Friday, December 4, 2009

Interbank Will Let a Foreigner Open a Bank Account in Peru

Don't you just love the random inconsistancies that make the world incomprehensible? For some reason, if you try to open up a checking account in the majority of the banks in Peru, they tell you that you can't do it unless you are a resident. This is fine if you have your carnet for work or from marriage, but if you're there on a tourist visa, you can't get it done.

Why would you want to open up a bank account if you only had a tourist visa?

Well, perhaps you want to buy an apartment in Peru, which probably isn't a bad idea since the Peruvian economy continues to be on the rise and mortgage loans are usually from 15-18%. Now I don't know much about economics, but it does seem plausible that if EVERYBODY ELSE thinks that the value of their property is going to rise in excess of 18% (otherwise why would they agree to the loan) that it can't be all that bad of an idea.

Oh, another reason you might want to open up a bank account in Peru is so you can play online poker since most stars like pokerstars.com require a foreign account...because of the bible bashers or something....or maybe you just want to make a one time transfer to Peru for the duration of your trip so you don't have to get stuck paying the 5$ transaction fee that you get stuck with every time you make a withdrawl with a card (ATM fee, foreign currency fee, etc.).

There are probably a few unethical reasons to open up a bank account, but there are enough legitimate ones that it should be a universally legal and accepted practice by Peruvian banks. However, it isn't.

Still, not to fear since Interbank will allow you to open an account...as long as you open it in one of their Supermarket counters and NOT in one of their regular branches (this was the rule at one time, I don't know if it's the same anymore...it seems so frickin' absurd you'd think it wouldn't be, but if there's one thing I've learned in my life it's that the world rarely makes sense).

The end result is that if you get rejected at a bank, all you have to do is walk down to the nearest Vivanda and ask there. But before you make the trip, make sure you bring TWO forms of ID (a passport and a driver's license would be fine) and voila...no more need to carry around your money in Peru.

Incidentally, isn't that an awesome picture? Those red lights behind that car are eerie, and what do you think that shadowy woman in the high heels is doing? Is she walking the streets for money? Hanging out at the Interbank looking for a loan? Are there six hundred guys who have fallen in love with her just from looking at this picture and who have vowed to come to Peru to meet her? If there are, please let me know. Come to Peru and document your journey and send me the photos...I'll publish them...you can be assured of that!

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4 comments:

  1. Handy information, Ben. Lots of foreigners come here looking to open up a business or to work informally. A bank account is necessary.

    About ATM fees: I spent a year getting ripped off by various banks w withdrawal fees. Then I found out that ScotiaBank doesn't charge a fee for my US bank accounts. So I always use ScotiaBank ATMs now.

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  2. I just opened an account in a Interbank in Plaza Vea after going to several other banks. I had a foreign pension check from the US and they let me open it with a passport and a drivers license and my check. Weird this is, that in Vivanda Interbank told me it would take between 30 and 90 days to get my money and they would be happy to charge me $200!

    In Plaza Vea, they cashed it in 15 days and no fee, go figure.

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  3. You can also open a bank account here if you can get a person of standing who also has an account with that bank to vouch for you (an official letter). In my case, my brother-in-law works at Banco de Credito so he did it for me. No problems.

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  4. I just tried to open up another account with Interbank. The girl gave me a pick fat no! They apparently have changed their policy. Now what?

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