One of the most common questions is about opening a bank account in Costa Rica.

Discover how to open a bank account, whether you’re a foreigner or not! Get ready for all the paperwork and learn about top banks. Also, here you will know if you can open an account, which is the local bank account requirement.

The banking system in Costa Rica is well-established and offers a range of services to both individuals and businesses, from checking and savings accounts to loans and investment options.

Having a bank account is not only convenient, but it’s also essential for several practical reasons. For starters, having a bank account enables you to receive your salary or any other income directly into your account, making it easier to manage your finances and keep track of your expenses. Additionally, most bill payments, including utilities, can be created automatically from your bank account, saving you time and hassle.

Another advantage of opening an account in Costa Rica is its increased security. Instead of carrying large amounts of cash, you can keep your money in the bank, where it’s safe from theft or loss.

Requisites of Bank Account in Costa Rica

Sooner or later, the investor, or if you are playing to live in Costa Rica, will have to deal with opening an account. Costa Rican banks are authorized by law to offer said service under specific circumstances, and the primary purpose is to identify the client and to accomplish the money laundering politics.

It should be clarified that the demands vary from bank to bank since these rules are not a concrete list stipulated in the law; depending on each case, a bank can order different conditions when dealing with several new clients. Nevertheless, most banks ask for the same demands nationwide.

This article will provide the requirements that can be ordered to a natural (individual) person or a legal entity (corporations, associations, companies, etc.) by a bank to open a bank account or access their services.

Requisites for Individual:

  • Costa Rican citizens: original and valid identification card.
  • Foreigners must show a DIMEX card (residence card) for the person who is a legal resident. This requirement can be demanded or not depending on the bank, even though the law requires one to ask for it; due to the growing foreign investment in Costa Rica; the banks are more flexible regarding this requisite.
  • Non-resident foreigner citizens: Passport with the entry and visa entry stamp in the cases needed in Costa Rica.
  • Sign the Know Your Client Form (KWC) (“Conozca A Su Cliente”).
  • Proof of income.

Requisites for a Company.

  • A certificate of good standing also must indicate who the representatives are, their powers and faculties, and their appointment period.
  • Certificate of the company’s social capital according to the shareholders’ book in the case of Costa Rican corporations.
  • Associations, charitable foundations, cooperatives, and similar organizations: must request the equivalent documents of this type of entity.
  • Sign the Know Your Client Form (“Formulario Conozca A Su Cliente”).
  • Proof of the company’s income or origin of the funds that justify the transactions that will be carried out.
  • For the justification of the company’s income, the following documentation can be considered reasonable (for linking up the account and further updates).
  • Financial statements of the last fiscal period must be provided certified, audited, or duly endorsed by the accountant and the legal representative.
  • Companies that start operations can provide their projected cash flow statement, which must be updated at the end of the client’s first year of operation and then replaced by their financial statements that need to be audited, certified, or duly endorsed by an accountant or their legal representative.

Can a Foreigner Open a Bank Account in Costa Rica?

If you’re a foreigner planning to live or do business in Costa Rica, you may wonder if you can open a bank account there. The short answer is yes; foreigners can open a bank account in Costa Rica. However, specific requirements and procedures must be followed.

Firstly, it’s important to note that each bank may have specific requirements, so it’s always best to check with the bank directly for their specific guidelines. That being said, here are some general conditions that most banks in Costa Rica typically have:

  1. Identification: You must provide a valid passport or a Costa Rican residency card (“cedula”) for the person who has legal residency. Some banks may also require additional forms of identification.
  2. Proof of address: You must provide a document showing your current address, such as a utility bill or a rental agreement.
  3. Initial deposit: Some banks may require an initial deposit to open the account. This amount can vary depending on the bank and the type of account you are opening.
  4. Source of income: You may be asked to provide information about your source of income, such as employment or investments.
  5. References: Some banks may require references from other banks or financial institutions.

It’s also worth noting that if you are not a resident of Costa Rica, you may be subject to certain tax regulations. This is something you should discuss with the bank or a tax professional.

When opening a Costa Rica bank account, choosing a reputable bank that meets your specific needs is essential. Some of the most popular banks in Costa Rica include Banco Nacional, Banco de Costa Rica, and Scotiabank.

In summary, while some requirements and procedures must be followed, foreigners can generally open a bank account in Costa Rica. Doing your research and working with a trusted bank can ensure that your banking needs are met while living or doing business in the country.

As a final piece of advice, do get disappointed if you are denied opening your account, this is very common, and you only need to try in another bank.

Can I Open a Bank Account as a Non-Resident?

The short answer is yes; it is possible to open a bank account in Costa Rica as a non-resident. However, the process and requirements may vary depending on the bank and the type of account you want to open. Understanding the needs and process is essential to ensure a smooth and successful application.

One of the first things to remember is that some banks in Costa Rica require applicants to have a Costa Rican ID card, known as a cedula. However, some banks do not require a cedula and accept other forms of identification, such as a passport or a driver’s license.

 Best Bank in Costa Rica

First, you may understand that you will find two types of banks in Costa Rica: Public and Private.

Public means state-owned banks, which means the government supports public banks, guaranteeing that your money will be secure before bankruptcy.

Private is referred to as private capital; even though it is regulated and supervised by the National Superintended of Financial Institutions (SUGEF), the costa rican government will not be responsible for any bankruptcy.

From the capital point of view, Banco Nacional de Costa Rica is one the best bank in Costa Rica. It is the largest bank in the country, with over 200 branches across the country, making it accessible to most parts of the country. Banco Nacional de Costa Rica is also the oldest bank in the country, with over 100 years of experience.

Banco de Costa Rica is a very solid bank regarding the capital supporting your money.

From the perspective of an account holder, client assistant, and online banking point view, private banks are much better than Banco Nacional and Banco de Costa Rica. Banks such as BAC Credomatic, Scotiabank, and Promerica have much better online services than public ones and are more flexible for open accounts.

You may check first what the banks offer and what banks require before you submit your documents.

AML (Anti Money Laundering) Regulations

Because of the AML in Costa Rica, when you are getting involved in the process of opening a bank account or once you have one already opened, one of the most common requisites is proof of income and having an updated profile in your bank account, so here are some reasons why these requisites are important for banking purposes in Costa Rica:

  1. Compliance with regulations Banks in a cosmusty law to comply with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations. One critical key requirement is to verify the source of funds, and proof of income is an essential part of this process. By providing proof of income, you demonstrate that your funds come from a legitimate source. This aspect is based on law 8204 (Law on Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic substances, Drugs of unauthorized use, related activities, money laundering, and financing of terrorism).
  2. To update your profile as a banking system user once a year is mandatory; if you don’t perform this task once you are asked to do it, one of the consequences can be that the bank can close your account.

Summarizing, getting involved in opening a bank account in Costa Rica is not a simple task; please get in touch with us, and AG LEGAL will help you through this process.