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Cash and ATMs in Belize: Fees, limits, exchange & all you need for your travel

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cash and atms in Belize with currency exchange atm fee saver

Belize, a captivating Central American country, is renowned for its lush rainforests, ancient Mayan ruins, and stunning barrier reef. From the vibrant marine life of the Belize Barrier Reef to the serene beauty of the Cayo District, Belize offers an array of adventures for nature and history enthusiasts alike. To ensure a seamless experience, it’s essential to grasp the local currency and cash along with using ATMs in Belize and understanding the accepted payment methods. This will llow you to immerse yourself in the wonders of Belize without any financial hassles.

Cash or card?

Good old cash hasn’t lost its charm. Tourists rely more on cash, with a significant majority of transactions (estimated above 70%) being conducted in cash, especially outside of tourist areas.

Cash for:

Tuk-tuks and local taxis, Local trains, Street food vendors, Entry fees for some temples, museums, and historical sites, Many hostels and budget hotels, Many tour operators, especially local or small-scale ones, Food from local restaurants, even some sit-down restaurant, Local markets and bazaars, Small purchases, Public buses, Tips and gratuities in many places, Street shopping

Card for:

Good looking coffee shops
Fancy sit-down restaurants
Shopping in malls and branded stores
Professional pre-paid taxi booking services
Spas
Car rentals
Entry fees for major tourist attractions and theme parks
Expensive tour operators
Tailoring services
Upmarket hotels
Online bookings for hotels, flights, and tours

So where to get cash?

There are 2 main ways to get the cash in Belize. They are: ATMs, or, Currency exchange

Pro-tip: Avoid buying Belize Dollar in your home country. It’s not a popular currency so it’ll be hard to find at home and if you do, the exchange rate will be poor.

Find ATMs in Belize?

In Belize, you have 130+ ATMs provided by the country’s main banks. They’re accessible in cities but less so on far-off islands.

Typically, ATMs are found at major airports, market areas, shopping malls, and banks.

Smaller airports and remote regions, however, may lack these facilities.

Popular banks with ATMs

The most popular ATMs in Belize are:

Altantic Bank
Heritage Bank
Belize Bank

There are other banks with ATMs that also accept international debit and credit cards.

Some international banks also have their ATMs in Belgium, namely: Scotiabank

Global ATM alliance: Global ATM Alliance is a partnership among many banks in the world to allow its customers to withdraw cash from all partner banks abroad without any ATM fee. Many banks in the US, UK, Europe, Australia, and Latin America are part of the Global ATM Alliance, including Bank of America, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, and others. Scotiabank used to be part of this but it no longer operates in Belize.

Where to find currency exchanges?

In Belize, you can exchange money at:

Authorised currency exchange centres: These are found in tourist areas and should display an authorisation certificate. Ensure they request identification, as this indicates they are legitimate.
Banks: Easily convert your currency to Belize Dollar at bank branches, especially for common currencies like US dollars, Euros, Pounds, Japanese Yen, and Singapore dollars. A commission of 0.5% to 2% per transaction is standard.
Hotels and airports: Both offer currency exchange services, but rates may not be favorable. Some larger hotels may offer rates comparable to banks.
Tips:

Avoid exchanging at airports due to poor rates.
Stay away from the black market to avoid scams.
Present new notes for better rates or lower fees.
For US dollars, larger bills typically receive higher rates.

Accepted currencies:
Belize mainly accepts its local currency Belize Dollar (BZD or B$). Note denominations are B$ 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100.
US Dollar: USD is also widely accepted in the country, except for local supermarkets, transportation tickets and street food.
Euro: Not accepted
Pound: Not accepted

Know the ATMs in Belize

Foreign debit and credit cards usage:

Certainly, in Belize, the ATMs are accommodating to foreign bank cards.

Types of cards at ATMs

ATMs in Belize will mainly accept Visa, Mastercard, Cirrus, and Plus cards. Dont expect ATMs to accept Maestro, JCB, UnionPay, Amex, Diners, Discover or RuPay cards.

Types of cards to swipe

For card swiping, Visa and Mastercard are the norm. There may be a smaller selection of locations that accept Amex and other card brands.

Opening hours

Most ATMs operate non-stop, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Standalone machines are always available, but those inside banks may keep to the 9 am to 3 pm schedule.

