In this article, we’re sharing how to open a private bank account in Panama for foreign non-resident individuals and entities.
But first, it’s important to note that Panama is not your typical private banking jurisdiction. Instead, it is more commonly associated with offshore banking for both foreign individuals and entities.
With this in mind, we will also be discussing which client profiles can benefit from private banking in Panama. And, we will be sharing alternative jurisdictions to Panama that you may want to consider instead depending on your needs.
If you would like access to our free Panama banking series, click the link above and unlock our team’s expert take on Panama banks, Panama banking requirements, personal and business banking in Panama, and much more.
You can also use the table of contents and jump to the section that matches your private banking needs in Panama.
Table of Contents
- Open a Private Bank Account in Panama
- Who Can Open Private Bank Accounts in Panama?
- How to Open a Private Non-Resident Bank Account in Panama?
- Panama Banking System: Private Banking
- Frequently Asked Panama Banking Questions
- Do You Want Help Opening Panama Bank Accounts?
Open a Private Bank Account in Panama
Panama private bank account opening is available to foreign non-residents and wealth management entities from around the world. However, Panama is primarily an offshore and international banking jurisdiction, not a private banking jurisdiction.
That said, certain clients may benefit from establishing a private banking relationship with a Panama financial institution. This is especially true for individuals struggling to open accounts elsewhere who are seeking basic offshore banking services like foreign currency accounts in a stable jurisdiction.
On the other hand, anyone seeking asset protection, tax planning, strict confidentiality, and sophisticated private banking services, may want to consider banking in more established private banking hubs.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at who can open private bank accounts in Panama.
Who Can Open Private Bank Accounts in Panama?
Who can open a private bank account in Panama is determined by citizenship, residency, risk, and deposit level. That said, foreign non-residents, foreign residents, and wealth management entities are eligible for a Panamanian private bank account.
For clarity, wealth management entities include trusts, foundations, and holding companies. When it comes to banking in Panama, these wealth management entities can be structured in Panama or in foreign and offshore jurisdictions.
In short, there are several key criteria that will determine whether an individual or entity can open a private bank account in Panama. This criteria includes whether the applicant can pass basic Panamanian AML and KYC process and whether they can make a qualifying deposit with a Panamanian bank.
How Much Do Panama Banks Want You to Deposit?
In most cases, Panamanian banks expect clients to deposit between USD 100,000 and USD 250,000 in order to open a private bank account. That said, certain Panamanian banks do request considerably more, up to USD 500,000.
As we’ll explain below, we view these deposit requirements as expensive when compared to the value, sophistication, service, and products that Panamanian banks offer in comparison to more established private banking jurisdictions.
Who Should Open Private Bank Accounts in Panama?
Due to the high deposit requirements of Panama banks, and the availability of more sophisticated banking options with similar deposit levels, most individuals should consider opening private bank accounts elsewhere.
That said, private banking in Panama can still offer value to certain client profiles. These profiles include individuals who are struggling to open private accounts elsewhere and anyone seeking a dollarized economy, stable political environment, strong ties to the United States, and English-speaking bankers.
Not surprisingly, Panamanian citizens and residents will likely benefit from banking in Panama. Likewise, individuals from Panama’s neighboring countries can often open private bank accounts here with more ease than elsewhere.
If you fit into either of these categories, or you just want to explore private banking in Panama further, continue reading to learn how to open a private non-resident bank account in Panama.
How to Open a Private Non-Resident Bank Account in Panama?
To open a private non-resident bank account in Panama, individuals need to complete the following steps:
- Select a Panamanian bank that accepts your client profile and matches your desired private banking services
- Complete the Panamanian bank’s account opening application, including the standard KYC and AML questionnaires
- Obtain necessary document verifications requested by the Panamanian bank
- If you are opening a private bank account in Panama remotely, you may need to mail original copies of all documents to Panama
- After the account opening process is complete, the Panamanian bank will give you between one and two weeks to make the account opening deposit
It’s important to note that the cost to bank in Panama will differ between each Panamanian bank. With this in mind, it’s important to explore all of the private banking options in Panama, if you are considering banking here.
And, as mentioned above, you should also compare Panama’s banking system to other alternative options. This is especially true when opening private bank accounts in Panama, which typically demand a higher level of sophistication.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at Panama’s banking system for private banking and see how it stacks up to global alternatives.
Panama Banking System: Private Banking
Panama’s banking system in terms of private banking is less established than retail and commercial banking. This is primarily due to the fact that Panama is an offshore banking jurisdiction that supports individuals and entities just getting started with offshore bank account opening.
Of course, there are more sophisticated banking services available in Panama. But, in most cases, these sophisticated banking options require the same level of deposits as more established private banking jurisdictions like the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and even Singapore, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.
With this in mind, if you are considering private bank account opening in Panama, you may want to consider one of the following alternative options instead.
Alternatives to a Panama Private Bank Account
- Cayman Islands
If you would like to explore any of these alternative private banking options, you can get immediate access to banks in each of these countries with the GlobalBanks IQ Database. Use the link below to learn more about GlobalBanks IQ now.
Frequently Asked Panama Banking Questions
Below are a few of the most common questions we receive from people considering private bank accounts in Panama. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.
Which Bank Is Best for Foreigners in Panama?
The bank most commonly mentioned as being the best for foreigners in Panama is Banco General. However, Banco General has very strict account opening requirements, and is difficult for both foreign residents and foreign non-residents to access. With this in mind, we suggest that non-residents review all of the Panama bank account opening options prior to starting the application process. This also includes understanding the risks of banking in Panama and potential restrictions. For example, certain banks may have difficulties sending money to Panama and fees for offshore banking are often higher.
Can I Open an Account in Panama Online?
Yes, you can open an account in Panama online. In fact, you can open personal, private, and business accounts with Panama banks 100% remotely. Of course, not all Panamanian banks offer online account opening. Additionally, only a small number of the banks in Panama are suitable options for foreign non-resident individuals and businesses. That said, if you know which banks to apply to and how to navigate the account opening process, opening in Panama is possible without stepping foot in the country.
How to Open a Personal Bank Account in Panama?
To open a personal bank account in Panama, individuals will need to select a Panamanian bank that matches their needs and has opening requirements they can meet. This includes both document, deposit, and maintenance requirements, which will differ depending on the bank you choose. That said, individuals with clear ties to Panama, financial obligations in Panama, or who have specific desire for exposure to the currency of Panama, the Panamanian Balboa (PAB), can benefit from banking here. In most cases, accounts can even be opened from abroad.
How to Open a Bank Account in Panama from Abroad?
To open a bank account in Panama from abroad, you will need to complete a series of account opening steps. These steps include selecting a Panama bank, submitting a formal application, obtaining any required document authentications, sending original documents to the Panama bank, and (after account approval) making the required account opening deposit. That said, it’s important to note that very few Panama banks accept non-residents. So, if you are planning to open a Panama bank account from abroad as a non-resident, you will need to carefully choose where to apply.
Do You Want Help Opening Panama Bank Accounts?
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