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Thread: ATM Fees

  1. #1
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    Arrow ATM Fees

    Before I get to my point about ATM fees, here is some advice for newcomers. If you walk into and out of a bank on a main street and/or use a street ATM, there is a chance that a tigre will be surveilling you. If you do this, pause when you are ready to leave, scope your surroundings, and look back when you are walking to confirm that you are not being followed.

    Once, when I entered and left Banco Popular on La Mella in Sto. Dom., my girlfriend, dominicana, who had been waiting outside, told me to get back inside. I was being surveilled. When he knew that we knew, he walked away. I got a physical description from my girlfriend, particularly color of shirt, so we could look out for him.

    This is not paranoia but an intelligent security precaution so you can stay safe and happy in the D.R. It is better to use an ATM inside of a store, such as Plaza Lama or La Sirena. When you exit, no one knows that you had used a ATM inside. It is harder to be surveilled.

    Now to my main point. Arbitrarily, I have been making ATM withdrawals from Banco Popular for ten years. Recently, the machine asked if I would accept the fee of RD$195.00. I clicked "yes" and completed the transaction. But when I looked at my receipt I found that the fee was actually RD$ 250.00! That's a lot of money! I complained to the manager about the deceit, intentional or not, and asked for a refund of 55 pesos. He refused on account of the Dominican more of refusing to refund any money under any circumstances, which is a whole topic in itself, and could take up an entire thread.

    Solution? The solution I am looking at is obtaining a debit card and paying no more fees. The problem is that all banks require a host of difficult to obtain documents for foreigners. But if you plan to stay here for the rest of your life, like me, maybe the effort is worth it. If you go to a bank, just go to Services and ask for the document that lists account requirements for foreigners. I am now going to different banks to find out if some have requirements less onerous than others. "The jury is still out" on the answer to this question.

    BTW, Banco Progreso has the lowest ATM fees I have found anywhere: RD$150.00. Also, the machines are beautifully designed. Many banks have machines whose buttons are slightly off center as they align with the text. You may press the wrong button. The Progreso machines do not have this failing. And "English" is clearly available to select.
    Last edited by Lucas61; 07-11-2019 at 09:03 AM. Reason: grammar errors

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    Schwab has a debit card that refunds ATM fees worldwide and there are no fees for the checking account. I use it when in DR without a problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucas61 View Post
    Before I get to my point about ATM fees, here is some advice for newcomers. If you walk into and out of a bank on a main street and/or use a street ATM, there is a chance that a tigre will be surveilling you. If you do this, pause when you are ready to leave, scope your surroundings, and look back when you are walking to confirm that you are not being followed.

    Once, when I entered and left Banco Popular on La Mella in Sto. Dom., my girlfriend, dominicana, who had been waiting outside, told me to get back inside. I was being surveilled. When he knew that we knew, he walked away. I got a physical description from my girlfriend, particularly color of shirt, so we could look out for him.

    This is not paranoia but an intelligent security precaution so you can stay safe and happy in the D.R. It is better to use an ATM inside of a store, such as Plaza Lama or La Sirena. When you exit, no one knows that you had used a ATM inside. It is harder to be surveilled.

    Now to my main point. Arbitrarily, I have been making ATM withdrawals from Banco Popular for ten years. Recently, the machine asked if I would accept the fee of RD$195.00. I clicked "yes" and completed the transaction. But when I looked at my receipt I found that the fee was actually RD$ 250.00! That's a lot of money! I complained to the manager about the deceit, intentional or not, and asked for a refund of 55 pesos. He refused on account of the Dominican more of refusing to refund any money under any circumstances, which is a whole topic in itself, and could take up an entire thread.

    Solution? The solution I am looking at is obtaining a debit card and paying no more fees. The problem is that all banks require a host of difficult to obtain documents for foreigners. But if you plan to stay here for the rest of your life, like me, maybe the effort is worth it. If you go to a bank, just go to Services and ask for the document that lists account requirements for foreigners. I am now going to different banks to find out if some have requirements less onerous than others. "The jury is still out" on the answer to this question.

    BTW, Banco Progreso has the lowest ATM fees I have found anywhere: RD$150.00. Also, the machines are beautifully designed. Many banks have machines whose buttons are slightly off center as they align with the text. You may press the wrong button. The Progreso machines do not have this failing. And "English" is clearly available to select.
    After having been in the DR for more than 10 years you should know that Dominicans don't give refunds unless they can pay with chiclets or Halls.
    Whoever introduces the old again to recognize the new, can be a teacher to others.
    (Confucius)

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcdmps View Post
    Schwab has a debit card that refunds ATM fees worldwide and there are no fees for the checking account. I use it when in DR without a problem.
    As do I. Best way to go. Tied to my Scwhab checking account. Better Forex rate than Western Union or Caribe Express.
    Last edited by windeguy; 07-11-2019 at 10:55 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcdmps View Post
    Schwab has a debit card that refunds ATM fees worldwide and there are no fees for the checking account. I use it when in DR without a problem.
    Hmm. I have heard of Charles Schwab. Is that not an investment account? I have no investments. Could I open an account and receive a debit card? And if I did, could I use it at an ATM here without fees? Reimbursement seems like a big hassle.

    Meanwhile the "jury is in" with respect to BanReservas. I went there today and found out that the only thing I need to open a savings account with a debit card (and no ATM fees) is a passport, my U.S. state identification, and a copy of my original SS card--easy peasy compared to the horde of documents the other banks require. But I failed to ask if they have simpler requirements because I already have a savings account there . . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by frank recktenwald View Post
    After having been in the DR for more than 10 years you should know that Dominicans don't give refunds unless they can pay with chiclets or Halls.
    Hmm, that's strange, I usually get chiclets when the merchant is short of change . . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcdmps View Post
    Schwab has a debit card that refunds ATM fees worldwide and there are no fees for the checking account. I use it when in DR without a problem.
    I think you are referring to ATM charges by Schwab. How would they know what the fees are at a DR ATM?

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    I totally refuse to use ATM´s that charge 195 dop transaction fees. Fortunately where I stay in Cabarete there are some ATM´s that does not charge this fee. Also, the last months I have only used my Banco Santo Cruz debit card for withdrawals/payments. Transferring funds from my foreign bank account is less costly if you do a sufficient large transaction, because the ATM`s always charge you an international ATM fee, in my case 2% of the amount withdrawn.

    The 195 dop fee has surfaced the recent years, if people simply refuse to use those ATM´s maybe it goes away (dream mode on...)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    I think you are referring to ATM charges by Schwab. How would they know what the fees are at a DR ATM?
    Schwab knows what the ATM machine charged for the transaction and that amount is automatically refunded. The refund shows up on your statement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucas61 View Post
    Hmm. I have heard of Charles Schwab. Is that not an investment account? I have no investments. Could I open an account and receive a debit card? And if I did, could I use it at an ATM here without fees? Reimbursement seems like a big hassle.
    In order to get this debit card, you have to open an investment account and a checking account. I have not paid any fees except $5 each time for buying and selling stocks. Reimbursement automatically shows up on your statement.
    Last edited by kcdmps; 07-11-2019 at 08:45 PM.

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