pesos/cnd dollar

Hi Folks,

Can someone please advise me the best way to handle money during my stay in Caberete? Do I bring pesos, do I go to bank and do withdrawals daily, do I use credit card. Any suggestions on handling my money in the cheapest and safest manner?
Thanks much
sean

We usually bring Dr pesos (about $1000 cnd converted for 2 months) and use a visa credit card....no mastercard......

Depending on which Canadian financial institution you deal with, and whether your card is VISA or MC you may even be able to make point of sale debit card payments. This would ultimately be both the safest and easiest option. You will also receive the effective exchange rate at the time of your transaction.

Your next safest and most convenient option would be to pay with your credit card. It would probably be the most appropriate option for larger purchases too, unless you've got bundles of cash in your account.

The only real concern about using your debit/credit card is to never let it out of your sight, it only takes a few seconds to skim your card and rob all the information stored on it. Also you should always cover the keypad on the machine when keying in your PIN, that is what the crooks need most to wipe out your account and max out your credit card.

Apart from being a hassle, going to the bank every day to make ATM withdrawals in the local currency it can also expose you to danger of being robbed especially if you are making those withdrawals in the evening or in areas that aren't high movement (pedestrian) or poorly lit areas. You also need to exercise caution when using ATMs, if anything looks unusual about the ATM or if any parts seem to be loose or protruding then use another ATM, crooks are quite skilled at putting false fronts or keypads. Also cover the keypad with your hand when entering your PIN because they usually install a micro-camera in the ATM to record you entering your PIN too.

Under no circumstances should you make large cash withdrawals from the bank, leaving you to keep cash in your room (even if you have a safe in the hotel room).

The above are precautions that you should use anywhere you travel outside of Canada.

Cheers,
James   Expat-blog Experts Team

great advise, thank you so much.
Cant wait
Cheers
sean

Yes ATMs are the way to go.  Also bring USD and exchange here.  Getting pesos at  home you will take a bath on the exchange rate.

No transaction fee credit cards (BOA and United visa for example) are also good to use here.

If you are going to use an ATM or Credit card do notify your home bank of your travel plans or they will put a hold on the card with the first use fearing fraud.

Bob K

Hi there!

Just to let you know our experience!  We are so used to using our debit and charge cards for everything!  We arrived in Sosua with no cash.   We went to the Casa Linda  Restaraunt and ordered a meal for $70.00.  When we got the check, they told us they took cash only.  We told them we would go to the bank and pay the next day.  We went to our Bank, where we had deposited cash during our last visit, but, they would not release our cash to us because we forgot to bring our passports!  By the time we got home it was too late to return to the bank, it was closed  We had no cash for the whole weekend.  Here's another thing, make sure you always have small bills, we ate at the Fish Shack at Ecuentro Beach and we only had large bills, well, the little girl running the stand, had no change!  Live and Learn!

Thanks and you are correct,  always carry some cash and some change.  So many places here will not accept plastic and common to claim no change............

Using an ATM, you get charged on both ends, your home bank & the ATM will levy the charges.  I suggest opening an account in a local bank. One for pesos & one for dollars. It is not expensive to do.  That way you won't have those kind of problems. Before your trip you can wire enough to cover what you expect to need while here. Usually the banks ATM is free.  If in the Sosua area, I recommend Banco Santa Cruz.  Speak to Carlos the manager ( he has excellent English), Tell him Tamas, the "Gypsy" says hello. He will help you take care of the necessary paper work & answer all your questions. Hope this helps you. Have fun on this wondrous island.

We  could not get any money out of this bank machine!  It would not accept our card!  Then we went to the other bank machine by the Playero Grocery Store- could not get any cash from that one either.

Carlos is great, not too impressed with the bank tellers, though.  When making a cash withdrawal, we asked for smaller bills and the teller said "No!"  I was so upset, not used to this kind of customer service.  So we went to the bakery next door, had a coffee and tried again with a different teller! This time our request was granted!

DiMarsha many places only take cash so do be prepared.

Do note that the ATM machine at Banco Santo Cruze ONLY accepts their cards.  There are many times that some of the ATMs (if not all) run out of cash...especially on the weekends. Always have some cash on hand.  Part of the learning process.  :D

Bob K

And always know that poor customer service is not personal,  its cultural.  There is almost NO good customer service here.

Customer service????? What is that??? :D:D:D:D

Actually when you actually find someplace that has customer service (like CPS for us) you shout it from the roof tops!!!!

BObK

So  true Bob!!!!

Oh!  Yes, that makes sense!  Will have to get a Banco Cruz card for sure!  Will miss customer service, though!  Oh well, its a fair trade for being able to wake up to the sunshine and birds singing every day!
:D

It absolutely is!!!

Not to mention hot wonderful Dominican coffee. :D

Bob K

Maybe because I lived for a long time ( 8+ years)  in the DR that I found many places that had excellent customer service. Perhaps my fierce visage gave them pause to offer good service.  Sometimes it's the day of the week or time of the month or troubles at home or just being poor, that can cause the reaction you received at the bank. Personally I never witnessed that at the bank. Having patience with a harried employee & a polite puedo can work wonders. Give the locals a chance to redeem themselves in your eyes. I have found that the majority to be warm, gracious & generous with returning a smile. Do not base your opinion on a chance encounter with an occasional  rudeness.  Smile & walk on by.

