How to open a bank account in Colombia

25 Oct 2022 - Category: Blog /
open account colombia

Are you thinking about moving to Colombia? Maybe you’ve already decided to move there but you’ve just gotten around to thinking about the finances. Either way you may also need to start thinking about opening a new bank account.

For immigrants living and working in Colombia the process of getting a bank account might not seem so straightforward. Indeed, it may take some time to get used to how banking and finance works. Thankfully, today banking tasks and financial transactions can be done online or on your mobile phone.

Online banking has become more accessible. Wherever you choose to move to in Colombia you will still be able to access your bank account and have a variety of financial options at your fingertips. To help make the whole process easier, in this post we’ll give you an overview of what it takes to open a bank account in Colombia

Below you’ll learn about:

How to open a bank account in Colombia

Colombia has been a popular destination for many expats in recent years owing to the awesome beaches, vibrant culture and low cost of living. If you want to move to Colombia for any extended amount of time you’ll need to set up a bank account.

Opening a bank account in Colombia will require you to find or prepare a number of financial and personal documents. Thankfully, this process is not too difficult and once everything is set you’ll be given a debit card and a mobile banking account in no time at all.

To open a bank account in most banks in Colombia you will need the following documents:

  • ID - a passport and visa that shows you have a right to live and work in Colombia
  • Your Colombian ID card for foreigners (Cédula de Extranjería)
  • A signed employment contract
  • Documents that show your address e.g. utility bills or rental contracts
  • If you are self-employed or freelance you may need to show proof of income by presenting recent bank statements
  • Address and contact details of any employer

For most bank accounts there will be a minimum required deposit amount. Furthermore, if the money within the account has not come from a paycheck then you may also be required to specify the source of the money.

Online and mobile banking in Colombia

Over the last twenty years online and mobile banking has experienced a steady rise around the world. Today, billions of people use online and mobile banking to transfer funds, pay bills, send money and track savings. The rise of a more flexible and accessible banking experience also applies to banking in Colombia.

During times when it has been difficult to visit branches in person, online and mobile banking has helped many people in Colombia get the services they need in a convenient way.

Thankfully, today it is simple and secure to set up an online banking account at banks like Bancolombia, Banco de Bogotā or Scotiabank Colpatria. You can also access most bank services through a bank’s app.

A great example of online and mobile banking success is DaviPlata, the digital wallet launched by Banco Davivienda more than ten years ago. DaviPlata is used by more than 12 million people across Colombia and has helped people across the country gain access to vital financial services.

This inclusive tool has helped many unbanked individuals within Colombia have access to their finances, especially those who live in remote parts of the country where physical bank branches are rare.

With the success of apps like DaviPlata and other mobile banking services, we can see that Colombia is steadily increasing financial accessibility across the country. Overall, online and mobile banking is the present and the future of banking in Colombia. If you plan to move to Colombia any time soon you will benefit from signing up for a suitable online or mobile banking service.

Opening a bank account in Colombia from abroad

Unfortunately, you cannot open a bank account in Colombia while you are abroad. This is probably for security and logistics reasons. If you want to open an account you need to go in person to a branch of the bank. When you are there you will need to present some of the documents mentioned above. You may also be required to answer some compliance and security questions.

One option is to contact one of the international banks that work in Colombia and ask whether you can open an account with them in your home country but then transfer your account to Colombia some time in the future.

Banks in Colombia

Now you know a bit more about how to open a bank account in Colombia, it is important to learn about the banks that are available to you in Colombia.

Here are a few of the main banks in Colombia:

  • Bancolombia
  • Davivienda
  • Banco de Bogotā
  • Banco Agrario de Colombia
  • Banco de Occidente
  • Scotiabank Colpatria
  • Banco Popular

Each and every one of these banks provide personal banking services for foreigners as well as a number of specialized or commercial services that will help you start a new life in Colombia. The ideal way to find a bank that suits you is to explore their websites, read about their accessible options and get in contact with their customer service team.

Whether you choose to bank with a local bank, a commercial bank, or a specialized bank in Colombia you can also trust Small World to assist you with any of your international money transfer needs.

How to send money to Colombia

Transferring money to Colombia is easy with Small World’s international money transfer service.

You can send money to Colombia with Small World via Bank Deposit, Airtime top-up, Mobile Wallet or Cash Pickup. All methods are simple and secure and ensure that your money get’s where it needs to be as soon as possible.

Small World enables millions to transfer money across borders everyday. So if you need to support your loved ones in Colombia you can rely on Small World.

Your first transfer online is always free of fees!

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