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Best Colombia banks for foreigners
If you are a foreigner planning to live in Colombia, opening a bank account in the country would be beneficial. Each Colombia bank has its own requirements and benefits for the account opening process. This article aims to provide you with more information on this topic.

Best Colombia banks for foreigners

Colombia has become a significant tourist destination across the globe. According to the World Tourism Organization, it was Latin America’s third most visited country in 2023. Once people know Colombia, they decide to invest, study, retire, or live there. Additionally, many people are encouraged to visit this place after hearing about expatriate’s experiences.

Millions
0

Tourists during 2023

For those who choose to reside in Colombia, managing their finances is a necessary task that often raises questions among foreigners. Although the process may involve several procedures and paperwork, colombia banks offer more convenient options.

Opening bank accounts for foreigners

If you are a foreigner in Colombia and want to open your account there, you must be clear that each financial institution will have its requirements and necessary documentation.

Person showing his ID
Some Colombian banks will request the cédula de extranjería.

The necessary documentation to open an account in Colombia

No matter which bank you choose, the documentation or certificates  must be originals, which are crucial while visiting the bank. Below is a list of such documents.

  • Passport

  • RUT

  • Cédula de extranjería (some banks require it)

Certain documents, such as income certificates or credit histories, can usually be obtained through the various entities’ online channels. (Some banks will ask you for these types of certificates.) However, documents like cédula de extranjería or RUTs may require assistance to complete the process, particularly if you don’t speak Spanish.

But don’t worry because expatgroup.co can help you get your visa, cédula de extranjería, and RUT; they have great experience in these processes so you will be in expert hands.

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The RUT to open your account in a Colombian bank

The RUT, which stands for Single Tax Registry, is a system used by the National Tax and Customs Directorate (DIAN) to identify, locate, and classify individuals and entities within the tax system based on their economic and commercial activity, assets, contributions, and consumption.

This document will be a crucial ally when opening a bank account in Colombia. It proves the economic activity that generates income, moving through different entities.

RUT - Tax Number Identification
RUT - Tax Number Identification

It will be helpful for banking purposes and as a crucial tool in developing various processes in the country. For instance, if you plan to start a company in Colombia or are the legal representative of a natural or legal person in the country, you must obtain the RUT.

Step One

Visit the DIAN web portal to schedule your appointments.

Step two

On the day of your appointment, you must send the pre-filled RUT form 001.

Step three

You will receive an email with the response to your request.

You should remember that the scheduling and appointment are in Spanish; therefore, for someone who has not mastered the language, it could be a complex process that will take longer, and in some cases, the information will not be completed adequately.

We at Medellin Guru have partnered with expatgroup.co, a company with expertise in supporting foreigners with the RUT service. They will handle the process on your behalf to make it more convenient and quicker for you. If you use this service referred by Medellin Guru, you’ll receive a 10% discount. You can access this irresistible promotion below.

10% OFF on get your RUT

Medellin Guru has teamed up with expatgroup.co to bring you this special price.

Saving account

In Colombia, savings accounts are more commonly used than checking accounts. At the same time, in the United States, it is the opposite. 

However, checking accounts are only for premium clients, so you will only have access to a savings account as a foreigner.

-This product enables you to manage and access your money efficiently whenever required. 

-You may earn a small percentage of interest for preserving or enhancing your balance. 

-When you open a savings account, you receive a debit card allowing you to make purchases at various brick-and-mortar and online stores.

The best Colombia banks for foreigners

The number of registered banks in Colombia reached an all-time high of 29 in 2023, providing foreigners with a wide range of options for opening bank accounts.

Here are the best options to open a bank account in Colombia, tailored to each bank’s specific requirements. This guide is handy for non-Colombians.

It is important to note that foreign citizens looking to open a bank account in Colombia must complete the procedure in person. Despite the increasing number of foreigners living in the country, banks require bilingual assistance to provide information and support in opening accounts. Advisors should ensure that the process is straightforward and accessible to foreign customers. However, they need to have the info completely clear.

Woman receiving her card
Woman receiving her card

Bancolombia

It is the most important bank in Colombia, with a presence in all regions, making it easier to find ATMs or banking correspondents for transactions.

The documents to open an account in Bancolombia are:

RUT.

Passport .

Banco de Bogotá

It has 1,477 offices throughout Colombia and was named the best financial institution in the country for 2020 by Global Finance magazine.

The documents to open an account in Banco de Bogotá are:

Cédula de extranjería.

