guide to colombian atm fees

Colombia ATM Fees – Charges and how to save money

Unless you are traveling at the high end of a budget Colombia is primarily a cash society for travelers.  This means that you’re going to need to access your funds on a regular basis.  Most Colombian ATMs have fees associated with taking cash out.  So here’s our guide to getting cash in Colombia in the cheapest possible way.   We cover Colombia ATM withdrawal limits, the best ATM to use in Colombia as well as ATMs that don’t charge for withdrawals in Colombia, and the best bank to withdraw money in Colombia.

Our ATM fees Colombia guide is updated on a regular basis, so if you see anything different from the fees posted let us know in the comments and we’ll update it for everyone to read. Please check the comments for the latest fee information.



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Key Things to Know About Colombia Currency, ATMs, and COP

  • The Colombian currency is the peso.
  • It is usually either called Peso or COP
  • There is ALWAYS a line at a Colombian ATM.
  • The Spanish word for ATM is Cajero Automatico – but most people will understand if you ask for an ATM
  • Lines at Cajero Automaticos (ATMS) always move slowly. You’ll be incredulous at how slowly they moved.
  • Colombian Peso notes come in denominations of 100,000, 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, and 1,000.
  • You will find old and new versions of these notes. It doesn’t mean (at all) that they are fake, just that they have changed and the old ones have not been taken out of circulation.  Older notes have ‘000’ to show the thousands whereas newer notes have ‘mil’ to indicate this.
  • All of the zeros on the older notes can make them hard to read in a hurry. Take your time when handing over cash.  The advice we were given was to put a finger over the last 3 zeros on a note, which makes them easier to read.
  • Colombian Peso coins come in denominations of 1,000, 500, 200, 100, and 50.
  • You will also find different sizes of these coins, again, things have changed and the older coins have not been taken out of circulation.
colombian 1000 peso gaitan and fidel castro

Banks with ATMs in Colombia

All the major banks in Colombia have ATMs, although, in some smaller towns and villages, you may only find a bank branch and not an ATM.  In more remote locations, like Puerto Nariño in the Amazonas region, the closest ATM and bank is a 4-hour round trip on a fast boat (and no, no one takes credit cards there either).  Be sure to plan ahead, especially when you understand the Colombian ATM fees that you might be charged.

There are ATMs at all the airports in Colombia – find out more about arriving in Cartagena and what to do there

You find several Bogota airport ATMs, (inside security), we found (and used a BBVA ATM at Bogota airport, and airport ATMs at Cartagena and Medellin too.

Using your Cash Card or ATM Card is the Most Cost Effective Way in Colombia

There are two types of fees charged on the use of a foreign ATM card (whether it is credit or debit).

The fees charged by your bank or card provider for taking cash out in a foreign currency.  You have COMPLETE control over this.  If your provider currently levies a charge on taking cash out of your account in a foreign currency then you should get a new account ASAP.  It will save you a FORTUNE in fees.  We use and recommend Wise (formerly Wise) – read our guide to using it here, or learn more and sign up for a FREE Wise Multi-Currency Account here.

The fees charged by the foreign bank either because they levy a fee on non-in-country cards or because they charge a fee to non-client cards. You have a MEASURE of control over this and that’s what this article is about – how to reduce the cost of using ATMs in Colombia.

ATMs in Colombia

There are in general, lots of ATMs in Colombia.  Usually, most of them will have a long line of people waiting to withdraw money from them but always check, as it may also be just a random collection of people standing around.

colombia ATM lines

There are three differences between ATMs in Colombia.

  1. The amount of cash they will dispense at one time
  2. The number of withdrawals you can make each day
  3. The fee they charge per transaction

If you are traveling to more remote places like Puerto Nariño there are no ATMs at all and the closest ATM to the Tatacoa Desert is in Villavieja, so you’ll need to plan ahead with your spending.  Not all of the ATMs in Colombia are marked on either Google Maps or  Where we found ATMs that weren’t marked on maps we’ve referenced them in our articles on those particular areas.  (So for instance, the Davidienda ATM in Popayan and the Davidienda ATM in Salento are NOT on maps)

We always travel with a portable safe from PacSafe, to secure our cash, electronics, and passports in our room, or even attached to a tree when we’re snorkeling.

