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BANKING IN COLOMBIA

All kinds of bank and credit cards work in Colombia. At the ATM, credit cards charge an extra fee. How can I get money at arrival? 

When paying with a credit card at the supermarket they’ll sometimes ask in how many instalments (cuotas) you like to pay. Just answer with 1 because you want to pay immediately all at once, right?

If you need to transfer some money in or outside other than by bank account, you can use the money transfer services. The most popular companies are: Supergiros, Efecty and Western Union.

When you want to cash money, be aware of the fact that in popular places like Cartagena ATM machines run out of money very quickly in the weekend. So take out some cash before the weekend starts. Also prefer a machine in a safe place, to avoid robbing and skimming.

If you visit a bank, you should never use a mobile phone inside, for security, it is not allowed!

If you need to arrange something at the bank counter, don’t go when most Colombians receive their salaries, generally in the middle and at the end of the month. You´ll probably have to queue for a very long time! Furthermore avoid banking during daily lunchtimes as you´ll find only a few counters open…

ATM?

Bahía Solano: yes but sometimes out of service, don’t take the risk!

Bonda / Paso del Mango: no

Cabo de la Vela/ Punta Gallinas: no (ATM in Riohacha)

Capurganá/Sapzuro: no (when you are lucky: in one hotel in Capurganá you get money but only at an extra cost)

Ciudad Perdida: no

Guasca: yes

Islas de San Bernardo & Rosario: no (ATM in Cartagena or Tolú)

Leticia: yes

Minca: no

Mompos: yes 

Nuqui: no

Palomino: no

Puerto Colombia: yes

Puerto Nariño: no

Rincón del Mar: no

Rio Claro: no

San Blas: no

San Cipriano: no (ATM in Buenaventura, Buga or Cali)

San Jeronimo: yes

Taganga: yes but no all cards work here

Tolu: yes

In all national parks in Colombia, there are no ATM machines.

Border countries

  • Panama – San Blas – Colombia

Change your US$ into Colombian pesos in Panama City (better rate) OR in Sapzurro/Capurgana. There are no cash machines in San Blas, Sapzurro or Capurgana. Get cash money in Turbo.

In San Blas you pay with US$. Sapzurro and Capurgana are already in Colombian pesos.

  • Colombia – San Blas – Panama

Change your Colombian pesos into US$ in the bigger cities. For example, get your money sorted in Cartagena or Medellin. But realize that in Sapzurro and Capurgana, a great part of the year there are fresh lobsters and extra activities like diving. It would be a pity to miss it because you run out of money.

For expats
Net banking in Colombia is still complicated. You need a foreign ID (cédula de Extranjería) to open a bank account. When you have one, they may charge you for transferring money or other transactions. Strange enough, the transfer costs are almost always for the one who is receiving the money. Transfers via ATM machines are for free. People who don’t have a bank account in Colombia can make payments via their smartphone.

Here you can find more information about Safety in Colombia.


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