The banking system in Angola

Accounts, credit cards & exchanging money

The Angolan banking system is the third largest in Sub-Saharan Africa, after Nigeria and South Africa. There are three state-owned banks and a total of 23 banks in Angola. Nearly half the Angolan financial system is linked to banking groups in Portugal.

The banking system in Angola

Opening a bank account

You may feel safer opening a bank account with an international bank present in Angola. However, this is quite impossible to do seeing as leading international banks such as Citibank and HSBC have recently pulled their branches out of Angola due to money laundering concerns.

The top five banks, based on compound growth rates, control over 80% of total banking assets, deposits and loans and are:

  • Banco Angolano de Investimentos (BAI)
  • Banco Espírito Santo Angola (BESA)
  • Banco de Fomento Angola (BFA)
  • Banco BIC Angola (BIC)  
  • Banco de Poupança e Crédito S.A.R.L. (BPC)  

It is advisable to visit a renowned bank and enquire about the types of bank account available there.

Cashiers are likely to speak Portuguese and little or no English, so do bring a translator to help you out. You should also check with your employer or sponsor, the arrangements that have been made with regards to payment and which currency you will be paid in.

Using your credit, debit card and traveler's cheques

When using your credit or debit card from your bank at home, you will find that use will be very limited as few hotels and restaurants accept them. There are ATM machines in Luanda and in other cities, they are few in number but the amount is increasing.

Check before leaving with your card issuer that your card will be accepted at ATM machines in Angola. Using your card does come with a warning, as there have been recent reports of credit cards being cloned for fraudulent purposes.

Travellers cheques are not accepted anywhere in Angola so do not rely on them as a form of money. You may wire money to and from Angola through Western Union . However, do be aware of the charges for using this company.

Converting money in Angola

You can convert money into kwanzas at banks and at bureau de change offices. However, do be prepared when converting money at the bank that they sometimes do not have sufficient kwanza cash to convert with you.  

Bank opening hours

Banks generally open from 08:00 - 12:30 and 14:00 - 15:00, Monday to Friday.

Opening a bank account

You may feel safer opening a bank account with an international bank present in Angola. However, this is quite impossible to do seeing as leading international banks such as Citibank and HSBC have recently pulled their branches out of Angola due to money laundering concerns.

The top five banks, based on compound growth rates, control over 80% of total banking assets, deposits and loans and are:

  • Banco Angolano de Investimentos (BAI)
  • Banco Espírito Santo Angola (BESA)
  • Banco de Fomento Angola (BFA)
  • Banco BIC Angola (BIC)  
  • Banco de Poupança e Crédito S.A.R.L. (BPC)  

It is advisable to visit a renowned bank and enquire about the types of bank account available there.

Cashiers are likely to speak Portuguese and little or no English, so do bring a translator to help you out. You should also check with your employer or sponsor, the arrangements that have been made with regards to payment and which currency you will be paid in.

Using your credit, debit card and traveler's cheques

When using your credit or debit card from your bank at home, you will find that use will be very limited as few hotels and restaurants accept them. There are ATM machines in Luanda and in other cities, they are few in number but the amount is increasing.

Check before leaving with your card issuer that your card will be accepted at ATM machines in Angola. Using your card does come with a warning, as there have been recent reports of credit cards being cloned for fraudulent purposes.

Travellers cheques are not accepted anywhere in Angola so do not rely on them as a form of money. You may wire money to and from Angola through Western Union . However, do be aware of the charges for using this company.

Converting money in Angola

You can convert money into kwanzas at banks and at bureau de change offices. However, do be prepared when converting money at the bank that they sometimes do not have sufficient kwanza cash to convert with you.  

Bank opening hours

Banks generally open from 08:00 - 12:30 and 14:00 - 15:00, Monday to Friday.

Further reading

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