Chile - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Financing
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Methods of Payment

In Chile, most of the payments sent to foreign suppliers are submitted using irrevocable letters of credit from Chilean commercial banks. This is done across industries, with no lengthy delays in the remittance of foreign currency. Most banks in Chile have foreign trade divisions that specialize in international payments and collections. Payments are made upon receipt of notice of shipment of goods. Other methods of payment to suppliers include cash against documents and open account. The credit insurance industry is developed in the country and major private agencies such as Mapfre, Continental, HDI, Solunion, Coface and CESCE have local offices in Santiago. The U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM) also offers credit insurance products to U.S. exporters.

For more information about the methods of payment or other trade finance options, please read the Trade Finance Guide.

To access Chile’s ICS section on financing, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statement website.

Banking Systems

Chile’s banking system offers many of the asset and liability products available in international markets. According to leading international financial institutions, foreign trade financing and money exchange operations appear to be particularly well developed and efficient compared to the rest of Latin America.

Chile’s Commission for the Financial Market, an agency under the Ministry of Finance, regulates the financial sector, as well as oversees and coordinates the actions of other financial-related agencies. The Chilean Pensions Superintendency is the technical authority responsible for the supervision and control of the institutions involved in the Chilean Pension System. Chile’s Bureau of Consumer Protection (Sernac) protects consumers in Chile in a variety of industries, including financial services. For all credit requests in the country, Sernac mandates that quotations must include the Carga Anual Equivalente (CAE) index (Annual Equivalent Cost) to facilitate credit comparison to end users.

Chile’s Central Bank is an autonomous entity, led by congress-approved counsellors that operate separate from the government in conducting monetary policy and regulating foreign capital movements. Its mission is to maintain the stability of the currency, and to keep inflation low and stable over time. The bank also regulates the amount of currency and credit in circulation.

Some Chilean banks with direct presence in the United States, including Banco de Crédito e Inversiones (BCI), which controls City National Bank of Florida, Banco Estado, Banco de Chile, and Banco Itaú also have representative offices in New York.

U.S. banks operating in Chile, including Wells Fargo and Bank of America, concentrate on corporate lending for multinationals and capital market activities, although Banco de Chile (a Citibank joint venture) and Santander are active in retail banking. There are a few business development offices of U.S. commercial banks in Chile offering U.S. Export-Import Bank insurance programs.

Western Union is also present in Chile. They offer wire transfers and payment through their website or app.

Foreign Exchange Controls

Chile has no restrictions on incoming and outgoing foreign capital. Reserve requirements for external capital, and the prior authorization requirement to enter funds associated with external loans, investment, working capital, bonds and American depositary receipts (ADRs) have been eliminated, as have limitations on capital and profit repatriation. Foreign trade finance operations (both import and export) are allowed to perform foreign exchange transactions in the open market. Foreign exchange operations are relatively active and efficient in Chile. As a rule, currency may be freely traded in two markets: the informal and the interbank market. Prior to receiving authorization, Chile’s Central Bank requires confirmation that the trade finance transactions, foreign loans, capital flows, and profit repatriation will be executed through a commercial bank in the formal market. Foreigners entering Chile, must declare at Customs if they are bringing more than $10,000.

U.S. Banks and Local Correspondent Banks

JP Morgan ChaseWells Fargo