Banks in the DR, who to consider and not to.


Nov 14, 2007
Inconsiderable: Banco Popular

So many banks in the DR, I couldn't make up my mind who to do banking with when I first came here about a year ago. I should have done a thorough research because in the DR every peso you make is hard earned and it does not go a last long enough until your next paycheck. I know most Dominicans work hard for the little money they earn on a monthly basis and this is why I want all of us to communicate and inform one another of Banks who can be rely on and the ones that can not based on real experiences whether good or bad. If too many of us are having or have had too many bad experiences with certain Banks then it is time to call it quits and go somewhere else.

I started doing banking with Banco popular because they have been around for a long time now. So you would assume they must have a good reputation in order to be in business for so long or are really good at what they do.

About over a year ago, my wife was trying to use an ATM machine for Banco Popular in Cabarete, Puerto Plata. There was a couple standing next to her who suggested she use the one they were just using because for some odd reason the one she was using was not working properly. My wife thinking this couple were being nice and all went to use the other ATM machine they were using. During this time (as I recall her telling me what happened) the couple as she noticed but did not think much of it, were standing right behind her observing everything she did. If my wife would of mentioned this to me as soon as she saw me that day I would of had cancel my card, but unfortunately it was too late. The next day I noticed my balance was way off, talked to my wife about it and eventually put two and two together.
After getting a police report as requested by the Bank in order for them to do any investigation about this matter and then giving them the report as requested it took about 35 days in order for them to refund my money back into my account. It was explained to me, not directly from the Bank of course, that certain employees have what you call an authorization card by the Bank which allows you to open any ATM card account as long as they know the person's code. Apparently this is what the couple had obtained somehow and used it.

A year later and I continued to do banking with Banco popular until the following happened to me; I was trying to withdrawal at one of banco Popular ATM machine outside one of our local grocery market Jose Luis in Puerto Plata. The ATM machine slowly took my card and my card somehow got stuck right inside slide in, without being fully entered, I could even see it.
After trying everything I could to get it out I finally gave up and called for assistance a number sealed and placed below the slider where you place your card. A gentleman answered with the banco popular greeting and tried to assist me in getting the card out by pressing enter and cancel at the same time I was dialing my code, said this was supposed to get the machine to retrieve my card back to me. It did not work, and eventually I got him to cancel the card for me. I should of double checked if my card was indeed canceled but unfortunately I forgot to follow up on it, thinking I could trust the person on the other line who was supposedly working for banco popular.

When checking my bank statement a few days later I realized once again, my balance was off. I called the Bank spoke to a female, who explained to me that my card is still active and that a withdrawal was made supposedly on the day I canceled it. I went straight to the bank explained everything in details, who I spoke to and how there was a number I called. I do consider this inconvenience to be at least 50% my fault since I should have followed up on it and noted down the number I called, but once again I thought I could trust my bank.

Now, what got me upset about this whole matter was the lack of effort Banco Popular put in in order to investigate it. There was no effort at all. The lady who took the report called me saying that after some "investigation" the Bank consider it to be my fault for the withdrawal for not canceling the card adequately and therefore the only way for this withdrawal to have taken place would have to be through me. This was understood to me, however, I questioned the lady about the number placed on the ATM machine if someone went there to take it off and investigate it to find out who assisted me, she said no one went to investigate that it is something usually done by their Santo Domingo head office. "Okay..then so why didn't you do this before calling me and assuming I did the withdrawal?" I said. As I was telling her it makes no sense to me how you can say I did the withdrawal yet you can not give me the time I did it or even investigate to prove to me that I did it. I was totally fed up with this lack of effort and unprofessional assistance so I told her to forget about it, I will go get the number myself and give it to her to investigate.
By the time I got off work and past by the ATM machine it was too late, either the people responsible for the scam took the number off the machine or the bank sent someone to do it. I was thinking about going to the police get a report written about what happened and obligate the bank to prove and show it was I who did the withdrawal since they are accusing me of
doing so. But then why bother? I will just go to the bank and cancel my account and go somewhere else. I did not cancel my account solely because of my previous two bad inconveniences, it was a result of similar issues happening to other people as well who use to do banking with Banco Popular and have also chosen to go elsewhere to do their banking since something shady is going on with the employees at Banco Popular. Now I do banking with BanReserva and Progresso, lets see how it goes. Maybe you guys will tell me some good reports about them.