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How to Exchange or Transfer Money In/Out of Panama

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    There are many ways to transfer money from or to Panama, each one with some pros and cons. It's essential to evaluate the different options to manage your finances efficiently. Here’s a comprehensive article that guides you on the different methods.

    Exchanging Money in Panama

    Currency Exchange Services

    The US dollar is the official and legal currency in Panama, but they also have the Balboa, which is pegged 1:1 with the US dollar. If you come from the US or manage US dollars you will not need exchange services. For other currencies instead, exchange services are available at banks, and airports, thanks to specialized currency exchange offices. The rates in these offices are equity high, especially the ones present at the airports.


    You can always withdraw USD directly from ATMs in Panama. There are many ATMs in urban areas and shopping centres. Be mindful of fees, both from the ATM provider and potentially your bank.

    Transferring Money Internationally

    Online Money Transfer Services

    Wise, Western Union, MoneyGram, and PayPal are some of the companies which allow you to send and receive money internationally. Such services are often faster and cost less than the traditional international bank transfers. They give you the possibility to transfer money to a bank account, or for cash withdrawal.

    Cryptocurrency Transfers

    Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin provide an alternative way of sending money internationally. This can work efficiently and cost-effectively, but it is crucial to consider the associated risks and the regulations involved in this kind of transfer.

    Crypto-friendly bank in Panama

    In Panama, the crypto regulation is still in process. The banks are not willing to accept transfers from crypto platforms or derived from crypto transactions, and in most cases they will freeze your bank account. The only bank that allows you to make crypto activities is Towerbank.

    Towerbank, is a Panamanian financial institution with more than 40 years of banking experience, and the only ”Bitcoin friendly” bank in the country. Towerbank permits you to transfer money from the most common crypto exchanges like Binance and Coinbase.

    Considerations and Tips

    • Know the Fees: Always be clear about the fees you’ll be charged, whether you’re exchanging currency, sending, or receiving money internationally. Fees can significantly affect the amount received on the other end.

    • Understand Exchange Rates: When dealing with conversions to or from other currencies, be aware of the exchange rates used by banks or transfer services, as these can impact the value of your transfer. Rates, fees, and speeds vary by service. It’s worth comparing a few options to find the best deal for your specific needs.

    • Regulatory Compliance: Panama has stringent anti-money laundering (AML) laws. Large transactions may require additional documentation to comply with AML regulations and bank policies.

    • Plan for Delays: International transfers can take anywhere from a few hours to several business days. Plan accordingly, especially for time-sensitive payments.

    Sources & Foot Notes

    [1] Panama Relocation Tours - Wiring Money In and Out of Panama Banks
    [2] Legal Work Panama - How to Exchange Money in Panama
    [3] GlobalBanks - Best Way to Transfer Money to Panama
    [4] Banco Nacional de Panamá - Historical Evolution
    [5] Wikipedia - National Bank of Panama
    [6] Wikipedia - Grupo Banistmo
    [7] Wikipedia - BAC Credomatic (Spanish)
    [8] Citigroup - About Us
    [9] Wikipedia - Citibank
    [10] Popular Bank Panama - About Us
    [11] OECD - Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement
    [12] Cointelegraph - Bitcoin-Friendly Top 30 Panama Bank

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