Belize Banking and ATM Fees
Banking in a foreign country can often seem like the crooked sticks in my featured image above. It does not always make sense. Thankfully somehow everything manages to come out straight in the end and you get your money for the most part. Since my write up on Helpful Tips and Issues With ATM Use at Belize Banks was of major interest to my readers, I decided it was time for more Belize banking information. For starters, detailed ATM fees for both banks here and abroad. To finish, I will include a few pictures of some not so helpful messages you may encounter at the bank machine and sending good thoughts we all get the “happy ending” one.
Belize Banks ATM Convenience Fees
Some ATM operators apply a surcharge (or convenience fee) to use their banking machine if you do not have an account with their financial institution. The banking machine notifies you when they apply a convenience fee. The notice will appear on the screen before you complete your transaction, giving you the choice to proceed or not. This convenience fee is not a fee from your bank, but rather from the bank that provides the terminal. (All fees listed below are in Belize currency – unless otherwise stated.)
Scotiabank: ATM fee $8.00. Accepts all cards bearing the VISA, MasterCard, Plus, and Cirrus logos. – Maximum withdrawal limit per day, $750. Location: Scotiabank Branch is on Coconut Drive across from Tropic Air parking. Note this bank is not connected to Scotiabank in other countries, but the $8.00 fee is waived if you have a Canadian Scotiabank account.
Belize Bank: ATM fee $3.50 +1% of the amount withdrawn. ATMs accept all cards bearing the VISA, MasterCard, Plus, and Cirrus logos. Maximum withdrawal limit per day, $500. Locations: Barrier Reef Drive main branch, just look for the big Belize Bank sign in the sky on the left-hand side of Barrier Reef Drive and you will find the main branch. This bank still occasionally experiences chip issues more so at the main branch ATM than the independent bank machines.
Heritage Bank: ATM fee $3.00. Withdrawals can be done using any Heritage, Credit Union, Belizean bank debit cards or ZITRO prepaid cards. Currently, no foreign card withdrawals can be done at this bank.
Atlantic Bank: No convenience fee. The maximum withdrawal limit (according to the email response I received) varies depending on the limit of the customer’s credit card or debit card. They currently do not accept chip cards. My editor tells me she can get her Canadian CIBC Interac Visa debit (with Interlink and PLUS logos) chipped card to work, but it takes a few tries. She says it’s worth it to at least try, rather than paying the $8.00 at Scotiabank if she can help it. My Canadian chip bank card was acting up for a brief period and I also had to do a few tries, suddenly it went back to normal and it works right away.
In-store ATM’s: Fee $10.00. These places are where you really pay for the convenience. Locations: Richie’s Supermarket, Wings, Superbuy South, & Beach Basket at Grand Caribe Resort.
Foreign Bank fees using Belize ATM’s
Unless you have an account that waves fees, (that often requires a set minimum balance) your banking institution also charges an ATM withdrawal fee.
Canadian Institution Charges for ATM Withdrawal
CIBC, RBC, BMO, and TD all charge $5.00 CAD
Please note: Even if you are not getting charged an ATM convenience fee in Belize, every banking institution, in addition to the currency exchange rate, charges a built in (hidden) foreign transaction fee … anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5%. Watching the exchange rates is a good idea for timing on withdrawals (but is still hit & miss).
US Institution Charges for ATM Withdrawal
There are so many banking institutions in the US., it would be next to impossible to list them all. I’ve solicited information from a few friends and the first three responses are based on their personal experiences. The others I got from internet research.
Wells Fargo: $5.00 fee from bank and $0.77 (for $100) & $1.88 (for $200).
Credit Union – State of Maine: Total fees from Atlantic and US institution is $3.00 USD ($1.00 being a set rate from the CU).
USAA, Military Bank. They reimburse fees up to $15.00 USD per month. Each transaction costs $3.00.
US Bank: $2.50 transaction fee.
Bank of America: $5.00 fee from the bank, + 3% transaction fee for the US dollar amount.
It might be worth it to note if you happen to be going on a side trip, that BofA has an International Partnership (meaning no $5.00 fee) with Scotiabank – but unfortunately not in Belize… you need to go to Mexico or any of the other Caribbean Islands for that.
Bank Machine Messages
Below are a few messages you might receive when trying to get money out of the bank. The top four are from Atlantic as I use their machine the most. Hopefully, I might save someone the panic of getting one of the not so nice and not very clear messages the bank machine spits out leaving you wondering why you are standing there empty-handed. keep in mind as a developing country, our bank machines still run out of money fairly frequently. Especially around holidays. There is pretty a pretty much guaranteed weekly Friday night line up at the Atlantic Bank machine. The pictures below show two Belize ATM’s that illustrate what happens if the machine is not recognizing your chipped card, and the convenience fee. Of course, the one (middle right) is the happy ending we all love to see.
Belize Forum Posts on Banking
If banking and money are of interest to you then here are a few posts you will find useful. American Cash, find out what people had to say in regards to packing a stack of 100’s and if bill size matters on your vacation. Another thing people often wonder about while on vacation is if smaller places are using credit cards.