New Banking Regulations in Costa Rica

The restrictions on new bank accounts being lifted.

Some of the national banks in Costa Rica have been making changes to their previous restrictions on opening new accounts for foreigners.  In the past few year, it has become increasingly difficult to open a new banking account at some banks.  This has been seriously affecting the foreign population who aim to start a new life here.

Previously banks were requiring permanent residents, temporary foreigners, and visiting tourists to produce a cedula, and you can only receive one of these after a very long, involved, and costly residency application process.  But now Banco Nacional (BN), Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) Grupo Mutual, and Bancredito are allowing foreigners to open their new accounts without needing to produce a cedula number.

Earlier this year, a Simplified Account (Cuenta de Expedients Simplificado) was approved.  Over 200,000 foreigners have taken advantage of the changes to the banking system.  This simplified process reduces the sheer amount of paperwork required to open an account, and requires only a passport as proof of ID.  This new system will provide a banking card that allows the bank’s clients to use the ATM’s both in the country and internationally.  These clients will also have access to the online banking functions at their bank.  There are two limits still in place though – a monthly deposit limit of a maximum deposit of $1,000 US or the equivalent in colones, and there can only be two accounts issued per client.

So it is now easier to set up your new bank account and your new life in Costa Rica.


VIAJannette MacKinnon
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