Is it easy to use ATMs and get cash from one's bank account in another country like the USA? And, is it easy to transfer money from an American Bank to a Dominican bank account?


ATM dispense pesos. You'll pay $3- $5 service fee plus your bank charges for out of system ATMwithdrawals. If you have Bank of America you can use Scotia ATM for free. But if you use your BA card for purchases they charge an international fee. Most other banks don't charge the international fee for purchases but charge you to get cash from the ATM.
For me I use my BA at Scotia Vank for cash and my other bank ATM for purchases. Using that or a credit card guarantees you get the the true exchange rate on your purchases. If you get money wired to you Western Union always have the party send in dollars and never let Western Union exchange them for you. You'll always get higher exchange at the casa de cambio. These exchange places very as well so ask around to find the best deal in your area.

Money transfers are possible but you'll need to open a dollar account to receive your money. With the ease of ATM's I only transfer when I need big money $5,000 and up. However, on large ticket items, such as land, new vehicle and such. A lot of times you can just write a check. Since the Patriot Act it more expensive to wire money internationally. That's why it's better to only do it for large amounts. But, if you can write a check, do it. That doesn't cost anything

By the way, ATM's limit to 4000 pesos per fee so if you need more than $100 go inside and get a cash advance from the teller. That way you only get charged once for that transaction.

Some of what you say is correct.  However many ATM's will give over 10,000RD per day on withdrawal.  I know of other people who can take 20,000RD per day.

You do not need a dollar account to get a wire transfer from an American account. It is simply converted and deposited in pesos.

When wiring money make sure to wire less then 10,000 US. Over this you need to do a lot source documenting.

True, I can hit the ATM, at the 4,000 peso limit as many times as I want til I hit my daily dollar limit from my bank. But, if I'm not using a Scotia machine with my BA card, I'll get charged ten times for my trouble. That's why, if I'm at a machine where I have to pay and I need more than 4000 peso, I go inside and do it in one transaction with the teller. I don't even need an account at the bank.
Allowing your dollars to be converted to pesos on a wire transfer you run the risk of not getting the highest possible exchange rate. Each bank is different. Years ago the banks didn't like to give you dollars and you could, sometimes, because if this get a point better than the exchange houses. But nowadays they have no problem giving up there dollars. But you usually get a better rate of exchange at the exchange houses. Never do it at the airport.

I use an Bank of America card and have no bank fee at Scotia. Here in Cabarete it is limited to 10,000RD per transaction and there are no fees.  Depending on your limit on your card you can withdraw as many times as you want till you get to  your daily limit.

Second there is no international fee on purchases using my BA card.  Currently in Europe and charging like crazy and no fees plus a very good exchange rate.

Bob K

That's great about your BA not charging you international fee. They still charge me. Scotia is the exception on the limit per charge. Banco Popular; 4000, Banco Reserva; 4000, I haven't used BTH in a while but I think that's the same. I only started with BA the last 2 years since that's the bank I used to mortgage my last property purchases in the states. They also allow my $1,000 a day so I can withdraw up to 40,000 peso a day, depending on exchange rate. It's been about a year since I charged anything on my BA card. The reason being they charged me international fee. I'll try charging something again.  Thanks Bob, I've been hoping to streamline my banking and that would be a huge help. I miss the days when all the ATM's didn't set their own limits. It made it a lot easier when I was buying building materials and paying payroll to 20 workers.

Lesson here is know your bank charges from both ends!!!!! It adds us!

You can call BA and ask them to change your status and you can get no international transaction fees pretty easily.

Bob K

Thank you for all the information on the ATMs.

my account is with USAA. I am not charged fees in the US for withdrawals but not sure about overseas. I'm pretty sure they don't. Are there any other expats in the DR using USAA?

I was wondering more about transfers between banks via internet not wire transfers. I am able to make transfers between my bank accounts in the US. Is it possible to transfer money directly from a foreign bank account to your Dominican bank account?

Not possible that i am aware of by internet, only wire transfer and almost always takes longer then it should.

I agree with Planner I don't think you can do internet transfers. What bank are you using locally?

Bob K

do not have a bank there yet. we will arrive on august 27th and will travel around for 2 weeks before we go to Rio San Juan, which will be our primary residence. What banks do you recommend?


We along with  many expats use Banco Santo Cruz but I am not sure there is a branch in Rio San Juan

Bob K

I like BTH. They don't make you jump through hoops to open peso or dollar accounts with bank reference letters and such. I've been with them since they were called Banco Mercantile. The POP branch is the one I use. Same management staff. English spoken. Fast friendly service. Receive wire transfers within 3 days. They also don't hold checks you want cashed as long as other banks.

great! sounds good. thanks! you guys have been very helpful!

I'm sorry, I don't know where my heads at. The bank is call BHD sorry for my brain fart. I know they have branches all over but not sur if they have one where you're going to live

Ok on the subject of ATM'S. Are you talking about, a US bank issued ATM card,or a bank issued credit card? Now in the Us, when you use a debit card, it always ask credit or debit,ok.Is it the same there or different. Ok, i'm just new to this so that's why i ask, even stupid one's.I got rid of all my card's this year, and now have only banks issued debit cards.So i hope they can work ok there.Thanks.Mark

Yes your bank issued debit cards will work.  Each ATM network is a bit different. They will ask you if you want Spanish or English so from there you can choose which account. Remember your bank and the ATM bank may charge you for withdrawals, check out in advance what your charges will be as well as you limits!

If coming from the US check out Bank of America debit cards. You can use them at Scotia bank here and incur NO transaction fee and no facility fee.  Plus a pretty good exchange rate.

Bob K

thanks, bob. not sure how we would swing that now. we have been in the DR in Rio San Juan for over a month now.

Lori G

If you still have a US billing address I believe you can apply online.

Bob K

Progreso is 50k, Scotiabank 10k pesos.

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