This is my experience with opening an Ecuador bank account as well as opening an account with a cooperative.
Last Friday I had a friend of mine meet me at Mall del Rio in Cuenca to translate for me. He’s from the states and has a university degree in Spanish. He also teaches Spanish part time in Cuenca. His English and Spanish are both flawless, written and oral. He’s a good guy and I’ve known him for about six months. Mall del Rio has a financial wing and I think every financial institution in the country has a branch there. I went to the mall on a mission to open two bank accounts.
There are only two banks in Ecuador that are authorized to accept direct deposit from the U.S. Treasury, Banco Quayaquil and Produbanco. If you’re interested in getting Social Security payments that way those are your two choices in Ecuador.
To open a checking account with Banco Guayaquil they want to see a cedula for I.D., $450 for an initial deposit and a copy of a water bill or electric bill. The bill needs to be less than 60 days old. I didn’t have a bill so my friend brought a copy of his water bill. What’s funny is they never asked to see the bill, just my cedula and $450 to open a checking account and that’s it, your mileage may vary. It was $50 for 100 checks and $8 for the debit card (Mastercard). They said to come back Wednesday, yesterday, to pick up the checks and card.
From there we went to Produbanco so I could open another account. They wanted a reference letter and a bunch of other garbage so we left. From there we went to Banco Pinchincha and it was the same thing, too many hoops to jump through.
I really just wanted another debit card account so we went to JEP which isn’t a bank, it’s a coop but they give you a Visa debit card. You can open an account with less than $20, I think it’s $14. A passport is sufficient for I.D. After signing what seemed like about 20 documents they said to come back Wednesday, yesterday, for the card.
So Wednesday, yesterday, I met my friend at the mall to pick up the cards and activate them and set the pin numbers. In the states you activate a bank card via phone and also set the pin number via phone. Here both institutions each gave me a temporary 4 digit pin number. You simply step outside and stick your card in their ATM and using their temporary one time use PIN that activates the card, you then change the PIN to one you want.
When I returned to pick up my debit card at JEP they wanted a copy of my passport and U.S. social security card also. They didn’t tell me that last Friday but they let me have the card and I emailed them both of those things later.