Banking & ATM's in Roatan, Honduras
Opening a Bank account on Roatan requires that you present identification and two letters of recommendation from people who already have an account at the bank that you choose.
Honduran banks offer accounts in U.S. dollars and in Lempiras and it is advisable to open accounts in both currencies. The dollar account can be used to deposit monthly income from a U.S. checking account (by writing a check that can take 30 days to clear) and thus avoid the expense of bank transfer fees.
If you plan to do Wire Transfers to your Honduran Bank, be sure to get the wiring instructions and talk to the bank about what their requirements are for incoming wire transfers. Don't be too insulted if they ask where you got the money or if they request your last 3 years tax returns if you are transfering a significent amount, for example for building a house or buying a lot. The banks need to prove they are not laundering money to other countries. Normally there is a $15 charge for incoming wire transfers in addition to the charge by your bank to do the wire transfer.
Traveler’s checks may also be deposited in dollar accounts. Remember, it may take up to 30 days for U.S. checks and/or traveler’s checks to clear. Once you have the dollars credited in your dollar account you can transfer these funds into your Lempira Account. Get online access to do this and print out the transaction or have a bank clerk do it for you and obtain a print-out. Some banks require movement in each account every 30 days, be sure to inquire when you open your account.
It is also advisable to obtain a debit card for the Lempira account so you can use ATM’s instead of going to the bank every time you need cash. Lines in the bank can be long and on the 15th and last day of the month, which are paydays, don't go to the bank - go either 2 days before or a day after!
Banking and accessing your money has become easier on Roatan. Banks have online access and people are able to transfer money from a local USD account to their Lempira account quite easily from home on the internet. BAC Credomatic has banking in English most of the other banks do not yet. But don't be intimidated by that, you will learn the bit of Spanish necessary to accomplish your banking after a few tries.
Do NOT assume that capitalization in a user name or password is not important, or that different internet browsers should all work - not true! Be very specific in understanding your internet access.
Some banks are making it easier and faster to transfer money from the US to your Honduran account. With Banco Continental a wire transfer from the US in the morning is in your USD account by noon! Other banks can take from 3-7 days or more, ask people for opinions as to which bank best and why they would choose it.
ATM machines are popping up in several locations on Roatan. The major point is that generally they have money and are working! No longer necessary to bring Travelers Checks (which are held for 30 days) or a lot of cash for incidentals.
ATM's are now located in French Harbour at Eldons Supermarket, MegaPlaza Mall Banks - Banco Continental, BAC Credomatic, Banpais, Banco Atlantida all have ATM's. Texaco and HSBC in Jackson Plaza. The airport has 2 ATM's, Coxen Hole has ATM's at each bank location, West End and West Bay have several more ATM's to access your accounts.
Guide section: Bank
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