Bank Review: Crèdit Andorrà (Andorra, Panama)

This is a series I’ve thought about for a long time. Now seems as good a time as any to kick it off. In this series I will go through the following points, step by step:

  1. First impressions
  2. Fees
  3. Opening An Account
  4. Internet Banking
  5. Card Products
  6. Customer Service
  7. Account Management
  8. Other Services
  9. Final Notes

Take particular note to that I will not be discussing the financial health of the bank. Furthermore, this is not a recommendation. It’s merely a retelling of my experiences with a bank. The word review is here used in the sense of examination.

For the first installment in this series, we will be taking a close look at Crèdit Andorrà, based in Andorra with a branch in Panama.

First impressions

Crèdit AndorràOf the two (arguably three) main banks for non-residents in Andorra, Crèdit Andorrà has always been the most open and inviting. And they are not an open and inviting bank.

At least before their recent change of outward-facing strategy, BPA (Banca Privada d’Andorra) could be downright rude to potential customers. It was more on a whim I even ended up working with them.

Crèdit Andorrà will respond to about a fourth of all contact attempts made by email.

If you call them, this is usually how it goes. First, you will be prompted with a minute or so of loud and terrible waiting music. Then someone will answer the phone in Catalán. If you ask for English, they will put you on hold for a couple of minutes again. Next up, someone who speaks very good (not fluent, not native) English will finally be available to you.

If you speak Spanish or even French, they will almost always be able to help you without diverting your call to another department.

English is essentially reserved for private banking customers. The bank’s website is available in Catalán and English. This is a step down from about a year or two ago when they had Spanish and French as well.

I would have liked to see HTTPS by default even for the normal website but that’s unfortunately not as common in banking as it ought to be.

It’s worth noting that residents can initiate account opening online. While residing in Andorra is lovely, it’s not a requirement to open an account with Crèdit Andorra.


Crèdit Andorrà publishes its fees on its website:

As of writing, outgoing international transactions are charged at an uncapped 0.65% with a minimum of 25 EUR plus 28 EUR (for IBAN transfer) or 43 EUR (for non-IBAN transfers). Incoming transactions are free of charge.

The annual fee for a Visa Platinum is 140 EUR, which is low. ATM withdrawal fees in foreign banks is charged at 4% (minimum 5 EUR).

Whether to classify Crèdit Andorrà as an expensive or moderately-priced bank depends on how the account is used. Using it for small international transfers and withdrawing cash at ATMs will quickly make it expensive. However, using the bank for long-term savings and capital growth can be quite cost efficient.

Opening An Account

Remote account opening is possible but is very rarely done anymore. Nowadays it requires an intermediary and they can be hard to find. For wealth management, online applications or online initiations of applications are possible. Depending on the bank’s risk assessment, they may require that you show up in person.

The bank wants remote account opening to be limited to private banking though that’s not a strictly enforced policy.

You will most likely have to visit the beautiful little country to open an account.

Getting to Andorra is an adventure. The closest airports are in Toulouse, France and Barcelona, Spain. Upon arrival at either airport, your options are to rent a car or go by bus. Buses to Andorra depart several times per day from the major airport terminals. Some routes go via train stations or other stops within the city of departure, but then there are usually no more stops until somewhere halfway through, where there will be a brief half-hour break to stretch your legs for about half an hour.

Total journey time is about four or five hours, depending on traffic in the city you depart from and how fast you are (or your bus driver) are comfortable driving in the winter if it’s been snowing or raining. Andorra is on average almost 2,000 meters above sea level. It snows here in the winter.

My trips to Andorra have so far always been from the Spanish side. Once you start climbing up the mountains, the scenery is absolutely beautiful. I can only imagine it’s the same from the French side. The Pyrenees have some of the most magnificent views in all of Europe. I highly recommend landing early in the day at the airport so that you have full daylight on the journey up to Andorra.

I’m getting sidetracked…

For personal or private banking accounts, you will need to bring your passport, a recent bank reference, and documents that show your source of income. The banks are tolerant to most legitimate sources of income as long as they can be proven.

It is not necessary to make an appointment in advance. I have never seen a line for the private banking department at any Crèdit Andorrà branch. There will almost always be someone available to service you immediately upon arrival. Branches are usually sectioned into two areas: personal/retail banking on the ground floor and private/corporate banking upstairs.

Andorra la Vella – the capital city – is crawling with branches. You can’t go more than a block or two in the central part without stumbling on a Crèdit Andorrà branch. Opening hours are quite generous.

The whole process takes about one or two hours. In some cases you will be asked to return the following day after they have reviewed your application. It is at this point you are assigned a contact person, who in most cases will be the person you sit down with and open the account.

Debit and credit cards are sent to you by registered mail or courier. Internet banking token card is either issued immediately or also sent by post. With a visit to Andorra, you can open an account in Panama at the same time. Panama is purely for private banking.

Card Products

The whole range is covered here.

For a standard personal account, you will get a Visa Electron debit card and a Visa Classic credit card. The bank does advertise Maestro and MasterCard, but I have not seen those issued. Might be reserved for resident accounts.

The standard credit limit on the card is 1,500 EUR. You will be asked to lock 200% the credit limit for six months in a term deposit. When the six months have passed and you have proven yourself responsible with your credit limit, you will not be required to have a locked limit anymore.

