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Money

Posted By: pobo

Money - 01/25/10 01:49 AM

We've been to San Pedro twice before but did not pay much attention to the money exchange. Should we go to one of the banks? Thanks

Posted By: klcman

Re: Money - 01/25/10 02:24 AM

just use your US $
Posted By: terrielinn

Re: Money - 01/25/10 03:03 AM

There is no need to exchange at the banks. The merchants will gladly accept USD and will give change in BZ. If you play it right you will not be left with an excess of Belize money upon your return to the states.

Above all--- Have a blast while you are there!!!

Enjoy!
Posted By: tortuga.chica

Re: Money - 02/09/10 12:05 AM

And if you do end up taking Belize money home, then you just have it handy for your next visit!
Posted By: azbob

Re: Money - 02/09/10 12:11 AM

I have a Belize piggy bank for that purpose alone!!! And I carry Shiniest $1BZ as a lucky piece!
Posted By: divingcowgirl

Re: Money - 02/09/10 01:44 AM

Me too AZ, I am looking at $30 BZ right now that I have to spend at Jets bar when I get in! And as always... I will return to the US with a $20 BZ as well as a $1 BZ as a lucky tailsman to get me back to SP!
Posted By: Bill Mc Ghee

Re: Money - 02/09/10 02:32 PM

Originally Posted by azbob
I have a Belize piggy bank for that purpose alone!!! And I carry Shiniest $1BZ as a lucky piece!

Make sure you bring that " Piggy Bank" with you on this next trip. DCG and I are going to break it for you.. smile
Posted By: azbob

Re: Money - 02/09/10 02:55 PM

Oink, Oink!!!!! laugh
Posted By: tacogirl

Re: Money - 02/10/10 02:21 PM

Don't forget to stash some usd in your passport for your exit money.
Posted By: seashell

Re: Money - 02/10/10 02:45 PM

Check your airline ticket first. Your exit money may have already been included in your ticket.
Posted By: tcoats

Re: Money - 02/10/10 06:00 PM

I believe only AA doesn't include the exit fee in their ticketing.
Posted By: tcoats

Re: Money - 02/10/10 06:12 PM

Our first few trips down, we just used US currency, as all places take it. However, a friend pointed out to me that if you exchange it, you actually get more Belize money than two-to-one.

Now we always go to Milo's on Middle Street and exchange it when we get there. So when we exchange, say, $500 US, we don't just get $1000 BZ, but more like $1030 plus or minus, depending on what the exchange rate is on that particular day. When we were down in January, it was lower than when we were there the time before, so it does fluctuate.

That may not seem like much, but hey, it will buy you an extra meal.

It also makes it much easier to figure change, tips, etc., especially when you pay in US and get change back in BZ.
Posted By: Loansum-Al K

Re: Money - 02/10/10 06:47 PM

Continental includes the departure fee in their ticket price.....American Airlines doesn't. Don't know about Taca or United......never use them.
Posted By: tcoats

Re: Money - 02/10/10 06:51 PM

TACA includes fee as well.
Posted By: 6string

Re: Money - 02/10/10 06:54 PM

I never knew about the exchange rate, we just would use our US currency wherever. Does anyone know if the visa check cards work? Its basically a credit card but it functions as a debit against an account. I was thinking this year instead of bringing a bunch of cash, just getting cash from the local banks a few times with my visa debit/credit card.
Posted By: azbob

Re: Money - 02/10/10 07:23 PM

6, check with you bank. On mine, there is a transaction fee and international fee applied when you draw BZ$'s. I still carry it for back up.
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Money - 02/10/10 07:24 PM

A debit card should be free to use (though isn't always), a credit card is far from free when drawing cash. And of course you'll be paid Bz$, with an exchange rate fee built in.
Posted By: Lan Sluder/Belize First

Re: Money - 02/10/10 07:51 PM

Beware! Both credit cards and debit cards have been jacking up their international exchange fees like crazy. Even most debit cards now get hit with several percent international exchange fee, plus usually a buck or two by the Belize bank and maybe another few bucks from your home bank for using another bank's ATM.

For example, my Wells Fargo debit card now charges 3% on all foreign transactions, including from ATMs and for foreign purchases. That's not including any foreign ATM fees.

Citibank debit cards charge you a 3% international transaction fee, plus $1.50 ATM fee if it's not a Citi branch, plus whatever fee the local bank charges (usually BZ$2-3). Bank of America charges 3 to 8%, depending on whether or not the merchant imposes a "Dynamic Currency Conversion" (DCC) fee. Amex charges just 2%, but in Belize the conversion rate from Belize dollars is a little less than 2 to 1.

Usually credit and debit cards give you the best available currency exchange rate, but that's not true in Belize.

Altogether the fees can add up to 5%-6% or more of the money you get. And you may not realize it until you get back home and check your bank statement. And that doesn't include any interest charges you may incur on a credit card.