How to find an ATM in Colombia

ATMs are rife in Colombia, apart from in some smaller towns or more out-of-the-way places, but just because you see a map entry for a bank in Colombia doesn’t mean that there’s an ATM there.  ATMs and banks don’t necessarily co-locate.   ATM’s in Colombia are called “Cajero Automatico”.  Or Cajero.  You might see signs for Cajera too.    If you’re asking for directions, then this phrase will help you.

¿Donde esta un cajero automatico?”

colombia atm security

How to Use an ATM in Colombia

Using an ATM in Colombia is similar to using an ATM anywhere in the world, but there are some quirks.   Each Colombia ATM will have a limit and usually a line next to it (the photo above is an anomaly!)

Unless they are inside a bank, an airport or a shopping map most Colombian ATMs are in a small self-contained room (where there’s likely to be air conditioning) with a door.

Some Colombian ATMs will offer you the option of language when you insert your card.

If no options for language are offered, then English “translations” are usually underneath the Spanish.

  • It is normal to leave your card in the machine for the duration of the transaction.
  • If you want to make more than one transaction it is usual to have to remove and reinsert your card for the next withdrawal.
  • Select withdrawal
  • Select which type of card/account (checking/credit etc.)
  • Select the amount you wish to withdraw. It is usual for the machine to NOT indicate your or their limit, but just to advise that you can’t take that much out if they don’t allow you to take that much out.  Where known we have indicated the limits for foreign cards.
  • You may be offered the option to “check the cost of withdrawal”. This never worked for us.
  • You will usually be offered the opportunity to be charged in either Colombian pesos or in your home currency. ALWAYS accept Colombian pesos, you will get a MUCH better exchange rate.  As an example on a withdrawal of approximately 900,000 COP, by accepting to be charged in GBP, the cost would have been an extra GBP 5.00.

Always ask for a receipt.

Always put your card and your money away, zipped back into your wallet and bag before leaving the ATM.

colombian peso notes

Comparison of The Best ATMs to use in Colombia

This section outlines the ATM fees in Colombia.

Bank NameMaximum amount (per withdrawal) for foreign cardsFee per withdrawal
Davidienda2,000,000 (on visa)ZERO Fees (June 2023)
BBVA300,000 (x 3 per day)15,000 / 18,000 COP (June 2023)
Colpatria ScotiaBank CitiBank900,000 (max 2.7 million/ day)20,900 COP (June 2023)
Banco Caja Social600,000ZERO Fees (June 2023)
CorpBanco400,000Reported to be zero fees although we didn’t find a CorpBanco in our travels
Bancolombia600,00025,000 COP (March 2023)
Servibanca780,00016,000 COP (Feb 2021)
ATH Cajeros Automaticos600,00018,500 COP (July 2023)
Banco de Bogota1,600,00015,000 COP (August 2023)
Banco Popular600,00010,500 COP

The following are Colombia ATM fee reports from readers with the date of the note so that you can use this further information to decide on which ATM to use in Colombia.

August 2023: Banco de Bogota, allows you to withdraw 1.600.000 (one million six hundred) Colombian pesos. And will charge around 15.000 fifteen pesos as a fee.

July 2023: July 2023 ATH ATM – 18,500 pesos fee

June 2023 I summarize my ATM experience below with Wise Debit Card (June 2023):

– Davivienda: No fee. 400,000 COP max.
– BBVA: 15,000 COP fee. 300,000 COP max.
– Scotia/Colpatria: 20,900 COP fee. 900,000 COP max.
– Banco Pichincha: I could never find a branch or ATM of Banco Pichincha.

It seems ATM fees and limits vary based on your bank card. A friend of mine withdrew 600,000 COP at Banco Caja Social without a fee, but when I tried it only offered me up to 300,000. I didn’t bother trying to find out if they charge a fee because 300,000 max is too low.

June 2023: Colpatria Fees 20,900 peso fee now applies. 900k max withdrawal.

May 2023:
– BBVA charges a fee of 18,000 COP (Max 300,000)
– Scotia/Colpatria charges a fee of 20,900 COP (Max 900,000)
– Davidienda stays the same, no fee (Max 400,000)

April 2023: Davivienda ATM in Cartagena city on 8th April 2023 and could withdraw 2 million pesos in a single transaction without any charge.

