Ghana as a country is privileged to have a thriving economy with many opportunities for businesses to grow. To support businesses grow, there are 23 commercial banks that operate in the country at the moment. These banks include local and foreign banks and are able to open a bank account for both locals and foreigners.
On a daily basis, several people, including our clients confront us with the simple question of ‘how to open a bank account in Ghana?’ For a Ghanaian this probably is not an issue, but as a foreigner seeking to invest or build your business in Ghana. It is important to get a few facts right as we share with you simple guidelines for opening a bank account in Ghana.
Most banks in Ghana offer corporate and personal account services for both citizens and expatriates. To open a bank account in Ghana, one first needs a work and residence permit.
Requirements needed to open a bank account as a foreigner in Ghana
Requirements may vary from bank to bank, but generally, these are the things needed to open an account in Ghana:
Requirements for Opening a Personal Bank Account in Ghana
To open a personal bank account in Ghana, the process usually only consists of filling out a form and submitting the appropriate documentation. This may include:
- A valid form of identification such as a passport.
- Proof of residence.
- Tax Identification Number
- Passport Pictures
- Work and residence permit.
- A letter of introduction from your banking institution in your home country
- Some banks may request a reference letter from an account-holder of the bank to which you are applying in Ghana and/or a letter of reference from your employer.
Requirements for Opening a Corporate Bank Account in Ghana
To open a corporate bank account in Ghana, the bank will require you to fill a form and submit the appropriate documentation. This may include:
- Certificate of Incorporation and Certificate of Registration.
- Two passport-size pictures of the Signatories to the account.
- Proof of identification such as passport.
- Proof of residential address for all directors and signatories
- Company physical address confirmation
- Annual returns (for companies registered over one year ago)
- Revenue stamp and constitution of the society if not registered
- Residence permit (if the account signatories are foreigners)
Do you have to be physically present to open the account?
Some banks will allow you to open a bank account remotely without your physical presence if you are able to present the relevant documents for account opening. However, most banks will require that you be physically present to submit and sign forms, which will be relevant to the account opening process.
Do you need money to open an account?
You may have to make an initial deposit into your newly opened bank account. This may be between $6 and $9 depending on whether the account is a current account or a personal account.
Can you open a foreign currency account?
Banks in Ghana offer services where you can open a foreign bank account in major currencies around the world. Foreigners are also allowed to open and operate foreign currency accounts with any bank of their choice.
Can a Foreigner transfer funds outside Ghana?
Yes, foreigners are allowed to freely transfer funds (foreign currency and local Ghana cedis) overseas in payment for goods and services or for personal reasons. The banks will only require support documents in respect of the transfer of funds.
Things You Need-To-Know
How long does it take to open a bank account?
Opening a bank account in Ghana is not difficult. This should not take more than 3 days day if all the necessary documents and requirements are available.
All bank business will be conducted in English since English is the official language in Ghana
Commercial banks in Ghana operate from Monday to Friday. Usually open at 8:30 am and close around 4:30 to 5 pm. Some banks such as Ecobank, ADB Bank etc. also open on Saturday mornings to serve customers until noon.
Most banks in Ghana provide services such as Internet and telephone banking. Internet banking, in particular, has become increasingly popular, as banks feel they must offer this service to satisfy their customers, compete with other banks and contribute to the infrastructure of the Internet.
Almost all the banks in Ghana issue visa cards to customers who request for it after opening an account with them. ATM machines are available all around the country for use of customers. You can also use your Visa Card to purchase items online.
Salary in foreign currency
If your salary will be in a foreign currency during your stay in Ghana, it is advised that you set up an offshore account with a major bank. Chances are that if you deposit your foreign currency directly into a local bank, you may have to deal with some major complications withdrawing it as a foreign currency upon departure.
List of top ten banks in Ghana
A team of technical analysts at Konfidants, a management-consulting firm based in Accra, Johannesburg and Geneva ranked the banks in Ghana based on an assessment of their credibility of the banks using Credmap technology. These are the top ten banks according to the report;
- Standard Chartered Bank
- Zenith Bank Ghana
- Ecobank Ghana
- UBA Ghana
- Barclays Bank
- Societe Generale
- Stanbic Ghana
- Fidelity Ghana
- Access Ghana
- GCB Bank
In choosing a bank to open an account with, shop around and look for a bank that is closer to you or your company. You may also want to save with a bank whose services meet your needs and have reasonable bank charges.