Personal Panama Bank Account - Information and Steps to Setup Account

Personal Panama Bank Account

Personal Panama Bank Account:

Set Up Fees:

For introduction and assistance in setting up a Panama Personal Bank Account with our primary correspondent banks in Panama, International Relocation Firm charges a set up fee of US$700.

For introduction and assistance in setting up Panama Personal Bank Accounts with other Panama banks in Panama, we charge a set up fee of US$1,000. If you know of a particular Panama bank that you would like to set up a Panama personal bank account at, you simply notify us and we can assist you in walking you through the application process, completing the forms, and all the due diligence process.

* Time frames for setting up accounts with Panama banks other than our primary correspondent Panama banks may take longer due to additional documentation that may be required.


About Panama Banks:

Panamanian Banks are among the most stable banks in the region, providing services to the local Panamanian economy as well as the international companies and clienele that have chosen Panama to be either their regional headquarters or home. Panama banks also offer US Dollar accounts, which is the circulating currency of Panama which is pegged to the Panamanian balboa currency. Panama banks are very conservative and selective, in both their lending practices as well as the individuals and businesses that they will accept to do business with. The Panama Canal, the multiple international ports, the special economic zones, and the free trade zones combined create a massive amount of international trade to and from Panama, which is one of the main reasons that there are so many multi-national companies established in Panama, hence a large banking center. There are approximately 100 banks in Panama. We have relationships with a variety of local and international banks in Panama through which we assist our clients to open personal Panama bank accounts. However, we mainly assist our clients to open Panama bank accounts through our primary correspondent Panama banks, with whom we have excellent relationships.

Similar to other international banking centers, Panamanian banks offer several types of accounts, with different levels of service, different financial or deposit product offerings, and different minimum deposit amounts. Most of our clients are handled by the Private Banking Departments of our primary correspondent Panama banks, where a bilingual, English and Spanish speaking Private Banking Official is assigned to each account, and our client is provided with that persons contact information for direct communication for executing Panama banking transactions.  However, for those who do not need such a high level of service, and prefer lower bank fees, the standard banking service is also an option, where the service is less personalized, and the clients deal with whatever banker is available at the moment at the different branches available to the public.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: US Persons (citizens or residents of the US) must report all foreign bank accounts that they own or sign on, on their annual US tax filings. Panama banks will require all US persons to sign the US tax forms authorizing the bank to automatically report all US owned bank accounts to the US tax authorities.


Interest Rates:

The banks in Panama offer very attractive interest rates*. Interest rates vary from bank to bank on USD savings accounts, and USD time deposits (Certificates of Deposit), so check with our service staff for updates.

*Quoted rates on checking and savings accounts may; change without notice, vary depending on the LIBOR (London InterBank Offering Rate), be subject to minimum deposits and/or minimum balance requirements and/or certain terms for CD’s.


Online Panama Banking:
Internet access to your Panama bank account is offered through most Panama banks. Panamanian banks use the most up to date online security technology so your banking information is 100% secure.


Credit Card:

Panamanian banks also offer secured credit cards (Visa or MasterCard). Our firm charges a processing fee of US$200 for assisting in setting up of secured credit cards, however, assistance is usually not necessary as this service can be requested directly with the banker who can assist in completing the required forms.

Secured credit cards require that the client place a security deposit in an amount equal to 125% of the credit limit chosen for their credit card. The security deposit is frozen in the corporate or personal bank account (or CD/time deposit) until the card is closed, although the funds still earn interest while in the security deposit. As the credit card is used, the Panama bank will automatically debit the entire monthly balance of the credit card charges from the remaining bank account balance at the end of the monthly credit card billing cycle.

Annual fees for credit cards start at US$50 or more according to the type of credit card chosen. Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Airline miles credit cards are available for earning airline flight miles for credit card usage.


Debit Cards:

Debit cards are offered for Panama bank accounts through most banks in Panama. Debit cards have either Visa, MasterCard, or the “Clave” symbol on them, and can be used at any point of sale or ATM that accepts “Plus” or “Interlink” cards (accepted world-wide). The banks annual fees for debit cards are between US$15 and US$30. There are no per transaction fees for ATM cash withdrawals at the banks ATM’s, although there may be small fees associated with withdrawals from other banks ATM’s, or for point of sale transactions, depending on the merchant you purchase from.


