Local Currency in Ecuador

Accessing your money abroad:

We recommend using your banking card (ATM/debit) from your U.S. bank. Using ATM cards enables you to access your own personal bank account from any ATM machine around the world. The primary advantage of getting money from an ATM is that they are accessible 24 hours-a-day and are everywhere!

Usage of Debit and Credit cards at supermarkets, small restaurants, and pretty much any store is not normal. Ecuador is a cash economy, except for large restaurants, tour agencies, and a handful of other places. Therefore, the Debit card lets you take cash out of the ATM and use it at all other locations.

Important Information about Using Your Debit Card Abroad:

Check with your bank to make sure you can use your card overseas, and to inform them that you will be living abroad. You will be happy to know that the national currency of Ecuador is the US dollar so you will have to trouble dealing with conversion rates or fees.

Ecuador Currency

Give your bank the dates, and all the countries you anticipate traveling to. It is not uncommon to be cut off from your bank account after using your card abroad, even after giving them forewarning. If this happens, don’t panic! Banks do this to protect their clients, and we should be grateful! If this happens to you, you just need to contact your bank to ensure them that you are in possession of your card and that you need to have access to your account while you are abroad. If you have a shared account with a family member and their name is also on the account, sometimes it’s helpful to get word to them to call the bank for you, considering the time difference between countries.

In order to withdraw cash from an ATM using a debit or credit card, you must have a 4-digit pin and no more because many ATMs will not exceed 4-digits. While you’re most likely very familiar with your debit PIN, you might not know a PIN for your credit card. Be sure to ask before you travel, banks will not release this information over the phone, via text, through an email or in any other way than to mail your PIN to the mailing address associated with your account.

Please ask your bank about their fees associated with international transactions, they may charge you anywhere from $5.00 to $7.00 per transaction, and that adds up!

If you are a fan of using coins, you will be thrilled to find out that the gold Sacagawea coins are in full circulation in Ecuador and are more common then the dollar bills. In general $20 bills are hard to break in Ecuador, so bring some 1’s, 5’s and 10’s with you.

Ecuador Sacagewa Coin