Workings and functionalities of the ATMs

ATMs in Belize are decidedly contemporary, offering a user experience similar to those in the US, UK, and other developed regions. Take care to remember your card post-transaction, as it gets completely taken in by the machine.

ATM names

Words ATM are used or ATMs are present only with the name of bank. You may need to enter a bank branch to access the ATM

PIN type

ATMs in Belize primarily accept 4-digit PINs. It is unlikely that ATMs in Belize will accept PINs longer than 4 digits.

Also, many merchants used old machines which require a magnetic stripe on the card and not just a chip-and-pin card.

Language options

English is the standard language for ATMs in Belize, with some machines providing Spanish as an alternative.

Know the foreign exchanges in Belize

Foreign debit and credit cards usage:

Currency exchanges prefer hard cash for exchange. Visa is accepted at many places, mastercard next. Please be mindful of the fees you will pay if you use your card at a currency exchange.

Opening hours

When it comes to currency exchange, cash is king. While many places do take Visa, and to a lesser extent Mastercard, don’t overlook the additional fees for card usage.

Languages to interact in

Staff at currency exchanges in Belize can usually interact in English and sometimes Spanish.

Exchange names

Facilities for currency exchange often go by names like ‘Currency Exchange’, ‘Forex’, ‘Foreign Exchange’, or ‘Money Exchange’.

ATM withdrawal limit and ATM Fees

Withdrawal limit: ATMs typically restrict the withdrawal per transaction to Belize Dollar 5,000.

ATM fees: Here’s the good news! There is one among 3 banks than charges zero fees to foreign card holders!

Ways to avoid high fees

Use fee-free ATMs in the country.
Use the ATM Fee Saver app to find fee-free or low-fee ATMs.
Opt for “Decline Conversion” or “Without Conversion” during ATM transactions.
Consider getting fee-free cards from your home country.
For more in-depth insights and alternative methods, check out our detailed article, Withdrawing cash abroad? 9 best ways to save foreign ATM fees.
Avoid no-fee exchange offices at all costs to get cash in Belize – If they say no fee, which means they account for their fee in the exchange rate. Nothing is ever free in currency exchanges
Avoid using credit and debit cards for direct transactions
Don’t buy Belize Dollar in your home country – Its not a popular currency and you’ll get poor exchange rates
Don’t carry a lot of Belize Dollar back home – Again, exchange rate to sell will be poor. And mostly, it wont even be bought back by currency exchanges outside of Belize.

Ways to find fee-free ATMs in Belize

The ATM Fee Saver mobile and web app enables you to find ATMs in Belize that waive fees, in addition to currency exchange and money transfer services. It lists ATMs and their charges for foreign card users, as well as withdrawal limits. Use the app’s straightforward calculator to figure out the fees for particular withdrawals in Belize. The app not only guides you to the selected ATM but also provides information for 50 countries, including Belize.

Cash in Belize and safety

Carrying cash

Carrying a large amount of cash while traveling in Belize is generally not safe. Stick to carrying only what you need for the day. To keep your cash safe:

Spread your cash across different locations.
Use a safety belt or fanny pack for extra security.
Avoid showing off large sums of cash.
Be discreet when making payments.
Keep your wallet in your front pocket if possible.
In crowded areas, hold your belongings tightly and close to you.

Safety at ATMs & currency exchanges

Safety on using ATMs in Belize depend on a few factors:

Location of the ATM
Time of using the ATM
People in and around the ATM
There have been many cases of being mugged for cash outside ATMs especially during night time, on empty streets and even in crowded places. Even though in general you are safe as long as you follow precautions, Belize does have regular instances of tourists and locals being threatened with knives and guns for stealing valuables and cash in Belize.

In order to follow precautions, follow guidelines given in these two articles:

Top 8 things to avoid while travelling abroad.

Top 8 things not to do when travelling abroad.

FAQs

Fee-free ATMs and possible to withdraw cash free of cost?

Yes, You can withdraw cash free of cost at the ATM of one bank.

Foreign cards from US, UK, India, China, Europe accepted?

Absolutely yes! You can usually use cards from the US, UK, Europe, Australia, and other countries at ATMs in Belize

Bitcoin ATMs

No, there are no Bitcoin ATMs in Belize.

Foreign banks’s presence in Belize

Bank of America: No
Citbank: No
Barclays: None at all
HSBC: No
Standard Chartered: No

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