Caja Vecina and Cuenta RUT
After arriving in Chile you may start to notice that a picture of this little duck seems to be everywhere. And literally everywhere. If it is not the duck, then it is the standard ´´Caja Vecina´´ logo. All across Chile, even in tiny communities, you can find the Caja Vecina service located in many different types of stores.
Caja Vecina is a service offered by Banco Estado, a state run bank that offers the famous ´´cuenta RUT´´. A cuenta RUT is a simple bank account that is offered to women over 12 years of age and men over 14 years of age. All you need to apply is a valid carnet, even a temporary residency carnet will work. The limit that you can deposit in the account is 3.000.000 CLP, however it is the easiest way to get a bank account in Chile.
With a cuenta RUT card you can go to any Caja Vecina and make a withdraw from your account, deposit into your account, transfer money to another account in Banco Estado, pay for services and contracts (phone, internet, television, etc), check your balance, etc. This is a super convenient service that you can use almost anywhere in Chile. Since the hours are based on the store´s hours, Caja Vecinas can be found open late at night or early in the morning, not restricting you to bank business hours.
More information about the Caja Vecina can be found in Spanish here: http://www.bancoestado.cl/imagenes/_personas/servicios/cajavecina.asp
Even if you do not have a Cuenta RUT yet, you can still make use of the Caja Vecina by paying phone bills, internet contracts, TV plans, etc. Many services can be paid for by Caja Vecina and you will probably find yourself needing it quite often if you have phone, internet, or TV to pay for.