March 2023: ATM fees in Cartagena at BBVA, Bancolombia and Colpatria. After seeing the fee at the BBVA ATM at the airport, I moved on to the Bancolombia machine and proceeded with my transaction (but didn’t compare the fee to BBVA). I withdrew COP 600,000 and the fee was COP 24,290. Later that day, I withdrew COP 900,000 at Colpatria (Scotiabank) and the fee was COP 20,900. Colpatria “includes 6% over wholesale rate” according to the ATM machine and the receipt. Also, there were no lines at the ATM machines at the airport nor at the Colpatria (Scotiabank) in the Bocagrande section of Cartagena.

March 2023: Bancolombia fee is now 25,000

February 2023: Scotiabank Colpatria is now costing 20900! for 900000!

January 2023: $15,000 on BBVA, $18,500 on Scotiabank, Another one at the airport was $24,500 and I think it was Bancolombia

January 2023: * In December 2022 Pichincha announced the closure of offices and ATMs, a fact I confirmed today while visiting 4 different ATMs in Bogotá, all closed.
* 03.01.2023: Banco Popular: max 1.500.000 withdrawal, with very bad exchange rate, fee COP $24.500.
* 14.01.2022: BBVA: max Withdrawal continues to be 300.000, however with COP $15.000 fees, so you lose money.
* 14.01.2023: Colpatria: max. withdrawal $900.000, with a fee of $18.500.

23 Jul 2019 – Davivienda doesn’t charge a fee, but for some reason, they use a terrible exchange rate. Under 3,000 COP per USD when the mid-market rate is 3,200 and all the currency exchange windows offer 3,000.

23 Jul 2019 – BBVA only dispenses 50k bills, even for a 100k withdrawal.

23 Jul 2019 – Colpatria – first 100K is dispensed in 20k bills.  The current maximums for Colpatria are 900k per transaction and 2.7M per day.

27 January 2020:  Pinchita – allowing 800,000 with zero fees.

In the course of our 6 weeks in Colombia, we made a total of 21 ATM withdrawals. We had one hiccough where communications between Starling Bank and Colombia were down and we had to use a backup card, but through management of where we used ATMs, apart from the hiccough, we paid zero fees to Colombian banks.

colombian peso coins

This meant that we saved USD $87.85 (GBP 65.85) on fees to the Colombian banks by using the table above. 

It’s well worth shopping around and spending a few minutes to make your dollars go a little further.

Currency Exchanges in Colombia

You’ll find currency exchanges in all major areas and even on the streets in border towns, but the exchange rate you get won’t be great, it does make an easy option for using up “end of country cash” or making sure you have a few notes in your hand as you walk into a new country.

We always travel with the XE currency converter app loaded on our smartphones, it’s a quick and easy way to understand costs in your home currency.  You can download it here.

If you’re traveling to other countries, then our guides to ATMs and ATM fees are here – Guatemala ATM fees, Chile ATM fees, Laos ATM fees, and Japan ATM fees.

Save Money on Accommodation in Colombia

One of the ways you can save money on ATM fees is to pre-book and prepay your accommodation using popular sites.

Pay for Hotels and hostels in advance online

Booking and paying for your accommodation online means you’ll save the need for cash.  This meant using a booking site that allowed us to pay in advance on a credit card where possible.

Use Booking to get the best deals in Colombia and also to book our rooms and pay for them before we arrived.


Save on Booking Transport in Colombia

Your transport between places can be an expensive drain on your cash resources.  You can book transport between many locations in Colombia using Bookaway. You can check all bookable routes here.

Booking Tours in Colombia

Whether you want to take a workshop or cook with locals, take a hike in the jungle, visit the Amazon, or simply take a day trip from Cartagena, pre-booking your tour and attraction visits will save your use of cash.

If you’re traveling to other countries, then our guides to ATMs and ATM fees are here – Guatemala ATM feesColombia ATM feesChile ATM fees, and Japan ATM fees.

Travel Tips for Exploring Colombia

Final Words on ATMs in Colombia

We hope this article on Colombian ATM costs helps with your budgeting and travel experiences in Colombia. Let us know if your experience is different or if you have updates on the costs of cash withdrawals in Colombia!

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