Opening a bank account

Impossible for expats?

Opening a bank account

As a foreigner, opening a bank account in Chile is extremely difficult, sometimes almost impossible. The main requirement is to have a Chilean residency card (ID card) since your passport will not give you access to a Chilean bank.

Banks do not open accounts for expatriates with less than two years of residency. Chilean ID cards has a number, the RUT (Rol Único Tributario) and it will also function as your tax identification number. 

In order to receive your RUT number, you should fill in the tax administration (SII) form F4415 – but there is no guarantee of success and the process is long. And, as we mentioned before, most banks ask for 2 years residency even with the RUT number, as well as proof of Chilean income and a minimum deposit.

Options for foreigners

Knowing that the process can be a real pain, the alternatives for foreigners are, opening a RUT account, opening a Fondos Mutuos (Mutual Fund) account or ask to be paid cash or straight into your account back home. 

A Fondos Mutuos account is a savings account set up on a fixed-term, fixed-rate basis. You cannot immediately use it and if you withdraw money before the investment term is over you will have to pay a penalty fee. 

The RUT account is available at Banco Estado and is a savings account with an ATM card for domestic use. These are other possibilities with your RUT account:

  • Maximum balance at any one time: CLP 3,000,000
  • Maximum deposit per month: CLP 2,000,000
  • Maximum withdrawal from ATM per day: CLP 200,000 (300 peso commission for ATM withdrawals)
  • Maximum withdrawal from bank branch: Unlimited
  • Your ATM card is also a debit card (free - no commission)
  • Your ATM card also serves as a Bip! travel card - you can charge it like a Bip! and swipe it on buses and in metro stations.
  • You can also access your account online to check your balance, charge your card for travel and make transfers online.

Getting paid into a foreign account

As for getting paid into your foreign bank account, you should inform your bank that you are going to live abroad and that you will be using your money and cards. Also, get a couple of credit and debit cards when you go to Chile and keep them in different places just to avoid finding yourself with no access to your money.

Student bank accounts

If you are a foreign student, check with your university; some universities have agreements with banks so their students can have an account, although you will need all your documents and to explain your situation. 

If you are working with a temporary visa, your residency is less than 2 years but your salary is quite high, you should try to speak to the bank manager. It might be they can open an account for you. Some banks may agree to open an account if you are willing to give them 1 million pesos (around €1,300) for it.

Further reading

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