Stash Your Cash: Open a Bank Account

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Expat Services can help you open a bank account.

It’s not difficult to open a bank account in Bolivia if you have proof of residency, fulfill all other banking requirements, and speak Spanish. What may be more difficult is choosing which bank to benefit with your business and what type of account to open. In addition, you need a clear understanding of the paperwork you’ll be filling out, interest rates, currency rates and exchange, and other important details.

There are differences between how Bolivian and foreign banks operate and the services they provide. If you don’t speak Spanish, it can be confusing. That’s why we’ve added this to the list of Expat Services we offer foreigners who are moving to Bolivia. Because this concerns your livelihood, we encourage you to use them, especially if you don't speak Spanish.

How we help you open a bank account:

We’ll discuss with you the type of account you hope to open. We’ll describe the types of bank accounts available in Bolivia, the services local and national banks offer, and the basic requirements and documentation Bolivian banks will ask of you.

We’ll accompany you to 1-3 banks after we’ve determined what type of account you plan to open and what services you think you’ll need. We’ll assist you by translating any questions you have and their responses until you’ve become fully informed.

We’ll help you fill out all the required forms to open your bank account once you've chosen a bank.

We’ll ensure the bank explains to you which services they provide at their main office and which they provide at branch offices.

Once your account has been opened you will be issued an ATM card. When your ATM card is ready, we'll help you activate it.

Most ATMs in Bolivia have instructions in English and Spanish on their screens so using your card should not be difficult after your initial activation.

We’ll conclude our service by ensuring the bank provides you a list of bank branches and automated tellers.

Please use the form below to contact Expat Services and we'll discuss how we can best assist you in opening a bank account.

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Contact Bolivia Expat Services

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Learn more about banking in Bolivia:

We've covered the topic of banking in Bolivia quite extensively here on our website and will continue to do so as banks in Bolivia add new features and services. In addition, we hope to soon inform you further on the new Bolivian Financial Services Law (Law 393) which was passed in August 2013 and will most likely take full effect by 2015. Because Bolivia is still a developing country, it's important for you to know what your options are as a foreigner and understand other key elements of the economy in Bolivia so that you can make the best choices for yourself.

For example, we've posted photos of Bolivian money. You can read more about the national Bolivian currency, officially called the "boliviano" and abbreviated in world financial markets as BOB. You should also know that the Bolivian exchange rate fluctuates, slightly affecting the daily value of your income, savings, and prices. It's one reason why many vendors don't offer fixed prices and you'll want to learn the art of bargaining (negotiating prices) in Bolivia. If you plan to set up your own business, or do business with Bolivian companies, you should read up on Bolivian business etiquette and social customs. As a foreigner, you'll want to know the locations of the "casas de cambio" which are currency exchange houses. In addition to Bolivian banks and credit unions, they specialize in exchanging foreign currency to bolivianos and vice versa. You may also want to learn more about how to transfer money overseas from Bolivia.

For these and many reasons, we encourage you to click through to each of the blue links in these paragraphs to fully inform yourself about the differences you may encounter when you begin banking in Bolivia. And as always, please don't hesitate to contact us if you would like to see us cover additional topics, or if there are any ways in which we can assist you as you transition to living in Bolivia.

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