Practical Life in Lima

Bank services in Lima

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Currency in Peru

In the Republic of Perú, the official currency is the Peruvian Sol (PEN or S).

  • Notes are 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200
  • Coins are 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, 1PEN, 2PEN and 5PEN

Higher denomination notes such as 100 and 200 will not normally be accepted in retail outlets, so bring cash in lower denominations when you're shopping in Perú.

Banks in Lima

The biggest banks working with private customers in the Republic of Perú are:

Most of them offer Internet banking to make it more accessible online.

ATM and Credit Cards

Cards must adhere to international standards including a microchip. Peruvian banks offer a wide coverage of ATMs in Lima, especially in the old town. In some towns and villages where ATMs are not as widely available, it is sometimes possible to receive cash in stores or gas stations.

Taking out cash is free from the ATMs of your bank, but they may charge you for currency exchange. Cash withdrawals from other banks may be subject to fees. All ATMs accept both debit and credit cards. A map of ATMs can be found on your bank's website.

Some stores and restaurants are cash only, especially in the outskirts of the city. Ask before entering or look for a sticker indicating they take credit cards if that is your only form of payment.


In the past, the best place to exchange money was a bank ATM machine, but some banks are now adding a percentage fee on to foreign ATM withdrawals.

If you plan to use ATMs in Perú make sure your bankcard has the four PIN number types. If you have any doubts about the usability of your ATM card, contact your bank prior to leaving. You might also want to ask your bank about their fees for international exchanges at ATMs.

When arriving at the airport, Combo/Exchange windows are very easy to find. However, their exchange rates are lower and fees are noticeable higher than in an ATM.

Electronic Transfers

Banks in Perú offer a wide range of services. Some of them are offered electronically - both online and via mobile - often making it unnecessary to visit a bank branch in person once the bank account has been open.

As a rule, while electronic services are largely free of charge or cost only a little, performing the same operations in a bank branch costs significantly more.

Notice that in some rural areas Internet connection may stop you from using your mobile app and your credit card to pay. Make sure you withdraw some cash before leaving.

The costs of electronic transfers differ from one bank to another. Typically, electronic transfers between accounts in the same bank are free of charge and are completed within minutes. Transfers between different banks within Perú might have a little fee.

Open a Bank Account in Lima

To open a bank account in Peru, you usually need to go to a branch in person. You can just walk-in, or schedule an appointment. Bring the necessary documents (usually found online at the bank's website), and have a good knowledge of Spanish or a translator. In general, the documents required are:

  • Proof of residence or Foreign Resident Card
  • Proof of address
  • Identification like your Passport

When opening a bank account in Perú, it is recommended to clarify that you need a zero account that does not charge you for maintenance. These kinds of accounts are free of charge; however, they have a limit of deposits and withdrawals per month. Note that many Peruvian banks charge an ITF tax of 0.01 percent on every withdrawal or deposit transaction.

To open a bank account in Peru, you will need to meet certain requirements. Scotiabankis fairly easy to open as you will just have to deliver your identity document, and in 5 minutes they will open your account for you. Some other banks, will ask you to show proof of address (bills for example) and the PTP or Immigration Card. This can be a DNI (National Peruvian ID document) or a foreign residence card also known as carné de extranjería de Perú.

Major Banks in Peru:

·  Banco de Credito del Peru (BCP)
·  Interbank
·  Scotiabank
·  Mibanco
·  HSBC Peru
·  Citibank Peruv

Update 7/05/2019


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