ATMs in Ecuador

How to withdraw cash at ATMs in Ecuador

Ecuador is a beautiful and diverse country in South America, known for its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and vibrant cities. As a tourist or foreign visitor, understanding how to access money and use credit cards is essential for a smooth and enjoyable experience. In this guide, we will explore where to find ATMs in Ecuador, how much they charge for foreigners, tricks and perks of using them, safety aspects, and information about ATMs in the Galapagos Islands. We will also provide details about Ecuadorian banks and their specific fees for international cardholders.

Finding ATMs in Ecuador

Ecuador has a well-developed banking system, and you can easily find ATMs in major cities and tourist destinations. 

Here’s where you can typically find ATMs:



International airports like Quito and Guayaquil have ATMs in their arrival and/or departure areas, making it convenient for travelers to withdraw cash upon arrival.


Most banks in Ecuador have ATMs outside their branches, allowing you to withdraw cash during business hours.

Shopping centers and malls: 

Commercial areas usually have ATMs for the convenience of shoppers.

Inside house walls and on street corners:

Especially in nightlife areas, these ATMs are quite common. Even when from well-known banks, these ATMs have often unusually high fees. Also, the level of security is rather low.

Tourist areas: 

Popular tourist destinations like Baños, Cuenca, and Montañita have ATMs to cater to foreign visitors.

Rural areas:

ATMs here are rare, and often only accept local cards. Think ahead and bring some cash with you!

ATM fees in Ecuador and the Galapagos
ATMs in Quito Airport

ATM Fees for Foreigners

Knowing the fees involved is essential when using ATMs in Ecuador as a foreigner. Here’s what you should know:


Withdrawal Fees: 

Ecuadorian banks mostly charge a fee for ATM withdrawals by foreign cardholders. This fee can vary but is usually around $1.50 to $4.48 per transaction. But, as you will learn later, it can also be free of charge. 

Currency Conversion Fees: 

If your home currency differs from the US dollar, the official currency in Ecuador, your bank may apply a currency conversion fee.

ATM Network Fees: 

Your home bank might also charge you a fee for using an ATM outside their network. Checking with your bank about these charges before your trip is wise.

Tricks and Perks of Using ATMs in Ecuador


  • Be cautious of hidden card skimmers or suspicious individuals around ATMs. Choose well-lit and secure locations for withdrawals.
  • Always cover your PIN while entering it, and avoid using ATMs that appear tampered with.
  • Carry some cash with you for emergencies, as ATMs may not always be readily available in remote areas.
  • ATMs in Ecuador always dispense USD, which is the official currency, making transactions more straightforward for international visitors.
  • Ecuadorian ATMs always only hand out 10 or 20 USD notes. You might have trouble paying with notes higher than that. 
  • Using ATMs allows you to access funds in a convenient and secure manner, reducing the need to carry large sums of cash.
  • As mentioned before, in remote areas the next ATM might be an hour’s drive away. And then, in smaller towns, chances are high that you might only find an ATM that doesn’t take foreign cards. Carrying one or two hundred dollars when leaving the more significant cities is advisable. 
  • Meanwhile, the vast majority of accommodations like Haciendas, Fincas, and Lodges, around the country accept credit card payments. And, if you ask, you might be able to ‘withdraw’ cash directly from them. But, most certainly at a slightly higher fee, and only an amount that they have readily available in their cash register. This is probably the least likely way to get any cash. But it’s at least a possibility.

Safety Aspects of ATMs in Ecuador


  • Safety is paramount when using ATMs in Ecuador!
  • Use ATMs within bank branches whenever possible, as they are usually more secure.
  • Avoid withdrawing large sums of money in one go; make smaller withdrawals to reduce the risk of loss in case of theft.
  • Inform your home bank about your travel plans to prevent your card from being blocked for unusual activity.
  • Keep an eye on your surroundings when using an ATM and avoid sharing your PIN with anyone.
  • Do not write your PIN down or share it with anyone. Avoid using easily guessable numbers, like birthdates.
  • Always collect your transaction receipt and keep it until you reconcile it with your bank statement. If there are discrepancies, report them to your bank.
  • Count your cash discreetly and securely after the transaction, ensuring that the correct amount has been dispensed before leaving the ATM.

How to see if ATMs have enough money in them


Many ATMs have kind of a traffic light system to show customers if the machine has enough money left inside. This way you know that it’s the machine and not your card that has problems. 

These lights are usually right under the money disposing slot and have the following indicators:

  • Green light: Enough money inside to withdraw every desired amount. 
  • Yellow light: Still money left, but might not give out the desired amount.
  • Red light: This ATM is empty. Use another one. 

ATMs in the Galapagos Islands


The Galapagos Islands, a popular destination for nature enthusiasts, also have ATMs, but they are relatively limited. Here’s what you should know:

Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island has several ATMs, mainly near the pier, making it the most reliable place to withdraw cash in the Galapagos.

Other islands have limited ATM options, so carrying enough cash for your stay on smaller islands or remote areas is advisable.

Remember that ATM fees in the Galapagos may be slightly higher due to their remote location.

Ecuadorian Banks and Their ATM Fees

Ecuador has several banks, each with different fee structures for international cardholders. Here are some prominent Ecuadorian banks and their general fee information for foreigners.

This information comes ONLY from our own experience living in Ecuador. Fees might vary, but will be updated as soon as we observe changes. 

  • Banco Internacional is usually free of charge.
  • Banco Bolivariano is usually free of charge.
  • Banco del Austro Charge is $4 per withdrawal. 
  • Banco Pichincha is known to have a wide ATM network. Charges vary but are typically at $4.60 per withdrawal. 
  • Banco Guayaquil is another major bank with numerous ATMs. Expect to pay $1.52.
  • Banco del Pacífico is also known for its heavy presence in coastal areas. Fees are $4.
  • Produbanco charges $4 for foreign cardholders.
  • So-called Cooperativas, like JEP, PNL, or Andalucia usually don’t allow foreign cards, neither Debit nor Credit.

Insider tip! When using ‘bigger’ ATMs, where you can also deposit cash, you have a higher chance of not getting charged the regular fees. 


Withdrawal limits of ATMs in Ecuador

Unfortunately, this is a less transparent topic.

First of all, check with your home bank, what the daily, weekly, or monthly limits are for your debit or credit cards. If not high enough, ask for a raise. I am not talking about your credit line, but the maximum amount you can withdraw within a certain time frame, even if your account is solvent. But also, some banks or countries might not even know such limits.

Here in Ecuador, all ATMs have limits for the withdrawal amount per transaction. Unfortunately, there is no discernible common thread.

Only, the bigger and more prominent the bank branch you are at, the higher the amount might be.

Limits range (roughly) between 100 and 400 USD per transaction. 

Personally, we have not encountered higher limits. Some ATMs even claim to allow 500 USD per withdrawal, which, strangely enough, has always turned out to be a lie.

Nothing helps here other than trying things out on your own.

So, …

ATMs in Ecuador and credit card usage for foreigners is relatively accessible and convenient, with some fees to consider. Being mindful of safety measures, finding ATMs in major cities and tourist destinations, and understanding your home bank’s fee structure will ensure a smooth financial experience during your visit. Whether you’re exploring the vibrant cities of Ecuador or marveling at the unique wildlife in the Galapagos Islands, having access to money is essential for a memorable trip.

Money often costs too much.

Ralph Waldo EmersonEssayist, lecturer, philosopher
guide to withdraw to money in ecuador

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We, Angelica and Christian, are always here for you!

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