Banks: what’s the cheapest way to send money to Colombia?

16 Feb 2021 - Category: Blog /
Banks in Colombia

Picking the right bank doesn’t need to be difficult. For all the Colombians living and working abroad, a bank account was probably one of the first things you took care of. Until recently the number of people back in Colombia with a bank account, was relatively low but this is changing.

As reported by, between 2014 and 2017 the percentage of Colombians with a bank account grew from 33% to 45%. That figure is likely to be even higher when the latest statistics are published.

In this blog we will look at:

  • Why is it important to understand the different banks of Colombia?
  • The top banks in Colombia
  • How does bank choice impact money transfer?
  • Can I send money to someone in Colombia if they don’t have a bank account?

Before we get into the benefits, how about a quick look at the history of banking in Colombia? Maybe you already know that the first national bank was the Banco Nacional, which opened in 1880. This bank had the responsibility of issuing the currency in Colombia, handling state funds and providing loans. Today, the central bank is Banco de la Republica.

Banco de Bogota, the country’s first commercial bank, was founded in 1870, starting the process of bringing banking services to the Colombian population. Interesting, right? Now, let’s bring you up to date.

Why is it important to understand the different banks of Colombia?

When it comes to money and banking, we all want the same thing. We want to make our money go the furthest it possibly can and we want a bank account that suits our way of living, whatever that may be.

Different banks offer different things and what’s important for one person might be less important for another. For example, an important factor for one person might be to have a bank that offers lots of in-person support.

Another might look for a bank with the best app for online services, or maybe the bank with the most promotions for its customers.

It might even be that they want to send Colombian Currency in British pounds or other currencies. Therefore, they will need the bank which has the lowest fees and best exchange rates for international transfers. It’s important to understand what you’re looking for before deciding what bank to go for. We’re here to help you.

Thankfully, as reported by

ADV Ratings, with 25 banks to choose from in Colombia with around 5,700 branches and 16,000 ATMs. This means that you have a lot of options for the right bank for you and for your loved ones. By shopping around and fully understanding what each bank can offer, you and your loved one can register with the best suitable bank.

Top banks in Colombia

Since there are a lot of banks out there, we’ve decided to focus on the ones we have direct experience with and know provide customers with everything they need.

BBVA: Established in 1956 with headquarters in Bogota, their products include a fee-free online account which can be up and running in under ten minutes and comes with the easy-to-use BBVA app. If your family is looking to access their bank details via their phone, their mobile app might be a big factor.

Bancolombia: A bank with 560 branches in more than 145 cities, their current account comes with a debit card, cheque book and ATM withdrawals. This might appeal to anyone wanting a traditional current account with a good range of benefits. Read more about our partnership here.

Banco de Bogota: Founded in 1870, their current account comes with a debit card, cheque book, initial overdraft and electronic payments. This is another option if your family is looking for a typical bank account.

Banco Agrario de Colombia: Founded in 1999 with an objective of providing banking services to the rural sector, they have a range of current and savings accounts. This makes them a good option if your family live in a rural part of Colombia.

Banco de Occidente: Colombia’s fifth largest bank with headquarters in Santiago de Cali whose portal is a new way to make transfers, inquiries and payments. This could have strong appeal if your family is looking for a digital account whose services are kept in one easy-to-use place.

Davivienda: Part of Grupo Bolivar, Colombia’s third largest bank is concentrating on digital services including text promotions and e-commerce for customers. These promotions might appeal if your family want an account which can be accessed via their phone while they’re on the move.

Financiera Pagos Internacionales: Offering financial services since 1993 and specialising in the collection and sending of international and domestic money orders. If your family’s priority is receiving money from abroad then this bank could be appealing.

Whichever bank you and your loved ones choose, once they have it set up, they’ll be able to receive a digital deposit directly into their account. This is already one of the most popular methods of sending money to Colombia.

As well as a reliable and trustworthy service, we know that you’re also looking for the cheapest way to send money. That is why you benefit from us constantly checking our exchange rates against our competitors and beat those offered by banks.

How does bank choice impact money transfer?

If you regularly send money to your family in Colombia, they should choose the bank which best suits their money transfer needs.

If they prefer to collect money in person then the right bank could be the one with the most branches, or the branch closest to their house.

Maybe they prefer to receive bank deposits? Then consider the bank with the best digital platform.

We know how hard you work to send money home so we also work hard to build partnerships with banks. Why? Because it helps to make money transfer easier for you and ensures the safe and secure arrival of any money you send.

Let’s look at some examples of how you benefit from our partnerships:

  1. Rapid transfer: Colombian Pesos can be deposited directly into a bank account in a matter of minutes
  2. Real-time payment tracking: Keep an eye on your transfers so that you know the exact moment it has been received
  3. Local support: For added reassurance, we provide customer support in Colombia so that any questions or concerns can be handled quickly and effectively
  4. Safe and regulated services: Through our partnerships we are able to handle over 1m transactions per month globally

Can I send money to someone in Colombia if they don’t have a bank account?

The good news is, absolutely!

We know how hard you all work to make weekly or monthly transfers home, so we don’t want to limit the service in any way.

We understand that not everyone has a bank account. Our services are available to as many people as possible.

So, do you have a friend or family member without a bank account? No problem, take a look at these options:

Cash Pickup: If your loved ones want to collect their cash in person then we’ve got you covered, with 3,000 pick-up locations across Colombia.

Mobile Wallet: You can send money directly to your recipient’s mobile wallet. They can open one of these without a bank account. Here are some >reasons to consider using mobile wallet next time you transfer money to Colombia.

Airtime top-up: As well as sending money to an account, you can also transfer it to a mobile provider as airtime.

Whether your friends and family choose to open a bank account or collect their money in a different way, you can rest assured that we have the ideal service for them.

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