Bolivia Banks

Are you thinking of opening a bank account in Bolivia?

Here are answers to some important questions about Bolivian banks.

How can I open a bank account?

If you are a foreigner and wish to open a Bolivian bank account, you will have to present proof of identification and proof of residency in Bolivia. If you have a work permit, you will also have to provide a copy of that. You will also have to show any relevant business documents.

What services do Bolivian banks offer?

Banks in Bolivia provide checking accounts (cuentas corrientes), savings accounts (cuentas de ahorro), credit cards (tarjetas de crédito), debit cards (tarjetas de débito, time deposits (depósitos a plazo), loans (prestamos) and money transfer services.

There are services for businesses and for individuals.

Because Bolivia is a developing country, if you deposit your money in a Bolivian bank you will be taking a higher risk than if you were to deposit your money in a bank with a more stable economy. Consequently, a Bolivian bank will usually offer you a higher rate of interest for your deposit.

A Bolivian bank will pay your utility bills for you. Paper checks are rarely used in Bolivia, so to pay a utility bill, you must either go to the company office in person or arrange for your bank to pay your bills directly to the company.

Most banks have ATMs. Many banks in large cities will allow you to exchange US dollars as well as bolivianos. (The boliviano is the official currency of Bolivia. One boliviano is divided into 100 centavos.)

Does Bolivia have credit unions?

Bolivia has “cooperativas”, which are equivalent to credit unions in the United States.

A cooperativa usually only provides savings accounts, but there are some cooperativas that offer checking accounts.

Cooperativas offer small loans, at high interest rates.