Banking In Ghana
Early in our repatriation process, we had the same question as almost everyone else trying to make the journey back to the motherland, “How are we going to generate income?” For most, it’s get a J.O.B. and work a typical 9 to 5 like we have become accustomed to in the US. For us, working for someone else was not an option anymore! With great planning and being extremely thrifty, a.k.a cheap, we saved a substantial amount of money to live on. Additionally, we created online businesses that would allow us to generate some money until we able to set up additional revenue streams.
Before moving to Ghana, a friend of a friend share some extremely helpful information with us. She stated that she hadn’t worked in years because she figured out how to use Ghana’s banking institutions to her benefit. She had merely did what most Americans had once done in America to build wealth – invest in Treasury bills (T-bills) and fixed deposits or what we know in the states as CDs (cash deposits). When we started visiting the banks here we had no idea of the great interest rates the banks were offering. We were told that interest rates could be as high as 24% or 25% on T-bills or fixed deposits, we couldn’t believe it! For Africans born in America, who are a part of our generation, we have never seen these types of interest rates from banks in the States. These high rates were like folklore from the 70s and 80s. These days, we would be lucky to generate .03% from all the money we put into Chase, Wells Fargo, or BOA. Thus, the banking investments in Ghana were very appealing and seemed to be an easy way to gain some income to add to our current monies. But before you move to Ghana and put all your money into banking investments, remember your return is based on the amount of local currency you invest and also remember your returns will be in local currency as well. “You can wipe your forehead now!”
It’s been a little over a month since we touched down in Ghana and we have been to several banks. We wanted to do some research and find which bank was a good fit for us. Each stop resulted in the same results. We were unable to open an account because you have to have residence papers in order to open an account. That means to get a bank account opened, you either go deal with the immigration office, or use the “back door method,” which seems to be the only way to get things done here. During our visits to the banks we were able to acquire the information required for opening a bank account and the current rates for interest bearing accounts. These were the three banks we narrowed our choices down to:
- Pan African Bank
- Bank offers resident and non-resident accounts.
- Bank has locations in 33 African Countries (google for locations)
- Current bank account incurs monthly service fees of 10 cedis plus 1.50 cedis VAT tax.
- Account holder(s) can withdraw on a current bank account in any of the 33 African countries in the country’s local currency.
- Saving accounts do not incur service fees. However, you must handle all deposits and withdrawals in an Eco-Bank location. There are withdrawal limits per month which vary depending on the type of savings account opened. Withdrawals over the amount for the type of savings account you open will result in additional fees per withdrawal.
- Account holder(s) can open accounts in the following currencies: USD, Euro, Pounds, Cedis, etc. If you have a foreign currency account and make transactions in that foreign currency, there is a 3.5% fee on the amount of the transaction. (i.e. A USD account making transactions in USD instead of Cedis, will be charged 3.5% of transaction.)
- Currently, fixed deposits have a 9% interest rate and treasury bills have a 15% interest rate. Interests rates may fluctuate depending on the amount of money invested.
- 2 passport sized picturees;
- National Identification Documents of the country where the account will be opened (i.e. Driver’s License, passport, voter’s ID, birth certificate) or passport for non-residence;
- A reference from a current account holder who has been with Eco-Bank of more than 6 months.
- International Bank based in the UK.
- Located in 8 African Countries.
- South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mauritius, Angola, Mozambique, and Madagascar.
- Current bank account incurs monthly account fee of 15 cedis per month and 15 cedis for ATM card per month.
- Saving account incurs monthly account fee of 15 cedis, but comes with a ATM free of charge.
- Account holder can open accounts in the following currencies: USD, Euro, Pounds, Cedis, etc. There is no service fee like Eco-Bank for making transactions in a foreign currency.
- Currently, fixed deposits interest rates can be as high as 20%, but rate will depend on total amount of money placed in fixed deposit. Treasury bills have a 15% interest rate.
- National Identification Documents of the country where the account will be opened (i.e. Driver’s License, passport, voter’s ID, birth certificate);
- Utility Bill (i.e. Ghana Electricity or Water Bill);
- 1 passport size picture for each account holder;
- Marriage certificate, if opening a joint account.
- Based out of South Africa and an affiliate bank of Standard bank.
- Bank has locations in 12 African Countries.
- Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
- 2.5% fees on money transfer from foreign accounts.
- Current bank account incurs monthly account fee of 16 cedis.
- The bank does not issue a ATM card with the account.
- Must apply for a Multi-Currency Card (Pre-loaded card) for withdrawals and point of sale transactions. There are additional fees for loading the card and for making withdrawals.
- Savings accounts do not incur service fees.
- Currently, fixed deposits interest rates can be as high as 19% and treasury bills have a 16% interest rate.
- National Identification Documents of the country where the account will be opened (i.e. Driver’s License, passport, voter’s ID, birth certificate)
- A passport sized picture (or 2 pictures if opening a saving account)
- Residential Address Confirmation: (Rental agreement or Utility Bill)
We hope this information is helpful but remember there are several other banks in Ghana that you could bank with just do your research and see what works for you! Until next time………