Some U.S. cards now charge an international exchange fee even if the charge is in U.S. dollars and there's no foreign currency exchange involved, as long as the transaction took place outside the U.S.

Best to check with your bank or credit card issuer to see what the fees will amount to. With all these fees, it may make sense for some travelers to go back to the old traveler's checks, especially if they get them issued free. However, some businesses will give a bit less than 2 to 1 for TCs.



Posted By: CaptOneIron

Re: Money - 02/10/10 09:12 PM

I travel a lot internationally and for a long time if you complained they would take the stupid usurious fee off but they won't now. Get a Capital One credit card as they don't charge this ridiculous fee (at least as far as I know they don't charge it).
Posted By: ragman

Re: Money - 02/10/10 10:49 PM

I travel quite a bit also and Capital One is the only card I use outside of the USA. Much cheaper. Mine is an Orbitz Visa, Capital One.
Posted By: captjeff

Re: Money - 02/10/10 11:28 PM

I just learned last year cap one no fee's so cool .And I get air miles a win/win ..
Posted By: Lan Sluder/Belize First

Re: Money - 02/11/10 03:14 AM

Thanks for the tip on Capital One cards that don't charge an international transactions fee.

HOWEVER, in reading about Capital One, there are a lot of articles out there on the Web from reputable publications, mostly from the last few days and weeks, talking about how Capital One is raising its interest rates by large amounts ... more so than other credit card companies ... even for those with high credit scores.

So caveat emptor. If you carry any balance, even for a month or two, the interest charges may more than eat up any savings on international fees.

--Lan Sluder
Posted By: Chloe

Re: Money - 02/11/10 03:30 AM

I prefer Traveler's checks, and stop by the bank to convert to BZ$$ daily, then dealing in BZD's, makes it easier.
Posted By: seashell

Re: Money - 02/11/10 04:14 AM

I too find it easier to deal with BZ $, rather than US $. Generally, I have some BZ $ with me from the previous trip, regardless, there are US $ in the stash that need to be converted as I go. I do my best to get these US bills converted quickly. Generally, having a few drinks and paying as I go gets the conversion started in a happy way. wink

After I run out of both BZ $ and US $, I go to the ATM on a semi-regular schedule until it is time to return to the land of milk & honey . . erm, I mean ice and snow, where I earn the $ so that I can blow it all in Belize.

azbob, you may be getting US $ change when you give over US $, but it has been my experience that rarely get US $ in change unless specifically requested, because I am on short time. Once in a while, the change will come with a US dollar or two, but only because they didn't have the right change in BZ $.
Posted By: Barbara K

Re: Money - 02/11/10 02:29 PM

Capitol One often has some good (unadvertised) benefits for those who pay off their charges each month - in Nov I bought a car and charged the majority of it (about 19K) and there was no interest or finance charges till March. Great deal. They are a great credit card company if you pay it off regularly.
And they have a "miles" plan too!
Posted By: 6string

Re: Money - 02/11/10 05:03 PM

Thanks everyone!! I will check with my Wells Fargo, but it appears my free issue travelers checks might be best then, and plan on a few trips to the bank to get them exchanged for cash.

Posted By: IGAmel

Re: Money - 02/11/10 05:19 PM

Go to Milo's Money Exchange and you'll get a better rate for your US cash and traveler checks.
Posted By: IGAmel

Re: Money - 02/11/10 05:34 PM

BTW: Milo's will take personal checks also. Good idea to have passport for ID till they get to know you.
Posted By: Lan Sluder/Belize First

Re: Money - 02/11/10 05:49 PM

My daughter has been traveling in Eastern Europe and Turkey for the past month. She's a backpacker and doesn't spend a lot, a little over US$1000 in that time for food, hostels, train and bus transportation, and spending money.

Today I saw her Wells-Fargo checking account statement, which showed US$94.94 in international ATM/debit card fees over the past month, including $55 for 11 ATM withdrawals and the rest in 3% fees on debit card purchases.

So the international bank fees came to over 9% of her total expenditures!

She could probably manage her ATM withdrawals more efficiently, getting larger chunks of money less frequently, but when you're traveling from country to country you don't want to get too much local currency at one time since you're soon moving on to another country with a different currency.

Anyway, this is just an example of the ridiculous amount of fees the banks can and do charge on international transactions.

We're gonna be switching banks!

--Lan Sluder

P.S. By the way, my daughter says she is finding Eastern Europe and Turkey generally inexpensive to moderate, certainly less expensive than Belize for budget travel, and not much more than Argentina, Bolivia and other South American countries she's visited.
Posted By: Northern Canuck

Re: Money - 02/11/10 06:12 PM

For Canadians who may be interested: I was talking with RBC and CIBC. Both said there is a $5.00 international fee/ ATM withdrawl but CIBC also charges 2.5% 'administration fee' RBC does not. There will be the exchange rate on that day as well.
Posted By: seashell

Re: Money - 02/12/10 12:43 AM

I'll check my bank statement to see what it cost me in January and get back to you guys.
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