QCOSTARICA – One of the problems of many foreigners non-residents in Costa Rica is opening a bank account. But that has all changed.

Now the Banco of Costa Rica (BCR) allows any person to open an account only presenting identification (identity card, passport or DIMEX) and providing a cell phone number.

Click here to open an account
Click here to open an account

In addition, opening a bank account at the BCR can be done online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The online application form is simple and straightforward, fill in all the boxes or call the mobile banking number at 2211 1111. Within minutes the customer receives their account number by email and / or text message, then wait for notification to pick the bank card.

Of course, you can still visit a BCR branch and wait in line.

The account is full service, that is the customers have access to all branch services and electronic channels including receiving salary by direct deposit, withdraw money at ATMs , shopping in stores and make online payments for utilities and other services.

For foreigners without residency – that is opening an account with only a passport – the limitation is a maximum monthly deposit of up to US$1,000. (Click here for rules – in Spanish)

The new rules, for now, is only at the BCR and is part of the state bank’s simplified account opening program (Apertura de Cuentas de Expediente Simplificado – CES).

The change was created by executive decree as an effort by the Government to allow sectors of the population finding it difficult to comply with all the requirements of openness required by regulators and the financial system

In this way, by allowing non-resident foreigners, as in the case of many domestic workers, including many north-americans in Costa Rican working at call centres, the Government can reduce the cash economy.

At the Q we decided to test the BCR. After filling out the online form, using only a passport for identification, we got the following the automated reply:

By email:

[su_highlight background=”#f7f7f7″]Estimado cliente: El Banco de Costa Rica le informa en respuesta a su gestión de solicitud de apertura cuenta en el banco tramitada el día 21/01/2016, fue exitosa. Su nuevo número de cuenta es xxx-xx-xxxxx-xxxx y su cuenta cliente es xxxxxx. (Account numbers x’d out) Pronto será notificado para el retiro de su tarjeta en la oficina 919-SANTA ANA del Banco de Costa Rica que indicó al llenar el formulario de solicitud. Gracias.[/su_highlight]


By text message:


We will update this post once we get notification and the account is open.