Belize Banks

Belize Bank in downtown Belize city, formerly the Royal Bank of Canada.

Belize banking is like much that all over the world but more closely modeled after the British and American banking system. All the banks are owned or affiliated with banks in Europe and North America. The country has four commercial banks regulated by the Central Bank of Belize. Unlike other countries, for example the U.S.A., there is no insurance on deposits such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. But the Central Bank exercises tight oversight over the banking industry and requires that banks retain suitable liquidity and asset ratios in respect of loans and liabilities. No bank has ever failed in Belize.

All banks operating here have correspondent relationships with banks in North America and Europe. However, since the introduction of correspondent bank de-risking  in 2016, several banks in Belize, primarily the Belize Bank, have lost customers as the bank found itself terminated from correspondent bank facilities with the Bank of America and other prime banks.

All banks offer facilities such as VISA and MasterCard credit cards, debit cards, cheque cashing, personal and business loans, overdraft facilities, student loans and loan consolidation, residential mortgages as well as letters of credit, cashier’s cheque, and travelers cheque are the full range of local banking services. Automated Teller Machines are available throughout the country and accept VISA and MasterCard credit and debit cards. On 1 March 2022 the migration of all customers and accounts of the former Belize Bank Corporation Limited (successor to the Bank of Nova Scotia Belize) to the Belize Bank Limited was completed. The three banks licensed to operate here are:

Atlantic Bank Limited
Freetown Road,
Belize City, BELIZE
TEL: + 501-223-4123

The Belize Bank Limited
Market Square,
Belize City, BELIZE
TEL: + 501-227-7132

Heritage Bank of Belize (formerly Alliance Bank)
Princess Margaret Drive
Belize City, BELIZE
TEL: + 501-223-6111

National Bank of Belize
Constitution Drive (former Bank of Nova Scotia Building)
City of Belmopan, BELIZE
Telephone: +822 0957

Credit Unions

The Holy Redeemer Credit Union is the largest in the country with 60,000 members and 650 million dollars in assets.

The country has a thriving system of credit unions. Some cater to particular sectors such as teachers, public officers or farmers. The better credit unions have close connections with well-established churches and offer good alternatives to the commercial banks. The larger credit unions are utilized by most sectors of society including small to medium size businesses. Since credit unions charge simple interest they are a a popular alternative to the commercial banking institutions.

Credit unions do not offer many of the services banking customers take for granted, for example withdrawing cash from a credit union ATM needs a separate account to be set up. But for those who can appreciate the difference between compound and simple interest, credit unions more than make up for these small inconveniences. By far the largest credit union in Belize is the Holy Redeemer Credit Union affiliated with the Roman Catholic Diocese. HRCU has its headquarters in Belize city, a branch at Independence Village in southern Belize, and a branch in the City of Belmopan.

Main services offered include savings accounts, consumer, education, medical and residential loans. Credit unions registered are listed below.

Belize Credit Union League Ltd.

Blue Creek Credit Union Ltd.

Citrus Growers & Workers Credit Union Ltd.

Civil Service Credit Union Ltd.

Holy Redeemer Credit Union Ltd.

La Inmaculada Credit Union Ltd.

Police Credit Union Ltd.

St. Francis Xavier Credit Union Ltd.

St. John’s Credit Union Ltd.

St. Martins Credit Union Ltd.

Toledo Teachers Credit Union Ltd.

Wesley Credit Union Ltd.

All banking is conducted in BZ Dollars. The BZ Dollar is officially tied to the U.S. Dollar. One U.S. Dollar equals Two BZ Dollars. But watch out for daily changing currency exchange rates that are tacked on to all foreign exchange transactions. As of February 2022, sending U.S. dollar wire transfers from Belize faces a 3 day delay for approval by Belizean banks. Foreign exchange accounts are allowed but permission must be sought from the Central Bank. For non-residents the best option is to open an offshore bank account.

Belize banks that are able to service withdrawals from their ATMS for international credit and debit cards are the Belize Bank and Atlantic Bank.

In 2020 the Ashcroft group that controls the Belize Bank, acquired the holdings of the Scotia Bank Belize.

The more widely accepted credit cards in Belize including Belize Hotels are Visa, MasterCard and (as of 2023) American Express.

Money Transfers To And From Belize

MoneyGram Agent inside electronic gadgets shop in Belize.

Banks and Credit Unions in Belize may not be the most convenient way to transfer money or collect remittances in Belize. Many Belizeans do not have a bank account. For that reason, MoneyGram and Western Union has dozens of agents scattered all over the country. Many of these can be found inside cell phone repair shops, beauty salons, pharmacies, or other hole in the wall locations, often close to banks and credit unions. The limit is U.S.$500. and the rates are high. But for convenience and money emergencies they are hard to beat,

MoneyGram agents in Belize

Western Union agents in Belize

Also see our Home Finance Options In Belize article for more information on the mortgage process.

Updated January 2023