Opening a Bank Account in Panama

FInd out how to open a Panamanian bank account and the documents required to do so...

Note: It would be very difficult to open a bank account without speaking Spanish. Those who do not speak fluent Spanish should have someone with them to act as a translator.

The process

An interview with a bank account representative should be arranged. The forms to request to open an account and a list of requirements are available at this point.

The required documents should be collected and taken back to the bank in person with the completed forms. Note: all signatures on documents need to match the passport signature exactly. The information will be verified by the bank and entered into their system.

The account holder is then required to make a minimum deposit (usually US$150-US$300 depending on the bank). This money is held by the bank until the account is opened (usually within 10 days).

Any services, such as check books, debit or ATM cards, or online banking access should be arranged when opening the account.

It is not possible to open an account online.

Documents required

The required documents vary from bank to bank, but there are certain standard documents that will be required by every bank when opening an account in Panama:

  • A completed bank account request form
  • Photocopy of passport, including the picture page as well as any recent stamps (these usually need to be notarized)
  • A second form of ID, for example a photocopy of the Panamanian residency card (cedula) or driver's license
  • Financial reference letters from two previous banks. These must be signed by the manager of the banks and addressed to the new bank
  • At least one professional reference letter from, for example, a lawyer, previous employer or financial advisor. These need to be printed on an official letterhead
  • Copies of income tax returns from the previous two years
  • Applicants in Panama on the Pensionado Visa also need to provide a copy of their pension status statement
  • Most banks require a minimum deposit to be made upon opening an account. This amount varies depending on the bank and the type of account, but is generally between US$150 and US$300