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#33753 - 01/23/01 03:21 PM Cash? Credit Card? Travlers Checks?
SD Offline
We will be arriving in San Pedro in 3 weeks. What is the best way to deal with money? Cash? Credit Card? Travlers checks? Thanks for your help. SD

#33754 - 01/23/01 03:45 PM Re: Cash? Credit Card? Travlers Checks?
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
All three work fine. Outside of tourist areas and even in them sometimes, larger bills (bigger than a U.S. twenty) may be a problem because the shop may not have change.

MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted at places a visitor is likely to go, Amex somewhat less so and Discover rarely accepted at all. Unfortunately, some hotels and other businesses still levy a surcharge on credit card use, typically of 3 to 5% but I know of at least one case of 10%. Happily this practice is becoming less common, and many of the more successful, top flight hotels and resorts don't do this anymore.

--Lan Sluder
Belize First Magazine http://www.turq.com/belizefirst/
Lan Sluder/Belize First

#33755 - 01/23/01 04:50 PM Re: Cash? Credit Card? Travlers Checks?
Debbie Offline
I recommend travelers checks myself. As Lan mentioned above, some places charge a surcharge for credit card use. Personally, I find this irritating. Cash, of course, is accepted everywhere, but remember.... You lose it, it's gone. Never to be replaced. With traveler's checks, if they are lost or stolen, you can get them replaced at most banks. We used them for EVERYYHING in San Pedro, and were never turned away. Not once. I do recommend bringing some zip loc bags though, to keep them dry while boating, sailing, fishing etc.

#33756 - 01/23/01 09:46 PM Re: Cash? Credit Card? Travlers Checks?
helmsman Offline
Have just returned from 10 fabulous days on AC. I found that I needed some cash to pay for things like taxis, some meals downtown, especially in the more local restaurants (a couple had MC/VISA terminals but with phone service as it is there, were not able to use terminal), tips for tour/boat operators, grocery items..sodas, etc. Have a great time...we did!

#33757 - 01/24/01 01:36 AM Re: Cash? Credit Card? Travlers Checks?
dphil56 Offline
We used travelers checks in $100 denominations, and never had a problem getting change. As a matter of fact, it never got a negative reaction from the clerks.

#33758 - 01/24/01 03:04 PM Re: Cash? Credit Card? Travlers Checks?
kcreader Offline
When you say cash do you mean US dollars? And if you use travelers checks don't they charge a handling fee, thus the same issue as a surcharge on using the Visa card? Assuming a certain amount of Belize $'s will be useful, is the airport as good a place as any to get them? We will be getting off the plane and heading right for Cayo so probably won't be able to get to a bank.

#33759 - 01/24/01 03:52 PM Re: Cash? Credit Card? Travlers Checks?
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
No, there's no need to exchange U.S. dollars for Belize dollahs at the airport or anywhere. (If you do, you'll lose a couple of percent in transaction charges.) U.S. dollars are accepted EVERYWHERE in Belize, at 2 BZE to 1 US, though you may get change in Belize currency or in a mix of Belize and U.S. money.

The only reason to change currency is if you can get a higher rate (say 2.05 to 2.15 to 1) which you sometimes can from money changers especially at border areas, but the rate they pay varies daily depending on the demand for American dollars, and for the average short-term visitor it is not worth the effort.

As to fees for using traveler's checks, it varies. Most hotels, shops and restaurants accept traveler's checks at the same 2 to 1 rate, though a few charge 1% or so.

As to the use of $100 checks, that may work fine in a tourist area such as San Pedro or to settle a hotel bill, but on the mainland, at least outside of larger stores in Belize City, large traveler's checks or large U.S. bills can be difficult to change.

--Lan Sluder
Belize First Magazine http://www.turq.com/belizefirst/
Lan Sluder/Belize First

#33760 - 01/26/01 06:23 AM Re: Cash? Credit Card? Travlers Checks?
BZEGringo Offline
Actually businesses that accept Credit Cards are not supposed to charge a surcharge. The agreement they sign with the bank says they could have their ability to accept Credit Cards revoked for doing so. The fees they pay are the cost of doing business. If people would refuse to accept the charge and report it to Visa and Mastercard maybe things would change. Or just reduce the tip by the amount of the service charge.


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