moving back to belize concerned about money withdrawls

Concerned about using my debit card as my retirement money is automatically deposited in my bank of America account I heard some bad things that bank of America. Was cutting off money transfers with belize. Can someone please advise.

the US government doesnt like Belize banks offshore practices so the way it stands as of a few weeks ago at some point US CC's wont be able to be used in Belize, no correspondence banks with US banks. The Belize PM and finance minister were in WA trying to straighten things out but I have not heard the outcome.  Having an intermediary account is good practice when exposed to third world financial institutions.  you have no protection (FICA) for your money in Belize.

Bof A was main correspondence bank for Belize for wire transfer from the US to Belize for other US banks. Several months ago when US banks were told big fines would be levied on them if found to be assisting in Money laundering, the Fines were meant to make US banks tighten up 'their own' security and background checks for transfers. Bank of America took the easy way out and decided it would no longer be the Correspondence Bank for the small banks in the Carribean any more. US government say they have no problem with these small banks but cannot tell BofA to reopen the system as US banks are private companies. Also US banks will not use a correspondence Bank that is not a US bank I.E. The commerzbank in Europe. or  canadian Bank. So not enough profit involved for US banks to bother tightening up their own rules. Now it seems some of the affiliated credit card companies are pulling out of the area as well.

I am completely confused will I be able to withdraw cash through a belize bank with my card .


almost certainly can get cash on US bank card and Chase card so I think it is some of the store credit card machines that are affected. Saying that no trouble 3 weeks ago using credit cards anywhere i neede to in belize

Thanks terrific

assuming  terrific knows what is going on in the minds of US treasury and US banks.

well the reported info was the government of the USA are hands off its all down to private company policies and Banks are private companies.  so they can say they are avoiding risk by not doing business with the Caribbean banks and we dont want government calling the shots.Until of course the next time they screw the worlds economies with bad decisions to make more profits, then they need government to be hands on and bail them out with tax payer money. I do not have a high opinion of the banking profession.

I agree about the banking profession but the banks are acting at the behest of the feds who are trying to minimize risk and third world banks are a risk.

Actually making it so difficult to wire money in is making it much more difficult to keep track of the movements of cash in Belize. I have had to take large amounts of cash to pay my Belize builder, so when I declared it and went to sign the paperwork the customs chap was complaining that they have no way of knowing how much cash is coming through very few people actually declare the money coming in. Since the loss of wired money into the banks has been dramatic, the amount being declared has changed very little, so the risk without bank oversight is a lot higher not lower.  Money that used to be transferred into Belize from prepayments for services in Belize paid online to US banks is not coming back the same, so Belize is providing the service but the profits are staying over seas. Belize is poor enough without  the tourist dollars coming in it will not get any richer.

Yes, the US Federal govt is responsible for this scenario. This has been a very fluid and confusing situation for the last 6-9 months now. As far as I am aware, the only real issue is not being able to wire money to a Belizean bank, and possibly some other Caribbean banks, but it doesn't include all- not the Bahamas. Not sure about others. I just used my CC's over the net in Belize for our upcoming trip, without a problem- including my BOA Amex card, so it is apparently not a 'blanket' policy.
Caye Bank in San Pedro has a new intermediary for wiring funds in to Belize, but I have not tried it yet, as I don't have a current need to. I plan to bring cash with me this time, so I won't have any issues getting cash.  Not my norm, but whatever it takes.

Albert webster,
Because I am Canadian and these new regulations are directed at US citizens and their dollars I could not reply based on my experience. So today I visited our branch of Atlantic Bank and sat down with a customer service rep. to discuss this matter.

Let me start with your actual question which was regarding the use of a DEBIT card, This is a totally different type of transaction to a Credit Card transaction or a Money transfer. My belief as I explain in my private message to you was correct but it was just my instinct so I wanted to confirm with a bank official. A debit transaction is between you and the bank that issues your card, the rep I spoke to cautioned that you should visit your home (US) branch and be sure that your card is valid for international transactions. Once that is done the ATM in Belize is just a receptacle to communicate with your bank and because Belize dollars are dispensed the new regulations have no effect.

For other transactions the rep assured me that Atlantic Bank maintains an affiliate relationship with two American banks and is not aware that will change in the foreseeable future. Also, that Atlantic Bank will continue to process credit cards and handle wire transfers. There will be more documentation required such as proof of purchase for the release of large transfers.

It is important to note that these are regulations imposed on Belize and other Caribbean banks by the American banks that need to prove to the US government that they are not participating or aiding in money laundering.

So I feel comfortable saying come on down and bring your DEBIT card.

Hope this helps

Don't think it involves debit card use. I will ask at Atlantic Bank here in Placencia and let you know.

Thanks Amanda for your time

Hi, all this talk is getting a bit confusing. Are we talking about US only or are Canada transactions affected? Thanks Carmelle & Dale

Canadian based banks are not affected nor are European institutions  as far as Belize banks are concerned. These  have correspondence banks still in place. It is just US banks.
The  US reason/ excuse being the American government can't make the private banks do anything they don't want to do. ( but will bail them out at tax payers expense) whereas most countries governments can tell their banks to continue working with the small Caribbean countries and actually tighten up their own security to stop the money laundering

We were there 2 weeks ago.  Had no problems with our cicibank credit card

Yes getting the small cash amounts out of ATM machines on debit cards seems little affected it's the ability to transfer larger amounts by wire that is no longer available.

Hi. I spoke with Ivy at Atlantic Bank International today and she said Bank of America debit cards with a PIN will work in Atlantic bank machines as long as the card has a VISA or MASTERCARD symbol on the card. I also was told that they are using the Bank of New York for bank transfers.

That seems to concur with what I was told at Atlantic Bank in San Ignacio, and reported earlier in this thread. The same answer twice from two separate sources is a good sign.

Amanda you've been great help please keep me informed if you hear of any changes thanks.


I'm going to San Pedro in June. How much cash should I bring for five days? Is the exchange rate two Belize dollars for one American dollar. Will I be able to get cash on a Visa card or Capital One card? Thanks.

I doubt any one can answer "how much cash do I need"? That will depend on what you do when you get here. I would say bring as much as you can. Each adult is permitted to bring $5000.00 without declaring it, you can bring more you are just required to declare it there are no fees or taxes. The vendors in general accept US dollars at BZ$2.00- US$1.00. As previously mentioned in this thread Atlantic Bank (there are two in San Pedro) will continue to process credit cards and debit cards will continue to work in their ATM machines. Just be sure to check with your home bank to be sure that your debit card can be used for international transactions. Check my previous comment and the comment of amanda16.
Hope this helps.

Thanks for the info. Can you give an approximate cost to go out on the boats to snorkel for two days and one day trip to the Mayan ruins?

I would suggest you go to TripAdvisor, look at "Things To Do" in San Pedro - it will give you a lot of options for these services from various vendors, along with prices and reviews of their services. You can usually book excursions and adventures through TripAdvisor, or through the website of the listed services. Hope you enjoy your trip and Belize.

you can kayak to the reef and tie your kayak up and snorkel you don't need a boat

I have been here nearly 5 yrs and have never had a problem using our US bank's debit card.  Our SS check is automatically deposited in our bank, and we use it in any ATM, store or restaurant.  We use a small, local bank from the US.

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