This post is also available in: Spanish
How Foreigners Can Get a Panama Credit Card
By: POLS Attorneys Website: www.pols.com.pa
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (Panama) 227 – 6645
For foreigners in Panama these are the steps to take to obtain a Panama credit card. First, open a Panama bank account. The country has over 100 international and local banks with different requirements to open an account. Typically, Panama banks require:
• Copy of valid passport including the photo and personal details page, and most recent entry stamp. Notarized by a Panama Notary.
• Copy of second photo identification (driver’s license or government ID)
• Completed bank application form
• Minimum opening amount of $1,000
• Minimum monthly average of $250 to $1,000
• Proof of income: (tax returns, work contract, job reference letter)
• Original reference letter from a bank showing an account for a minimum of 3 years
• Original professional reference letter (from a Panama attorney, brokerage firm, accountant, etc.) on a company letterhead
A U.S. federal law, known as FATCA, requires worldwide banks to report all funds held in their U.S. citizens’ accounts or face a 30% withholding tax on the accounts.
Once you open your bank account, you can apply for a credit card. Panama banks have Visa and MasterCard among others.
Unless you have already established good credit in Panama, the most popular are “secured credit cards”. These require an initial deposit of 125% of the credit card limit. For instance, a monthly $1,000 credit requires a $1,250 deposit. The deposit can be placed into an interest earning CD or a time deposit account.
Get Bilingual Help
Bank tellers and new accounts desks in most Panama banks only speak Spanish.
Use a bilingual attorney to not only speak Spanish to bank employees, but also to provide you with the required professional reference letter and advise you regarding taxes and whether a corporate or personal bank account fits your purposes for being in Panama.