Ecuador’s currency is the US dollar so no currency exchange is required coming or going. This makes banking easy to begin…but how can one operate money wise on a day to day basis.
There are several ways to bank in Ecuador without having an Ecuador bank account.
Let me add to begin. I do not trust Ecuador banks. I lost a fair amount of money in Ecuador banks when they crashed in 1999. Once bitten twice shy. plus it is hard for anyone without a resident visa (which Merri and I do not have nor desire) to open an Ecuador bank account. There are better ways.
Buying Real Estate
To buy real estate I wire the amount required to my attorney giving him specific instructions with terms for releasing the funds.
Ecuador Cash Tips
Since paper money is identical you can bring US dollars to use when in Ecuador. US and Ecuador coins are both accepted as tender in Ecuador. Ecuadorian coins minted in Ecuador are the same in size, weight, workmanship and color as US coins but have different reliefs and are only legal currency in Ecuador. So you can bring in US coins and use them…but spend your Ecuador coins while in Ecuador as they are useless in the US.
You can bring dollars with you…except $50 and especially $100 dollar bills. These are accepted only with caution. Outside major cities sometimes it is impossible to cash $100 dollar bills. There is a lot of counterfeiting of $100 bills in Colombia, so the Ecuador Central Bank issues a list of valid $100 bill serial numbers. If the serial number of your $100 bill (even though it is real) is not on the validated list, you may not be able to use it in many places.
Bills that are easy to use in Ecuador are the $1, $5, $10 and $20. The coins are the penny, nickel, dime, quarter, fifty cent piece. Plus the one dollar coin is very popular in Ecuador. I always wondered where all the Susan B. Anthonys went!
Ecuador prices are low and vendors are poor. They do not have a lot of change. When Merri and I go to Ecuador, we take rolls of quarters and a lot of $1, $5, $10, $20 bills.
Ecuador Traveler’s Checks
Traveler’s checks are not readily accepted at this time. You usually need to go to the forex houses or banks to cash them. The commission charged varies between 1% and 4%. And often banks will no longer accept these checks as South America is inundated with forgeries. In Cotacachi, where we live the most, no one will accept a traveler’s check.
We never even had an ATM card in the US but found that this is a good way to access cash. We also have a safe in all our rooms in Meson de las Flores. Most hotels offer free safety deposit boxes so when we arrive, we just put all our cash, wallet with credit cards and passports in our safe box. Then we just have a bit of cash like $20 or so in our pockets.
Merri and I live off of ATMs in Ecuador for our day to day cash needs..
ATM’s are in almost every village in Ecuador and are compatible with international credit cards.
Visa credit cards work at ATMs operated by Bank of Guayaquil, Pichincha, Produbanco and Banco Pacífico. Each ATM shows the logos of which cards can be used on that machine. We use our regular ATM cash card issued by our Florida bank at this Bank of Pichincha branch in Cotacachi.
This bank is on Cotacachi’s second smaller plaza.
The plaza is pristine because it is maintained by the bank.
The bank is next to the police station and the second smaller Cathedral.
There are two Cathedrals in Cotacachi and one bank…a nice ratio.
However there are two Cotacachi ATMs. The second is on the main street 10th of August.
Here is a map of Cotacachi.
Our hotel, El Meson de las Flores, is by the Cathedral insignia. The bank and ATM are marked by the red box.
We are allowed to take $500 a day from the Pichincha ATM and $300 a day from the other.
When using an ATM take the same precautions you would anywhere. Merri and I do not withdraw cash alone at night. We keep our password hidden. We observe the people around and make sure the machine is working correctly. If we were to note anything odd in the surroundings or the machine, we would not use our card.
This has never happened. We have never had a problem but still always take precautions. The safest ATM’s are those that are found inside banks and shopping centers.
Jyske ATM Banking in Ecuador
One nifty way to combine global investment management bank and your cash needs in Ecuador is through Copenhagan with Jyske Bank’s VISA debit cards.
This card makes it easy to access cash from your Danish bank account.
Why a Danish bank? As mentioned earlier I do not trust Ecuador banks. On the other hand Danish banks are among the safest in the world.
First let’s examine safety. How safe?
In recent years Denmark has been rated by Standard & Poor’s as one of the safest country in the world in which to bank.
Jyske Bank is well established with a history of over 100 years. Jyske is Denmark ’s second largest bank, with 450,000 clients in Denmark and over 30,000 abroad.
Jyske Bank has over 23 billion euros in assets and also happens to be one of the leading currency traders in the world. Many other large banks use Jyske to handle their off hour currency positions. This means that Jyske is huge when it comes to multi currency activity. In fact their turnover reaches $50 billion dollars a day.
