Opening a Panama bank account is recommended, and in some cases required, for people who want to live, work, or invest in Panama. There are many advantages of opening a Panama bank account, regardless of whether you live in Panama or operate a business in Panama. If you’re looking to open a Panama bank account, there are a number of options available to you and we can help you make the right choice.
At POLS Attorneys, we have been helping people navigate the Panama banking system for years, and stay up-to-date on current policies, rules, and best practices. POLS Attorneys can assist in finding the right bank, making introductions, providing the required forms, and ensuring you stay in compliance with local laws and regulations.
Corporate Panama Offshore Bank Account information is provided below.
For assistance in setting up Corporate Panama Offshore Bank Accounts with our recommended Panama banks, we charge an introduction and documentation processing fee of US$700.
For assistance in setting up Corporate Panama Offshore Bank Accounts with other offshore banks in Panama, we charge a set up fee of US$1,000. If you know of a particular Panama bank that you would like to set up a corporate Panama offshore bank account at, you simply notify us and we can assist you in setting it up .
* Time frames for setting up accounts with Panama banks other than our recommended Panama banks may take longer due to additional documentation that may be required.
Panamanian Banks are among the most stable banks in the world, being home to the second largest international banking center in the world, next to Switzerland. Panama also has the best bank secrecy laws available in the world today.
There are approximately 100 international banks in Panama. We have relationships with a variety of local and international banks in Panama through which our clients may open offshore bank accounts at. However, we mainly assist our clients to open corporate Panama offshore bank accounts through various Panama banks, with which we have excellent working relationships.
Most of our clients are handled by the Private Banking Departments of the offshore banks that we maintain relationships with. A bilingual, English and Spanish speaking Private Banking Official is assigned to each of our clients offshore bank accounts, and our client is provided with that persons contact information for direct communication for executing Panama banking transactions.
More Info About Panama Offshore Bank Accounts
The banks in Panama offer very attractive interest rates*.
*Quoted rates on checking and offshore savings accounts may; change without notice, vary depending on the LIBOR (London InterBank Offering Rate), be subject to minimum deposits and/or minimum balance requirements and/or certain terms for CD’s.
Internet access to your corporate Panama offshore bank account is offered through most Panama banks. Panamanian banks use the most up to date online security technology so your offshore banking information is 100% secure and confidential. Our recommended Panama banks offer offshore online banking for account viewing / downloading statements, transfers between accounts, international wire transfers, payment of credit card balances, as well as payment of local utility bills (if applicable). Please note that some Panama banks require a signed letter either faxed, emailed or delivered to the Panama bank to execute wire transfers.
Most Panama banks offer secured offshore credit cards (Visa or MasterCard). Our firm charges a processing fee of US$100 for assisting in setting up of secured offshore credit cards.
Secured offshore credit cards require that the client place a security deposit as collateral for the credit line in an amount equal to 125% of the credit limit chosen for their offshore credit card. The security deposit is frozen in the corporate Panama offshore bank account (offshore savings account or offshore CD / offshore time deposit) until the offshore credit card is closed, although the funds held as collateral will still earn interest while in the security deposit. As the offshore credit card is used, the Panama bank will automatically debit the entire monthly balance of the offshore credit card charges from the remaining balance in the corporate Panama offshore bank account at the end of the monthly credit card billing cycle. Therefore, the client must maintain enough funds in the offshore bank account to pay for the monthly credit card charges.
Annual fees for offshore credit cards start at US$50 or more according to the type of credit card chosen. Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Airline miles credit cards are available for earning airline flight miles for offshore credit card usage. American Express is also available through certain Panama banks.
Offshore debit cards are offered for corporate Panama offshore bank accounts through some of our recommended offshore banks in Panama. Offshore debit cards have the “Clave” symbol on them, and can be used at any point of sale or ATM that accepts “Plus” or “Interlink” cards (accepted world-wide). The Panama banks annual fees for debit cards are from US$20. There are transaction fees of 40 cents for local ATM cash withdrawals, and there may be slightly higher fees associated with point of sale transactions, or ATM cash withdrawals at ATMs outside of Panama, depending on the merchant you purchase from, what country you are in, or what bank or ATM you withdraw cash from.
Most banks in Panama offer offshore time deposits (offshore certificates of deposits, or “Offshore CD’s”), which are referred to as “Plazo Fijo”, in Spanish. Each Panama banks rates vary according to their banking regulations, business practices, etc. Under Panamanian law, the minimum amount for an offshore time deposit at a Panamanian bank is US$10,000. Some of our recommended Panama banks currently offer up to 8% annual interest** on USD time deposits (Offshore Certificates of Deposit).*
*Please note that for deposit amounts over US$100,000, the bank officer is able to negotiate special deposit rates with the Panamanian bank, depending on the amount and term.
**Quoted rates on checking and offshore savings accounts may; change without notice, vary depending on the LIBOR (London InterBank Offering Rate), be subject to minimum deposits and/or minimum balance requirements and/or certain terms for offshore CD’s.
Through most Panamanian banks, Corporate Panama Offshore Savings Accounts are available. Interest rates vary depending on the deposited amount, however, one of the Panamanian banks we maintain relationships with is currently offering up to 4% annual interest* on corporate Panama offshore savings accounts with balances above $5,000.
