posted: November 20th, 2023
Here in the Dominican Republic, it is a little difficult to access your money in foreign bank accounts. Many ATMs have a 2,000 peso (~35USD/~32Euro) withdrawal limit with a 300 peso fee. If you want to pay at a restaurant or hotel in a touristy town with a card, a lot of them charge an 18% fee. 😬 All of these options are awful. After struggling in DR for a week, I finally found some good solutions.
You can go to a bank with USD or Euro to exchange the money. The exchange rate can be pretty good. When I went to BanReservas at the Santo Domingo airport, it was 35 pesos/USD to sell or 36 pesos/USD to buy, < 2%. This might be due to the fact that a huge part of the local economy accepts USD and exchanges it at their local bank, or it may be due to the huge remittance economy where Dominicans working abroad send money back home.
You can send money to yourself from a credit card, debit card, or bank account. The best option is a debit card. The credit card takes a fee of ~$8. The bank account is free, but it may take a few days. The debit card is free and it takes only a couple of minutes.
I had a lot of problems with my bank back home. First, I lost my preferred debit card. Second, my backup debit card was blocked. Because I hadn't used my backup debit card in such a long time, my bank blocked the card. I couldn't use the atm and I couldn't even send myself money through Western Union. Even after calling my bank multiple times over a couple of weeks, they still failed to unblock my card. Eventually, I was able to ask my sister to send me some money through Western Union. She was able to do it from her phone.
Another nice thing about Western Union is their exchange rates are so low. It's always hovering around 100%. At the time of writing this article, it is higher than what is reported on Google (56.8892 vs 56.72), although only by 0.002%. 🤯 I don't know how they pay for staff. The last great thing is they are everywhere. They are in every small town and there are dozens in large cities. Their locations aren't always accurate in small towns, so be sure to ask around before hiking out in the Caribbean sun. If you haven't used Wester Union before, you can use my referral code. We'll both get a $20 Amazon gift card if you send $100 within $30 days.
Comment below if you've seen rates change or found a better solution. Anyways, I hope this helps, and welcome to the community. 🤙