Overview of Opening a Bank Account in Panama
Panama is one of the largest international banking centres in Central America. A non-resident who banks in this country has the same rights as a resident of this country. The process of opening a bank account in Panama is a straightforward process. Certain documents along with the work permit in Panama (if applicable) are required to open a bank account in Panama. The business has to show proof of Panama address which can be a Panama Utility Bill or Panama Rental Agreement. Due diligence is conducted based on the documents submitted to ensure the eligibility of the applicant for a Panama Bank Account before approval of the application for opening a bank account. To make an application for opening a bank account in Panama, the first thing to be decided is the type of account one wants to open. The common types of bank accounts are personal accounts, business accounts, and joint accounts. After deciding the type of bank, one has to approach the bank of their choice to open a bank account. For personal accounts, it is better to open an account in large international banks. Some large banks international banks are HSBC and Citibank. For a business account, it is better to open a bank account in a local bank. Some of the local banks in Panama are Banco General and Banistmo. After choosing a suitable bank, all required documents are to be provided to the bank for Opening a bank account. Let's discuss the process of opening a bank account in Panama in detail.
Opening a Bank Account in Panama
Step 1: Engage a Local Partner in Panama
Local Partners can be law firms or consultants. Local partners can assist in opening a bank account in Panama. Even though the process of opening a bank account in Panama is simple but there are certain factors such as language, cultural barriers, and technical aspects which make it important to engage a local partner and provide support throughout the process.
Step 2: Match Business Needs with a Suitable Bank in Panama
Based on the company's activities, a suitable bank is chosen. As some banks are more flexible when it comes to opening investment accounts, flexible payment methods, international transfers, etc. Thus, it is important to choose a bank that suits the business's needs and requirements.
Step 3: Documentation Related To Opening a Bank Account in Panama
The applicant has provided documents to show that he/it is eligible to open a bank account in Panama. Duly certified or apostilled copies of passport, financial statements, and bank and commercial documents should be submitted to complete the process of opening a bank account.
Documents Required For Opening a Bank Account in Panama
The following are the documents that most banks require for opening a bank account in Panama:
- Driver’s License
- One or possibly two bank reference letters from your home country
- A statement from your bank that your account is in good standing
- Utility Bill (if required)
- Personal recommendation from someone in Panama
- A minimum deposit of USD 50 to USD 200
One has to fill out the necessary forms for opening a bank account and submit the application forms along with the requisite documents. And then wait for the approval process which takes a couple of weeks.
What Are The Benefits Of Opening A Bank Account In Panama?
The benefits of opening a bank account in Panama can vary depending upon the personal and financial needs, and the incentives and benefits linked to it. However, in general, opening a bank account in Panama has the following benefits:
- A well-regulated banking system that offers safety and security.
- Better returns on investments as compared to many domestic banks in North America and Europe.
- Panama Bank Account gives access to investment and business opportunities in Panama which is available otherwise. The investment opportunities offered by Panama Banks give strategic and financial advantages with foreign capital operating outside foreign banks.
- Favourable tax laws for foreigners help take advantage of the benefits.
- Banks in Panama are regulated by Superintendencia de Bancos de Panama (SBP) which is equivalent to U.S. Federal Reserve. It is the responsibility of the SBP to ensure that all banks in Panama follow strict guidelines and regulations.
What Are The Products Or Services Offered By Banks In Panama?
Every Bank in Panama offers savings and checking accounts along with ATM facilities, time deposits, credit and debit card facilities, and full online banking services. Panama Banks allow 125% of the monthly maximum credit limit deposit to obtain a credit card. However, to have USD 1000 monthly limit, one has to deposit USD 1250 before obtaining a credit card. It is better to explore the lowest rates and fees as credit card rates and fees vary from bank to bank. It is better to obtain ATM cards using Clave (Latin America) or Plus (Worldwide) logo systems as they can be used in many ATMs in the country. This is because even though Panama Banks may be utilizing modern facilities but some bank branches in rural areas may not have modern facilities or services similar to that of the city branches. Panama has a variety of banks such as global banks, private banks, investment banks, and local banks. Further, it also has government banks which are popular among locals as it offers similar services ad the other banks however, it is quite difficult for foreigners to open accounts in government banks.