Banking in Ecuador: Are Banks in Ecuador Safe?

If you find yourself wondering, “Are banks in Ecuador safe?” you’ve come to the right spot.

In this article, we’re going to look at Ecuadorian banks, the banking sector more broadly, and the country as a place to store your funds (or not).

We’ll also share a few alternative options, including banking in Panama and how to open a bank account in Mexico as a non-resident.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. Banking in Ecuador 101
  2. How to Open an Ecuador Bank Account
  3. Alternatives to Banking in Ecuador
  4. Ready to Get Started Opening Accounts?

Banking in Ecuador 101

Ecuador is one of the many Latin American options promoted by offshore and international gurus over the past few years.

So, it’s no surprise that people trying to determine whether banks in Ecuador are safe or not.

But it’s important to note that Ecuador is not being promoted by anyone as a banking hub… far from it.

Instead, Ecuador is promoted as a destination for residency (and retirees) and in certain instances a second citizenship option for people from Canada, the United States, and Europe.

In fact, Ecuador is among the easiest countries to obtain residency ($40,000 deposit) and citizenship (3-year wait with no test). But even so, that doesn’t mean it’s worth banking here.

That said, at present, Ecuador is synonymous with gang violence, corruption, and incredibly slow and bureaucratic banking. So, if you’re looking for personal banking, do yourself a favor and look elsewhere instead.

Of course, if you actually live in Ecuador (or plan to obtain residency there), you may need to open a bank account to support your local lifestyle.

If that’s the case, you may want to consider maintaining international accounts in stable banking hubs for the vast majority of your savings and only deposit the amount you need locally on a month-to-month basis.

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How to Open an Ecuador Bank Account

If you want to open a bank account in Ecuador, you will need to show up in person. Additionally, non-residents are facing increasing difficulties opening here.

In fact, even if you are in the process of obtaining residency, you could still face challenges depending on the bank (and branch) you choose.

That’s why, when our members are obtaining residency in Ecuador we typically suggest applying at two to three banks. These banks are generally more open to foreigners and accept applications before you have a cedula in hand.

In general, the requirements you’ll need to meet in order to open an account include:

  • Passport from your home country
  • Photocopy of your passport
  • Local utility bill showing your address
  • Valid visa showing you are legally in the country
  • Local references (two are commonly required)
  • Proof of income (employment contract is commonly accepted)

If you are unable to provide any of the above requirements, it’s unlikely that you will be approved for a bank account.

The reason for this is that Ecuador is built on bureaucracy. And, bank employees here are looking to “tick” the box on an onboarding checklist.

Additionally, there is no “customer service” culture in Ecuador. So, it’s not uncommon for bank employees to make up requirements, forget to tell applicants to bring certain documents, and reject applicants before an application is even submitted. So, if you go to the wrong bank, branch, or banker opening even a simple savings account can get time-consuming.

Alternatives to Banking in Ecuador

If you are looking to bank in Latin America, there are a handful of options that you might want to consider instead. However, only certain banks are actually accessible to non-residents with no ties to the country.

Of course, if you are looking for banking services in Ecuador, foreign banks might not give you the local support you require. So, regardless of whether banks in Ecuador are safe or not, if you need to bank locally, you may not have another choice.

That’s why, if you’re looking to move to a new country, it can often make sense to open bank accounts in jurisdictions that cater to foreign non-residents and expats. With this in mind, here are a few alternative jurisdictions to consider:

  • Isle of Man
  • Jersey
  • Panama
  • Singapore
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States
  • And more…

Ready to Get Start Opening Accounts?

If you would like assistance navigating your banking options at home or abroad, we can help.

You can access GlobalBanks IQ, our international banking intelligence platform, in just a few clicks. Unlock our bank database, individual bank profiles, account opening strategies and reports, banker scripts, and more.

But, if you want a 100% personalized account opening service that taps into our team’s expertise and provides direct banker introductions, you can get started with GlobalBanks Insider.

Of course, if you have any questions, please contact us directly.

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