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Banking Laws and Regulations

The banking laws and regulations of Costa Rica

In this section you will find information about the banking laws and regulations of Costa Rica.

The Financial Institutions of Costa Rica such as banks, finance companies and financial cooperatives are regulated by the General SuperIntendence of Financial Entities. (SUGEF – Superintendencia General de Entidades Financieras).

The monetary policy iof Costa Rica s overseen by the Central Bank of Costa Rica (Banco Central de Costa Rica)

Can I open a bank account in Costa Rica without living there?

What is the account opening process?

Most banks require the customer to physically appear at the bank in order to sign the application in the presence of the banking officer. Banks will require that the applicant provide the following documentation:

i. A source of funds statement to show where your funds are coming from

ii. Provide 3 months of bank statements of your current bank or financial account

iii. Your passport copy. Please note that some banks may require that you have legal residency before they will open an account.

iv. Summary of expected income and deposits. The banks want to know how much money will be flowing through your account. Some banks will require the applicant to provide an income statement from a CPA (Certified Public Accountant).

v. A utility bill (electric or water) to establish your place of residence. If you are renting you may be asked for a copy of the lease agreement.

vi. Reference letters. Some banks will require a reference letter from your existing bank and another commercial reference letter.

vii. Complete the Know Your Customer form.

If you are opening an account in the name of a Costa Rican corporation then the additional requirements will be:

i. Certificate of corporate standing to show the legal representative.

ii. Certificate of beneficial shareholder ownership to show the beneficial owners of the corporation.

How many banks are there in Costa Rica ?

In Costa Rica you have 3 government (national) banks which are Banco de Costa Rica, Banco Nacional de Costa Rica and Banco Popular

Then you have the following private banks:

Banco BAC San José S.A

Banco BCT S.A.

Banco Cathay de Costa Rica S.A.

Banco Davivienda (Costa Rica) S.A.

Banco General (Costa Rica) S.A.

Banco Improsa S.A.

Banco Lafise S.A.

Banco Promérica de Costa Rica S.A.

Prival Bank (Costa Rica) S.A.

Scotiabank de Costa Rica S.A.

Keep in mind that getting a bank account opened in Costa Rica does not generally happen on the same day you apply. They can typically take a couple of days before your account will be open. During that time they review all the information provided and if all is in order they will let you know if they will open the account or not.