Banking and finance in the Dominican Republic

Banking and finance in the Dominican Republic
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Updated 2022-04-22 11:46

Many people might assume that banking could be problematic or even unsafe in the Dominican Republic, but it is neither. This article explains how you can open a bank account, how the systems work, how you can manage your money, and how to transfer funds from one country to another.

How to open a bank account in the Dominican Republic

Each bank, and indeed each bank branch, will have distinct requirements for opening a bank account, and these will vary regularly. To be honest, the most convenient approach to creating an account is to be presented to the branch manager by an existing Dominican client at the bank, as social ties are pretty crucial. Most banks in the Dominican Republic will enable foreigners to create an account with a current and valid passport as identification, yet, others may demand a banking letter of reference from the home country as well as past account information. Some banks may only enable foreigners with legal resident status to create new accounts. However, if that is the case and you do not have residency, it is worth browsing around.

Is there online banking?

Several Dominican banks now provide internet banking for checking balances, paying payments, and transferring funds. Some of the smaller savings and loan institutions may not have internet or online system in place, but all of the larger banks have. But various banks have different methods, and some enable you to do more online. They all have varying levels of security.

How can I withdraw money?

ATMs may be found across the country, both within and outside of banks, at gas stations, supermarkets, and shopping malls. The maximum withdrawal limit is usually 10,000 pesos for each transaction, about US$208'and between RD$20,000 and RD$30,000 per day. There still are concerns regarding ATM fraud, and occasionally the machines will hold your cards. Therefore it is generally advisable to collect from the terminal at the bank and only use other ATMs in an emergency. Furthermore, ATMs often accept all sorts of cards, including international credit and debit cards. However, these commonly entail withdrawal fees. Money is always issued in Dominican pesos.

What about credit cards?

In the Dominican Republic, Visa and MasterCard are commonly accepted; however, American Express is not always acknowledged. When you're using an international credit card, make careful to check your account frequently, as overseas credit card fraud is more common than credit card fraud from domestic institutions. As a result, it is recommended that you obtain a local credit card if at all feasible.

Can I transfer money to and from my local bank?

Yes, although the customary maximum is US$10,000, if you want to transfer more, the bank will want verification of the source of the money and what they are to be used for. The transfer usually takes five business days to complete, although larger quantities may take longer. Some banks enable internet transfers, while others require you to visit the bank.

What sort of accounts are there?

One may create a bank account in either US dollars or Dominican pesos, with dollar accounts requiring a minimum balance of roughly US$500 to avoid monthly fees. You can select between a checking account with a payment book and a savings account with a debit card. Savings accounts typically pay approximately 4% in interest, while certificates of deposit pay between 6% and 7%. On the other hand, bank loans and mortgages are prohibitively costly, with interest rates ranging from 14 to 18 per cent and harsh penalties for late payments.

Banks in the Dominican Republic

There are various banks in the Dominican Republic, including retail and commercial, but only one international bank, Scotiabank, operates in the country. The Central Bank is in charge of monetary policy.

Banco Popular is the top-rated and most popular bank, with outstanding internet banking services and a significant number of branches. It is also the most creative, having recently partnered with Paypal to offer its services through its network.

Banco Leon, which recently teamed up with BHD Bank to become Banco Leon BHD, is one of the others. Banco Reservas is a government bank, and it is via this bank that all government employees are paid. Hence it is best to avoid this bank during paydays, which are held twice a month, on the 15th and at the end of the month, since the lines are long.

Useful links:

Central Bank

Banco Popular

Scotiabank

Banco BHD Leon

Banreservas

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.