How to open a bank account in Peru

21 Dec 2021 - Category: Blog /
open bankaccount peru

Are you thinking about moving to Peru? If so you may also need to start thinking about opening a new bank account.

For immigrants living and working in Peru it may take some time to get used to how banking and finance works. Thankfully, today so many financial transactions and banking tasks can be completed online or on your mobile phone.

Online banking has become more accessible and even if you are based in the remotest parts of Peru you will still be able to access your bank account.

In this post we’ll give you an overview of what it takes to open a bank account in Peru.

Below you’ll learn about:

  • How to open a bank account in Peru
  • Online and Mobile banking in Peru
  • Opening a bank account in Peru from abroad
  • Banks in Peru
  • How to send money to Peru

How to open a bank account in Peru

There are around 17 full-service banks in Peru operating over 1000 branches across the country. As well as banks there are just over 60 financial institutions operating in Peru that offer a number of specialized and commercial services. The process of opening a personal bank account in Peru will depend on the bank you choose and where you apply online or in person

Equally, the banking experience may be different if you are based in Lima, compared with Cusco, Chiclayo, Huancayo, Arequipa or any other Peruvian city. There are many bank branches throughout the country but access to banks is not universal and there will be less options in more rural areas. The process will also depend on whether or not you are a Peruvian citizen.

Don’t worry! It’s not as confusing as it sounds, we’re here to help you.

For a Peruvian resident opening a standard individual personal bank account at a major bank like Interbank, HSBC Peru or Banco Pichincha you may need the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Proof of address
  • Peruvian ID card (either a National Peruvian ID document or Foregin Residence Card)
  • Completed application form
  • On rare occasions, a reference or recommendation from your employer (Character reference)

These are some of the documents you will need if you are trying to open a bank account in one of the major banks like Interbank or any of the local banks too.

The application process will differ from bank to bank. However, this list should help you prepare your application and hold you in good stead during the whole process.

You can learn more about Peru’s banking system by visiting the website of the National Bank of Peru. As well as providing standard banking services, the National Bank will help you understand how investing, saving and digital banking works in Peru.

Online and mobile banking in Peru

Around the world, banks are focussing on making their banking experience as mobile and convenient as possible. They are prioritizing online and mobile banking and shifting away from traditional practices. During the pandemic this has helped banks adapt and succeed at a time when it has been difficult to visit branches and conduct in person tasks.

It is simple and secure to set up an online banking account at banks like Interbank, HSBC Peru and BBVA Continental. And you can usually access the service of these banks through the mobile apps.

The reliance on mobile money and online banking solutions are rising in Peru. A large population of Peru has historically been underbanked and financially excluded. However, in recent years there has been a push for more Peruvians to get bank accounts and mobile and online banking is helping this transition to financial accessibility.

Opening a bank account in Peru from abroad

It is possible for foreigners to open bank accounts in Peru. More often than not, you will need to have an address in Peru or have been living in Peru for the process to work. This is because many Peruvian banks require an address and a proof of residency to officially register and open your bank account.

In the past banks in Peru have let foreigners open accounts on tourist visas but this is now longer a viable option. You now must have either a legal work visa or residency card to open according from abroad. You can get the process started from abroad by contacting a bank but in most cases you will need to physically be in Peru to open your account. While many banks in Peru offer online and mobile banking services, opening an account must still be done within a branch.

Banks in Peru

Now you know how to open a bank account, it helps to have a list of banks in Peru to choose from.

Here are a few of the main banks in Peru:

  • Interbank (partnered with Small World)
  • HSBC Peru
  • Citibank Peru
  • BBVA Continental
  • Banco de Credito del Peru (BCP)
  • Banco Pichincha

All of these banks offer personal banking services as well as a number of commercial and more specialized services. The best way to find a bank that suits you is to explore their websites and read about their accessible options.

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

How to send money to Peru

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

You can send money to Peru with Small World via Airtime top-up, Bank Deposit or Cash Pickup. All methods are simple, quick and secure.

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

Your first transfer online is always free of fees!

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