*Quoted rates on checking and offshore savings accounts may; change without notice, vary depending on the LIBOR (London InterBank Offering Rate), be subject to minimum deposits and/or minimum balance requirements and/or certain terms for offshore CD’s.
Through most Panamanian banks, there are two types of Corporate Panama Offshore Checking Accounts available:
A. International Checking: This account is useful for those who need an offshore bank account with internationally accepted USD checking facilities. The checks from this account are accepted around the globe.
Minimum Initial Deposit: US$5,000.
Interest Rate: no interest is paid on checking
Minimum Balance Requirement: US$5,000.
B. Local Checking: This account is useful for those who wish to operate an actual business within Panama, and need an account for making USD payments to any local person or business in Panama. However, the checks from this account are only valid for deposit or compensation locally within the Republic of Panama. One of the Panama banks we maintain a relationship with has the following terms:
Minimum Initial Deposit: US$1,000.
Interest Rate: No interest is paid on this account.
Minimum Balance Requirement: US$500.
Monthly fee if balance falls below US$500: US$10.
Account statements may be sent by email or post mail.
Certified Local Check Fee: US$5.
Certified International Check: US$10.
Certified Local Check Fee: $5.00
Certified International Check Fee: $10.00 – $25 (depends on amount)
Wire Transfer In Fee: From $20 (depends on amount)
Wire Transfer Out Fees: $50 – $100 (depends on amount)
*Fees are subject to change without prior notice. We do not guarantee the accuracy of the above published banking fees as the bank may change the fees at any time without notice.
** Acceptable deposits are USD cash, USD Checks (personal or bank certified checks), or wire transfers. Unacceptable deposits are money orders, travelers checks, double endorsed checks, foreign items/thrift withdrawal orders, returned checks, and checks referring to more than one account number.
For set up of Corporate Panama Offshore Bank Accounts, the following documentation is required by the Panama bank:
A. Photocopy of passport for each signatory. The photocopy of passport must include the photo of the person, the personal details (passport number, etc.), the signature, and photocopies of ALL pages including entry/exit stamped pages. The photocopy should be clear and legible and it should be NOTARIZED.
B. Two Financial Reference Letters. The financial reference letter can be from any bank, brokerage firm, or credit union. The letter should be an original on the financial institutions letterhead, it should be addressed to the bank you are planning to process the bank account at, and should include the signature of an official, and the contact information (address, telephone, fax, email, etc.). There is no specific format that the reference letter must be written in.
C. One Commercial or Professional Reference Letter. The commercial or professional reference letter can be from any company or professional that you have a commercial business, or professional relationship with. The letter should be an original on the company or professionals letterhead, and should include the signature of the representative of the company or the professional, and the contact information (address, telephone, fax, email, etc.). There is no specific format that the reference letter must be written in.
D. Company Profile Letter. The company profile letter should be on your company letterhead, signed by the signatory(s) on the account, with complete contact information. The letter should explain in detail the nature of the business activities, an explanation of what products or services the company is selling, the regions where the company is conducting business, the purpose of the account, and a brief description of the estimated monthly banking activity anticipated for the account.
E. Proof of Address. The Panama bank requires that you provide a photocopy of a recent utility bill (such as an electric power bill, water bill, cable tv bill, internet service bill, phone bill, etc.) showing your personal name and physical address (P.O. Box is not accepted).
F. Signed Account Applications. If you wish to be the signatory on the account, then each signatory must sign the original bank account applications. As account signatory, you will have the power to execute all types of banking functions with your corporate Panama offshore bank account. Most Panamanian banks’ policies require an interview face to face with the client. In other words, the signatory must come to Panama for a personal interview with the bankers, and sign all the required account applications. However, if opening a bank account in a foreign (non-Panamanian) bank, then once the offshore bank account introduction service is paid, we will courier or e-mail you the bank account applications indicating where you must sign and no personal interview is required.
* Documentation requirements are subject to change without notice.
** Offshore banks other than our recommended offshore banks may require other documentation.
Below we have included the Panama bank account set up procedures for the Panama banks that we maintain relationships with (Please note that set up procedures may be different if dealing with other banks):
A. Submit an Online Application – Click on “Order Now”, and complete an online application, then hit “submit”.
B. Submit Payment – Payment can be made by Bank Wire Transfer, Western Union Money Transfer, USD Check, or USD International Money Order.
C. Interview at the bank – Once we receive the payment, we will contact you to coordinate and schedule the interview at the requested Panama bank during the days you will be in Panama. The applications will be completed and signed at the bank.
D. Account is Set Up – The offshore bank account number will generally be provided within 10 to 20 business days from the date the final due diligence documents are submitted to the Panama bank. Please note that new offshore account processing times may vary depending on the volume of offshore bank accounts that the particular bank is processing at that time.
E. Begin Using Account – Once the offshore bank account is approved by the Panama banks compliance department, the banker will email you the complete offshore bank account protocol for making deposits, executing wire transfers, contact information of the Panama bank, etc. At that point, you deal directly with the Panama bank for all account transactions.