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#208490 - 02/12/02 02:04 PM Banking in Belize  
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 108
Beachdog Offline
Beachdog  Offline
Does anyone have any info on opening a Belize Dollar Checking account? The information I've received from Atlantic Bank is pretty complex. Requiring 2(two) letters of reference from a US Bank and much more. I just want to be able to pay some bills such as phone, power etc. Not interested in an Off Shore account. How do most Ex-pats and part-time residents of SP deal with this issue?????

#208491 - 02/12/02 03:35 PM Re: Banking in Belize  
Joined: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,157
silkpainter Offline
silkpainter  Offline
Every bank in Belize has the same rules - but forget Atlantic Bank (bozos) and go to Belize Bank. Make sure your stateside banks give you the references in a SEALED letterhead envelope. DO NOT open the envelope. Unless you've been in country for 90 days or more, or have permanent residency or a work permit you have to really jump thru hoops to get an account. It has to do with the recent anti-money laundering legistlation that the PUP enacted. Once you have all your references, bank references, personal and business, they will check out all the info and then you will get your account. But, dont walk in expecting to open an account immediately-even if you have all your papers in order, they sometimes make you wait while they do a "background check". Also, the rules change every time you go in.
Good luck!

#208492 - 02/12/02 04:24 PM Re: Banking in Belize  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,054
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
Lan Sluder/Belize First  Offline
Atlantic Bank at least has been requiring references etc. for several years at least, so it not just the recent currency issues that cause their policies.

I've always thought that it was at least partly a heritage from the British banking system. In England, at least in the past, you didn't just go to your local bank and pop open an account. You "established a relationship," and opening an account was in effect like getting a loan, because you could get overdraft loans if you wrote cheques for more money than you had.

That and the kind of post-colonial bureaucratic mentality where you have to get receipts for everything, get hand-written copies in triplicate, and all that.

--Lan Sluder

Lan Sluder/Belize First
#208493 - 02/12/02 07:25 PM Re: Banking in Belize  
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 5,446
ScubaLdy Offline
ScubaLdy  Offline
Are there not other international banks that do business in Belize?
Can one have their Social Security check deposited directly into one of these accounts?

Take only pictures leave only bubbles
#208494 - 02/12/02 08:13 PM Re: Banking in Belize  
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 139
kcbc Offline
kcbc  Offline
Boy have things changed in Belize. We opened what is called a checking/savings account oh ten years ago I would guess. Just dropped into the Belize Bank one day when we were getting ready to go home and gave them some money, showed our passports and that was it. Had your account immediately.

Now the Belize Bank would win no awards for knowing what is going on. The very first check we ever wrote in Belize bounced because they said that the signature did not match. Since my husband signed it, he and I had quite a conversation about how could you screw up a signature on a check. The bank never would allow us to see the check and for a year we had to resign signature cards.
Next wierd thing was our account was opened in Belize City so we stopped in Belmopan one day to ask about getting some additional checks. First we were told that we would have to go to Belize City to get them because our account was opened there. After some more conversation we told them just to scratch off the word Belmopan on the check and write in Belize City. Oh okay they said.
Also the computer in Belmopan at that time did not talk to Belize City computer but to the computer in San Igancio. Would think that this has changed but who knows.

About six months ago I sent them an email asking if they were offering any different style accounts other than what we had. Took almost three months for someone to answer the email.

The one main advantage to us was that they use to be the only bank located in the airport so you could do your banking as you were coming and going. (Important note here is that this does not mean that the computer is always up and running. Can always deposit in but sometimes problems with withdrawls)

Did not realize that now you had to go thru all this new stuff. Wonder what happens if you would want to switch banks????

#208495 - 02/13/02 03:09 PM Re: Banking in Belize  
Joined: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,157
silkpainter Offline
silkpainter  Offline
Yes there are other international banks that have branches in Belize. Bank of Nova Scotia and Barclays Bank are 2 that I know of, but neither have branches in San Pedro.

#208496 - 02/13/02 08:59 PM Re: Banking in Belize  
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 716
Richard Chambers Offline
Richard Chambers  Offline
I would consider just maintaining your bank accounts in the states and taking care of bill paying business using something like Yahoo bill pay or thru your bank online.
There is no FDIC in Belize!

#208497 - 02/13/02 10:44 PM Re: Banking in Belize  
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,976
rickcheri Offline
rickcheri  Offline
We opened a account at Atlantic, 2 years ago, with the help of a local expat, with nothing more than our passports. Belize bank wanted our private US banking info, including investments to open, so we asked for help and got it. It can be done.. Rick

#208498 - 02/14/02 09:41 PM Re: Banking in Belize  
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 5,446
ScubaLdy Offline
ScubaLdy  Offline
Barclays sounds like a reasonable alternative. I want to have my Social Security deposited directly into an account so I have spending money each month.
I already have all my bills set up so I can pay them on line or they are automatically charges to my credit cards or checking account. AND, I don't have to pay a monthly fee to do it. I love it. Water, which is city, and garbage, which is garbage are the only checks I have to write and they are every other month.

Take only pictures leave only bubbles
#208499 - 02/15/02 12:46 AM Re: Banking in Belize  
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 716
Richard Chambers Offline
Richard Chambers  Offline
Beware, you may be the only USA citizen having your SS check deposited in a Belize bank! Think about this "NO protection" for your money!I love Belize too , but i'm not going to gamble my income on my "Gut Feel" .
Caution may be the best approach here, and it won't cost you a cent if you think it thru!......Richard
Wish i cud be more help here but i think you will get plenty of inputs here!

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