Time Deposits:

Most banks in Panama offer time deposits (certificates of deposits, or “CD’s”), which are referred to as “Plazo Fijo”, in Spanish. Each Panama banks rates vary according to their Panama banking regulations, business practices, etc. Under Panamanian law, the minimum amount for a time deposit at a Panamanian bank is US$10,000. Some Panama banks offer attractive annual interest on USD time deposits (Certificates of Deposit), so check with our service staff on updated rates. For large deposit amounts, rates are sometimes negotiable, depending on the amount and term of the deposit.


Panama Bank Saving Accounts:

Savings Accounts are available through our most Panama banks. Interest rates vary depending on the deposited amount.

*Quoted rates on checking and savings accounts may; change without notice, vary depending on the LIBOR (London InterBank Offering Rate), be subject to minimum deposits and/or minimum balance requirements and/or certain terms for CD’s.


Panama Bank Checking Accounts:

Panama banks currently only offer local Checking Accounts:

The Panama bank local checking account is useful for those who need an account for making USD payments to any local person or business in Panama. However, the checks from this Panama bank checking account are only valid for deposit or compensation locally within the Republic of Panama.

– Minimum Initial Deposit: US$5000.
– Interest Rate: No interest is paid on this account.
– Minimum Balance Requirement: US$1000.
– Monthly fee if balance falls below US$1000: US$10.
– Returned Check Fee: US$35.
– Account statements may be sent by email or post mail.
– Checkbook with 50 checks: US$5.
– Certified Local Check Fee: US$5.
– Cashiers Check: US$10.


Miscellaneous Fees (In US$):

Certified Local Check Fee: $5.00
Wire Transfer In Fee: $30 – $50 (depends on amount)
Wire Transfer Out Fees: $50 – $100 or more (depends on amount)

*The above mentioned Banking Fees are those quoted by the bank, and are subject to change without prior notice. We do not guarantee the accuracy of the above published fees, they are just an estimate as to what is currently being offered by most Panamanian banks.

** Acceptable deposits are coins in Balboas, or USD cash (certain limits apply for cash deposits), USD Checks (personal or bank certified checks), or wire transfers. Unacceptable deposits are money orders, travelers checks, double endorsed checks, foreign items/thrift withdrawal orders, returned checks, and checks referring to more than one account number.


Documentation Requirements: (Banker-Documents)

For set up of Panama Personal Bank Accounts, the Panama banks require the following documentation for each signatory:

A. Proof of Identity: When the client appears at the bank for the personal interview, the banker will request the original passport of the client, along with a second ID such as a drivers license or country ID card (in Panama it is called a “cedula”). The banker will make a copy of the original ID document.

B. Financial Reference Letter. The financial reference letter can be from any bank, brokerage firm, or credit union. The letter should be on the financial institutions letterhead, and should include the signature of an official, and the contact information (address, telephone, fax, email, etc.). There is no specific format that the reference letter must be written in.

Example of Financial Reference Letter

C. Proof of Source of Funds or Proof of Income: The proof of source of funds is generally copies of your last few years of personal tax returns / declarations, or audited financial statements.

D. Proof of Residential Address: You must provide proof of your residential address where you currently live, for example, a utility bill showing your name and personal address.

* Documentation requirements are subject to change without notice.
** Some Panama Banks may require additional documentation.


Set Up Procedures:

Below we have included Panama bank account set up procedures for our primary correspondent Panama bank (Please note that set up procedures may be different if dealing with other banks):

A. Contact Us – Contact our law office and arrange a meeting with one of our attorneys to understand the entire process, and get a formal quote.

B. Submit Payment – pay our legal fees for the bank introduction and expenses.

C. Interview – Once we receive payment, we will coordinate and schedule the interview with the bank. Please, take notice you need to come to Panama for a personal interview with the selected bank, and all account applications will be completed and signed during the interview.

D. Account is Set Up – When you have the due diligence documentation, the Panama bank account applications will be completed and forwarded to the bank. The Panama bank account number will generally be provided within the same day of the bank interview for personal accounts, and within 15 to 60 business days from the date the documents are submitted to the bank for corporate accounts (corporate accounts require a much more extensive due diligence process).

E. Begin Using Account – Once you receive notice from the bank that the account number has been issued, the bank officer will send you the complete account protocol for making deposits, executing wire transfers, contact information of the Panama bank, etc.

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