BELIZE CITY, Mon. Feb. 8, 2016–Banks make their money by means of interest charges on loans, but also through fees charged for services. Belize Bank customers, who used to be able to withdraw money from ATMs or over-the-counter at no charge, are now required to pay for those services, based on what a bank official calls the “user-pay policy.”
Although the bank’s online ATM page says, “Use your Belize Bank VISA Debit Card to withdraw cash free of charge day or night…”—that is no longer the case. Customers are now being informed that if they want to use the ATM, they would have to pay 50 cents each time they do, and $1.00 each time they withdraw money from inside the bank.
We are informed from another source that the ATM transactions alone could net the bank at least $32,000 a month, or almost $400,000 a year.
A customer, who is unhappy about the new charge, said that when he went to the ATM to get cash, there was a pop-up screen asking him to confirm the charge for the service. After the customer gave the confirmation, the customer’s transaction was processed.
Some customers have questioned why the new fee is being charged and they have been told by customer service personnel that it was a directive from management, with no other explanation. A senior citizen says that the fee is substantial for a retiree, who does not have much money to live on, and it should be revisited, at least for senior citizens.
Atlantic Bank and Heritage Bank charge no fees for routine withdrawals, but an Atlantic Bank customer may be charged $6.05 if they attempt to take money from their account, in an over-the-counter transaction, without their passbook.
In the case of Scotiabank, whether a fee is charged for withdrawals depends on whether the customer has exceeded the number of transactions allowed for the month. For example, total access accounts, which carry a monthly fee of $8.00, allow 10 transactions, but a customer who exceeds that limit is charged 50 cents for ATM withdrawals and $1.50 for over-the-counter transactions, according to information the bank provides online.