Passport.

RUT.

BBVA

It was named the best financial institution in Colombia in 2017. It has 390 branches across the country and several international locations.

The documents to open an account in BBVA are:

Cédula de extranjería.

Passport.

RUT.

Colpatria

It is one of the oldest banks in Colombia. It was created in 1995 and is considered one of the country’s most crucial business holding companies.

The documents to open an account in Colpatria are:

RUT.

Passport .

Davivienda

It is one of the most prominent financial institutions in the country, with 530 offices across the nation and an additional 140 locations worldwide.

The documents to open an account in Davivienda are:

Cédula de extranjería.

Passport.

RUT.

Using the RUT service to open a bank account in Colombia is essential. You can redeem your 10% discount to request this service with expatgroup.co.

10% OFF on get your RUT

Medellin Guru has teamed up with expatgroup.co to bring you this special price.

Step by step to open a bank account in Colombia as a foreigner

After understanding the necessary documentation and the types of accounts and banks available for foreigners in Colombia, follow the step-by-step process to open an account.

First
Document collection

The banking entities may require different documents from you. The first thing you should do is contact the customer service lines of the bank you have chosen to find out which documents you need to gather.

Second
Go to the nearest branch

If you are a foreigner and looking to create a bank account in Colombia, you must do it in person, as there are no virtual options available at the moment. When they open, arriving at the bank around 8 in the morning is recommended to avoid crowds and ensure a faster process.

Third
Now you can manage your money

After your appointment with the advisor, they will assign you a username, password, and card to manage your finances in Colombia. Your credentials will be activated once assigned.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is having a Visa necessary to open local bank accounts?

No, it is not necessary to have a visa.

Can I open a bank account with my passport?

Yes, you can open your bank account with your passport and RUT.

Is it necessary to go to a bank branch, or can the process be carried out virtually?

No, so far, no banking entity allows the opening of bank accounts for foreigners through the web. It always has to be a face-to-face process in the offices.

Do I need a RUT before I can open a Colombian account?

Yes, it will always be necessary because this document demonstrates the economic activity that gives rise to your income, moving through the different entities.

Can foreigners open bank accounts in dollars or euros?

No, it can only be opened in Colombian pesos.

Can I have a Colombian credit card?

No, foreigners are generally not approved for credit cards.

If I create a bank account with my cédula de extranjería number when it expires, could there be problems?

Yes, it will be necessary to keep all your information updated. Remember that expatgroup.co can help you with your visa and cédula de extranjería process.

Can I open a Colombian account while abroad?

This is only possible for Colombians who live abroad; foreigners must always carry out this process in Colombia because they involve presence.

Medellin Guru's Comprehensive Visa and Passport Series

The Colombian visa changes that went into effect in mid-October 2022 were significant. So, we have a comprehensive series of visa articles on the Medellin Guru site that are kept up-to-date and should answer most visa questions. These articles include:

We have looked in detail at the seven most popular Colombian visas used by foreigners:

  1. Digital Nomad Visa
  2. Retirement visa
  3. Marriage visa
  4. Investment visa
  5. Resident visa
  6. Work visa
  7. Student visa
  8. Visitor visa

Also, we have looked in detail at three additional Colombian visas, which are less popular for foreigners:

In addition, we have a guide to Colombia tourist visas and how to extend a tourist visa. Also, we have a guide to renewing U.S. passports in Colombia and a guide to obtaining a Colombian passport.

Furthermore, we provide information about travel insurance that meets the insurance requirement for Colombian visas. We have a guide to applying for a cedula extranjeria in Colombia and a guide to using notaries in Medellín and Colombia. Finally, Medellin Guru has partnered with a visa agency to offer Colombia visa services.

All of our Colombia visa articles were updated in 2022 to ensure they are up-to-date and are being updated again in 2023 In addition, all visa articles on this website will be kept up-to-date as new details are disclosed.

The bottom line: Best Colombia banks for foreigners

Remember that different banks in Colombia offer options for foreigners, and the most convenient one will depend on your individual needs.

Although the rules and requirements for foreigners to open a bank account in Colombia may not be completely clear to banking advisors, there are standard requirements that must be fulfilled. These include having a cédula de extranjería, a passport, a RUT (tax identification number), a good credit history, and an income certificate. 

To request a RUT as a natural person, you must make an appointment through the DIAN website, which will be in Spanish. However, expatgroup.co can help you with this process. 

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