Expat Medellin Living Part 3: Opening Bank Accounts

Expat Local Guides
December 27, 2017

Expat Medellin Living Part 3: Opening Bank Accounts

Expat Medellin Living Part 3: Opening Bank Accounts

Expat Medellin Living Part 3: Opening Bank Accounts. You successfully applied for your Colombian visa. Then submitted the paperwork for your cédula de extranjería. Stop reading if you haven’t completed those two steps.

However, everyone with a visa and a cédula de extranjería. Time to open your first Colombian bank account. And establish a Colombian credit history.

Top Colombian Banks

Your first step is to do research. Select the bank which best fits your needs.

The largest banks in Colombia are below. However, being the largest isn’t always the best.

  1. Bancolombia
  2. Banco de Bogota
  3. Davivienda

Again the above banks are the largest. However, many small banks offer a lot. Personalized service and excellent customer service to name a few. Find the bank which fits your specific needs.


Doing business with Bancolombia makes a lot of sense. Especially if you live in Medellin. Bancolombia has ATm’s everywhere. You will always have quick access to your cash. Furthermore, they are constantly making improvements.

Bancolombia is above and beyond the most advanced bank in Colombia.

However, their popularity is also a negative. Lines are always long. Furthermore, they are eliminating branches in the name of more profits. Forcing clients to use automated machines and online services.

But those services are still very new to Colombians. And are rarely used. Hence, many clients use the teller to make small withdrawals using their debit card.

Banco de Bogota

The oldest bank in Colombia. However, very modern and always innovating. Most of the Banco de Bogota clients are older and wealthier. Furthermore, they have quality customer service.


In my opinion Davivienda has the best customer service for business accounts. Davivienda has many branches dedicated to only business accounts.

Top international banks

Citibank is the best bank for receiving international wires. However, Citibank doesn’t have many branches. And rumor has it they are leaving Colombia.

How to open an account?

You completed your research on Colombian banks. And you’re ready to open your first Colombian bank account. However, opening an account in your bank of choice isn’t up to you.

Banks decide who they want to do business with. Furthermore, most will ask for references before opening any accounts. And some will ask you to meet certain minimum income requirements. Checking accounts requiere a credit check. Most Colombians only have savings accounts.

Hence, make sure you meet the banks requirements. And have solid references. Because they will call them. Best of luck.

Establishing Credit in Colombia

Step one, open Colombian bank account. Step two, establish credit in Colombia. However, start with store cards. Furthermore, credit in Colombia is difficult to receive initially.

One of the best options is Banco Falabella. Falabella is a large retail store with their own bank. However, the interest rates are high.

Expat Medellin Living Part 3: Opening Bank Accounts

In conclusion, do your homework. Research multiple Colombian banks. Ask bank customers their opinion. Furthermore, review the fees and requirements.

The final step is to establish credit. However, don’t go crazy applying. Start small and slowly build your credit history. Furthermore, your credit history at home is irrelevant. Best of luck. And if you have any questions shoot me a quick email [email protected]

Expat Medellin Living Part 3: Opening Bank Accounts

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2 thoughts on “Expat Medellin Living Part 3: Opening Bank Accounts”

  1. Kevin D says:

    Hi i am in thr process of starting a business in medellin. What is your advice if we were family as far as which bank to work with. I am leaning towards Banco de Bogota. Thank you for your time.
    Kind Regards

    1. ARSimon says:

      Hi Kevin, to be honest most banks are created equally. I use Citi for personal and Davivienda for business. Many people in Medellin use bancolombia. It’s convenient they are fully tied into the Medellin system. To me it’s also about the personal relationships. I have a person in each bank to contact when I have a problem. My father in law banks with Bogota and he seems very happy.

      Best of luck with your new business,

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