I’m not using an ATM in Ecuador. While I was still in California I read a number of horror stories about expats using an ATM (automatic teller machine) here only to have the transaction “canceled” with no money coming out of the machine but their bank account was debited for the amount requested. I had this happen in Texas once also. It’s fixable but it’s a major hassle, contacting your bank etc.
For this reason and others I’ve decided not to use an ATM here. Last week I walked into a branch of Banco del Pacifico in Cuenca, handed the teller my passport and a 3 x 5 index card with “$500.00 por favor” written on it and my Visa debit card from a U.S. bank. I don’t have an account there and walked out with $500.00. As I understand it you can do that at any bank in Ecuador without an account, you will need to bring your passport or Cedula for identification. The bank didn’t charge me anything and my bank in the U.S. didn’t either, plus I didn’t have to bother with an ATM maximum per day withdrawal limit.
Write your address and phone number on the index card also, they’ll find it. No Spanish necessary.
Update – 4/18/2015: For that last five months or so I’ve been using Banco de Guayaquil, still no ATM’s or bank account in Ecuador.