a bank account here in Ecuador:
1) You’ll need a local account for many services. Cell phone and internet plans require a bank account. Some will accept a foreign card, but not all.
2) Its better to lose a bank card that can be easily replaced. If you are using a foreign debit/credit card and you lose it – you might go a few weeks (or more) without access to your funds. You will need to get your foreign bank to reissue and courier one to you. That’s a headache you don’t need. If you lose your Ecuadorian card, just go get another one. Okay, I’m sure its not that easy, but it will be faster than international replacement.
3) And if you do lose the card, your losses will be minimal. If you only keep a few hundred and up to a thousand dollars that all you can lose. That is, of course, if the finder/thief can manage to get any funds. If you lose your card to your foreign account, who knows what you could lose.
4) There are a number of online banking services that are really useful. For example, if you use a prepaid cell phone or prepaid modem, you can recharge them both online. Its faster and much more convenient than going to a tienda to recharge.
5) And finally, you’ll feel like a local. Just drop by the bank and make a withdraw. Or a deposit. Or pay a bill. Just like at home. After all, isn’t that what you want Ecuador to be?
Its true that the banks here haven’t been very stable. A number of years ago, many crashed and lots of people lost lots of money. But as a foreigner, you’re not going to keep all you money here, just enough for a month or two – so the risk is minimal at best.
And a basic account is free. So why wouldn’t you open a bank account here in Ecuador?