Bank Safety Point #1: A recent Yahoo Canada article shows a survey by the World Economic Forum listed five safest countries in which to bank.
So Denmark is a safe place to bank. Now let’s look at Jyske Bank’s safety rating.
Bank Safety Point #2: On October 10 2008, Moody’s affirmed Jyske Bank’s long-term Aa2 rating. This decision came despite the deteriorated economic prospects in Denmark, particularly in respect of the property market.
Bank Safety Point #3: Also on Friday 10 October 2008, the Danish Parliament passed a bill that secured all deposits and unsecured claims against losses in Danish financial institutions. The rating of the Kingdom of Denmark is Aaa/AAA with Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s respectively.
The people at Jyske are common sense bankers. They had minimal sub prime exposure when that scandal broke. Jyske had zero Madoff exposure.
How about service? First of all, Jyske can manage your wealth. For anyone with $50,000 or more to invest Jyske can buy, sell and hold investments from all over the world, stocks, liquid assets, bonds and commodities. They provide full managed or advisory only services. They even lend in multiple currencies to leverage investments for investors with $100,000 or more. Almost no bank in North or Latin America can do this.
Once you have Jyske caring for your wealth, they can then provide a steady stream of cash when you need it…via a global debit card.
Jyske Ecuador & Global Service.
Even US clients who have managed accounts at Jyske Global Asset Management (JGAM) can have a VISA debit card.
JGAM opens a specific on demand account with Jyske Bank so funds can be made available via the card.
These cards can provide access to cash anywhere in the world…including Ecuador.
Jyske offers three different cards to match different needs. Each type of card provides considerable flexibility.
You can choose to have the card denominated in a number of currencies based on your choice. An account is created at Jyske bank in the same currency. No matter the account currency, the cards can be nominated in euro, US dollar, British pound, Swiss franc, Swedish or Danish kroner.
If you have have dollars invested and are drawing dollars in Ecuador, you can eliminate forex costs by nominating your card in US dollars.
You can choose between a Classic, Premier or Exclusive VISA Card. Fees (in dollars) are shown below.
Each card has a different monthly spending limit. Here is the US dollar example.
Classic $2,500, Premier $8,000 Exclusive $12,000.
FEES for the Classic US dollar denominated card per year are $80. VISA Premier US $160. Exclusive $320.
In addition, you can apply for a card which includes a priority program offering numerous extras on a daily basis or when you travel.
For more information US investors contact Thomas Fischer of Jyske Global Asset Management at firstname.lastname@example.org
Non US investors contact Rene Matys of Jyske Bank at email@example.com
Ecuador Credit Cards
Credit cards can be used at most hotels, restaurants and in most shops, but not in the markets. Places that are recommended for the use of credit cards are first class restaurants, hotels, gift shops, shopping centers and travel agencies. Not all places accept credit cards. Ask before buying if you do not see a Visa or MasterCard sign. Amex is not seen much outside the major cities.
Vendors are gouged by the credit card companies. Some businesses charges extra, up to 12% to cover the cost of this fee they have to pay…so you can often bargain by offering cash.
Bank transfers take at least three working days. The bank sending the money charges a commission for the transfer, usually $30 to $60. Western Union offers quick and efficient money transfers but is much more expensive. For example a Western union wire of $1000 to Quito, may cost $85.
Until next message, may all your money be easy to access and good!
Join us at a course in Cotacachi or on Ecuador’s coast this winter.
Jyske Gobal Asset Management will join us Feb. 13-15 for our course International Business & Investing Made EZ
Join us and then stay on for a real estate tour Here is our latest group inspecting the hotel,which is one block from the Ecuador’s Pacific.
We’ll view this hotel. It has a huge front porch.
Large second floor veranda with ocean views.
Beautiful flowered front yard.
The building is really rough and needs work…but over 8,000 square feet of building. The asking price is $60,000.
We have sent our Ecuador Living paid subscribers more details on this building on this Ecuador hotel for sale. Subscribe to get this report. See how to subscribe to Ecuador Living here.
Join us for our next Spanish course ad real estate tours.
Join us at a course in Cotacachi to learn more about multi currency investing.or on Ecuador’s coast this winter.
Better still join us all year in Ecuador! See our entire schedule of 27 courses, tours, mingos and expeditions we’ll conduct in 2009 and how to attend as many of them as you like FREE.
The course fee includes meeting at Quito airport (day before the
course)…transportation (by group bus) to Cotacachi and back to Quito.
Course fee does not include air are. accommodations, food or individual transportation.