Visa Gold cards (called Visa Premier) start have a standard credit limit of 10,000 EUR and require a stable (but not locked) account balance of around 13 – 15,000 EUR.

Private banking customers are issued Visa Platinum. No minimum balance as such exists for the card, but since it’s only available to private banking customer it’s effectively limited to a 100,000 EUR minimum.

A very nice feature Crèdit Andorra has is the Cybertargeta (literally cyber card), which is a reloadable virtual MasterCard product. They can at most hold 2,000 EUR and can in total over their lifetime at most hold 5,000 EUR. The cards work with PayPal and other e-wallets.

Crèdit Andorra cards, including the virtual cards, are enrolled for 3D Secure (Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode) but there is currently no interaction required. This means the cards will pass 3D Secure verification at no inconvenience. On the other hand, it can be argued how secure it really is.

Internet Banking

E-Crèdit – the name of Crèdit Andorrà’s internet banking facility – is a very competent internet banking facility. It is available in Catalán, Spanish, French, and English.

On your first login, it will be in Catalán. You need to update your settings to change it to your preferred language.

Security wise, a combination of username, password, and code card is used. The code card is a plastic credit card-sized card with 60 re-usable four-digit codes. After entering your username and password, you are asked to provide one of the codes. You will not always be asked to provide a code if logging in from the same computer multiple times. This is insecure and it may be wise to use incognito/privacy mode in your browser when logging in to E-Crèdit. (Not that you shouldn’t with other banks.)

The code card is also used to sign for transactions within the internet banking.

E-Crèdit has all the features you’d expect from a modern internet banking. The usability could be better and it doesn’t look and feel as modern as the bank’s main website. Some features are not very intuitive, such as international non-IBAN transfers. Once you figure out where it is and how to do it, though, it’s easy to remember.

One of the strongest points of the E-Crèdit is the vast range of investment opportunities. Through the Borsa Crèdit, you can access stocks, bonds, funds, and so on across the globe.

Customer Service

Normal customer service is available in Catalán, Spanish, French, and English during office hours. The English isn’t always the best.

At any given time, there’s only one person who speaks it fluently, although the others are willing to help you as best they can in adequate English. The few times I’ve needed to speak to the support, it’s always been satisfactory.

Account Management

Corporate accounts and private banking clients are assigned account managers. Similar to customer service, the availability of English can be a bit so-and-so, but since most customers of Andorran banks speak Catalán, Spanish, or French it’s rarely a problem to get a hold of your English-speaking account manager since he or she is less likely to be busy.

Not much to say here. I’ve been very happy with my account manager since the day I first met with her.

Final notes

There are good reasons this bank has been featured in both Best Offshore Banks 2012 and Best Offshore Banks 2013.

It is a very good, versatile bank where you can decide to let the bank handle your money for you or you can use the bank’s vast network of investment opportunities to grow the money yourself.

The only significant drawback is that opening corporate accounts can be difficult, unless it’s for capital management purposes.


6 Comments on "Bank Review: Crèdit Andorrà (Andorra, Panama)"

  1. Funny, when I called the Panama branch the other week, I got two answers about account minimums. One fella said $1,000,000 but they could make an exception of $400,000. Then when I talked to another he said, “oh we can open an account for $100,000 and there is no need for you to come in to the branch either. He even sent me an email with a list of the necessary paperwork. Pretty basic requirements. Not that I can move forward.

    • Hi Harry,

      Yep, that’s how it usually goes. You can get different answers depending on to whom you’re talking.

      Private banking (wealth management) is generally subject to far less stringent due diligence than personal or corporate banking, since it’s more or less implied money coming in will be from accounts in your name and withdrawals go back to accounts in your name. Very low risk of money laundering. I’ll return to this topic in a post in a couple of weeks.

  2. Hello-Interesting article. I notice that you mentioned it could be quite difficult to open an account for corporations. As they have a branch in Panama for private banking, I was curious to know if it is possible to open an account for a Panama Foundation directly through their branch in Panama instead of having to go through their principal in Andorra. I imagine that it would probably be a rather extensive paper work process to open such an account there in Panama and also higher minimum capital requirement being that it is private banking.

    • Hi Eduardo,

      The best course of action would be to reach out to the and ask if they would be happy to open an account for you if you visit their Panamanian branch.

      For some types of wealth management they sometimes even open accounts without a visit to the bank. See

      While the minimum balance is negotiable and set depending on who you are and what your needs are, they usually ask for at least 100,000 EUR or equivalent to open wealth management accounts.

  3. By far the most convenient way of getting into Andorra is taking a Novatel bus ( They don’t stop at all between Barcelona airport and Andorra, and in Andorra they drop you off wherever you want for no extra price (just type in your home address or hotel’s name when buying a ticket online).

    Anyways, meant to commenet the banks. I have experience with another bank in Andorra. They seem to be exactly the same price-wise, but their online banking is worse (no international transfers). The residents I know tend to use this and other Andorran banks for paying utilities and such and use banks of other countries for anything more serious.

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for your comment! Novatel Bus is exactly how I traveled to Andorra the first couple of times. The driver asked for five or six euro extra to drop me off at a non-standard address. The times I’ve been there have been a stop in Ponts, Artesa de Segre, or other villages on the way.

      If you don’t mind me asking, what is the other bank you mention? Banc Sabadell d’Andorra?

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