So true, Gypsy, that's how I live my life everyday!     We are Canadian, known for our politeness!  We are warm, friendly, smiling and patient to everyone we meet! 
Cheers!

Trying to understand if it is better to bring canadian and exchange to pesos there! Or exchange my canadian to USD then exchange to pesos there. Very confused!

I found that the US dollar is an easy currency to exchage.  No matther the exchange rate the businesses will exchange it at 1 us = 50 pesos.
Canadian too complicated. They fist exchange it to US then again to pesos. So everytime I go to DR. I bring pesos (small bills) that I exchange here (canada) as well as some US money.
Anywhere i can use my credit card (visa) i do and when i need the money at least i have it. I'm with RBC and everytime i withdraw from a machine they would charge an extra 5$ on top of the machine charge. Machine give 1000 pesos bills. Everytime i wanted to pass by a bank it was closed or packed so i can't help there.

Depending where you are going,  you can usually exchange your canadian dollars directly. It won't be the very best exchange rate but will be better then converting to US dollars then pesos and paying twice.

And yes using your ATM card and withdrawing pesos may give you the best rate BUT be aware of ATM fees here and from your bank!

My thoughts are...bring a few Pesos to get you started.  Say two or three hundred CAD.  Then either withdraw from an ATM here, most have a max daily limit of 24-32 000 RD.  And those are multiple withdrawls so you're paying a $5 service fee for each one. Or, find  a National Bank ATM, and I believe there is one in Cabarete, definitely one in Sosua, and take out 40 000 Pesos in one withdrawl, one service fee.  Been there, done that, and as Canadians, we get hosed no matter which way we go.  If you're here for longer, open a bank account, and transfer up to $12 500 CAD to your DR account with one transaction from Xoom.  Not saying it's good, but much cheaper than wiring money, and only one fee, which is still cheaper than multiple cash withdrawls.  Avoid USD, as you're paying 2 exchange rates and fees, and losing more, like Planner says.

I have lived her for 5 years, traveled here for 20 plus years.  As a Canadian, I bring only USD and my credit card to the DR.  I live in the Punta Cana area and everyone here takes USD and there are plenty of good places to change from USD to pesos.  A few Western Unions, reliable and good exchange rates for USD.  No need for Canadian dollars, the exchange rate is 10% worse than USD and many places do not accept CDN dollars.  The only real places you need cash are the little Dominican businesses.  Everyone else accepts a credit card.  Get yourself a Chase Manhattan credit card and avoid the 2.5% hidden service charge when exchanging your money.

Another word of caution.  Be sure to tell your credit card company you are going to the DR and will be using your card.  Otherwise they may block the transactions.  Also, be sure to have a 4 digit PIN not a 6 digit PIN.  The ATM's will not accept 6 digits.  That goes for your debit card too!  Another occurrence that happens here is poor telephone and internet service.  If your card is rejected, this is another common cause.  Just keep trying if everything else is in place, don't worry that the person taking your card looks at you strange because it didn't go through.  They are easily confused...lol

As a Canadian I agree with DominicanadaMike. Bringing US $ I am further ahead because the exchange rates in DR are much better than if I were converting from CDN $,  including all the fees involved.
I also wire myself money directly through my Canadian Bank into my accounts in DR. Found that other agencies such as Xoom, Western Union charge much higher fees

I opened a Scotia Bank account in Canada. Scotia Bank is all over The D.R. I take my Scotia Bank debit card with me and with draw pesos anywhere in the D.R. No withdrawal  charge!

Two different answers!

Converting from canadian to usd you lose alot!

Those of you who say cad to usd then to pesos is better? How? Help explain

The conversion from CDN to RD while in DR is very poor, below market rates,  so even with the extra service charge. I have found it beneficial to convert to US $ first.

If you are familiar with Norbert’s Gambit you can covert to US$ without any service charge making it even more beneficial

Steve's idea... ScotiaBank Canada card using in the ATMs here is the easiest.

The notion of converting CAD-US-then to RD is a good one.
Not as costly as people say....I say do that in a pinch.

A Cdn Scotia account will NOT help you here... different corporate entities.... so they told me
But the DR ATMs are free for Cdn Scotia cards

we are answering a 2015 post here.... if she still reads Ex-Pat

Hi.  I have a cousin in Vernon, and I will be going through there in Aug.

About the cash.  I was using both my credit card and bank card to draw money out for my Canadian account from Domincan Republican bank machines.  No problem, but there is a service fee at the machines and internation exchange charges from your own bank.  The max per day is 10,000 pesos.

Always a good idead to carry only the cash you expect to spend.  Maybe keep a couple of larger bills in a different pocket or a sock maybe.  That way you can take out smaller bills, and no one sees the larger bills, along with them.  Can't say anything about travellers cheques except that the lines I have seen in banks have been 15-30 minutes waiting.  So you might need to travel more and wait to cash them.  In Lima, Peru I had a NASTY time finding any exchange rates for my travellers cheques which were not bordering on "loan sharking".  Hope this helps you a bit.

I didn't know the Scotia cards could save fees.  I will be getting one soon.

For anyone who wants to convert CDN to USD, I have had good rates and very good service from "Kightsbridge FX".

Not much trouble to get an account.  After that, it's a phone call.  They confirm by email.  And they get it all done in a few days.

Scotia card at a Scotia bank.... Cdn card at a DR branch

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