Banking in Panama

Information on the banking services in Panama: credit and debit cards, payment methods, checks and how to open a Panamanian bank account...

Panama has a well-developed banking system and has become and international banking hub in recent years.

It is extremely difficult to open a bank account in Panama. The process requires far more documentation than in many other countries and it can take up to ten business days to complete the whole process. All documentation is verified multiple times to make sure it is authentic; however, once the documentation has been verified it can be used again to open any other accounts in Panama. Any reference letters need to be current, generally written within six weeks of opening the account.

Most banks do allow non-residents to open bank accounts in the country, but the process can be more difficult and time consuming, and may take weeks or even months. Many banks require non-residents to provide a reason for needing the account in Panama, for example, an investment in the country.

Banks in Panama may be licensed under two categories:

  1. General (full) license Class A - operates both within and outside of Panama. The majority of banks in Panama have this license.
  2. International license Class B - physically present in Panama, but can only do business with foreigners and non-Panamanian residents. In other words, these banks can only open accounts and accept deposits from individuals or organizations located overseas.

There are also two state owned banks in Panama that can only do business within Panama.

Banks are licensed and regulated by the Banking Supervisory Authority (Superintendencia de Bancos). There are no deposit insurance schemes in Panama.

Major Retail Banks in Panama

  • National Bank of Panama (Banco Nacional de Panama) (State owned)
    At: Via España, Apartado 0816-05220, Panama City
    Tel: 505 2000
  • Caja de Ahorros (State owned)
    At: Via España, in front of Felix Maduro, Panama City
    Tel: 508 1000
  • Banco General
    : Calle Aquilino de la Guardia, Panama City;
    Tel: 303 5001
  • Citibank
    At: Punta Pacifica, Torre de las Americas, Panama City
    Tel: 210 5900
  • CrediCorp Bank
    At: Via España, Panama City
    Tel: 210 1111
  • Global Bank
    At: Global Tower, 50th Street, Panama City
    Tel: 236 3964
  • MultiBank
    At: Via España, Panama City
    Tel: 294 3500
  • Scotia Bank
    At: Av. Federico Boyd, Edificio Scotia Plaza, Panama City
    Tel: 208 7700
  • Unibank
    Tel: 6550 2998

Banking Hours

Banks are open Monday to Friday from 08:30-16:00/17:00 (some close for an hour for lunch), and Saturdays from 08:30-13:00.