You are currently viewing Credit Card Usage in Belize
Credit cards in Belize

Credit Card Usage in Belize

Are You Spending Time or Residing Full-time in Belize? Obtaining a Debit and Credit Card That Syncs with Local Currency Is of Great Importance to A Successful Stay.

ATMs in Belize only accept Belize dollars as transactions usually have a limit between $500-800 BZD per transaction, with small bills best suited for taxi fares or modest restaurant tabs.


As soon as you plan a vacation or residency in Belize, opening a bank account should be one of your top priorities. There are many banks available which provide personal and business accounts as well as loans, credit cards and more – thus offering one solution for every need!

Heritage Bank, Scotiabank Belize, and First Caribbean International Bank all operate banks across Belize that offer personal and business banking services including savings accounts, checking accounts, loans, mortgages, and credit cards.

Visa and MasterCard are widely used credit cards in Belize, accepted at most hotels, restaurants, and shops with larger establishments; smaller shops may only take cash. American Express and Discover are rarely accepted due to high merchant fees.

Traveling to rural areas often necessitates carrying cash with you. Many locations do not have ATMs, or even if there are, they may not be accessible. Furthermore, some card issuers impose currency conversion or foreign exchange fees that can add up quickly when making multiple purchases in different currencies. It is wise to choose a card without these charges before embarking on your trip or inquire beforehand as to if any charges from them may apply when conducting transactions abroad.

When using credit or debit cards, make sure to bring smaller bills. In rural villages and stores where change might not always be readily available, large bills may be difficult to exchange; and since it is customary in Belize to tip tour operators staff and hotel staff for their services.

Petty crime is widespread in Belize and tourists can be vulnerable to pickpocketing and other forms of theft near popular tourist spots, like Caracol ruins or resorts. Crime also poses a risk in border regions; travelers should use extreme caution when visiting these regions at night and try to stay clear of populated areas that attract a crowd. Reports have surfaced of home break-ins targeting foreigners.

Popular Types

Credit cards are generally accepted at hotels, restaurants/bars, and tour offices at popular tourist spots in Belize; however cash may be preferred in smaller towns and villages.

Visa is the most widely accepted card, followed by MasterCard. American Express and Discover may be less widely accepted, while debit cards may only be accepted if businesses know them well enough; cash may also be useful as tipping servers, hotel staff, and tour guides.

ATMs can be found throughout Belize City, Ambergris Caye, Placencia, San Ignacio, Hopkins, and Dangriga – not to mention other major cities and towns throughout the country – providing money in Belize dollars instead of US dollars with daily withdrawal limits imposed by some ATMs. Please be aware that VISA/MasterCard may charge currency conversion fees (for VISA/MasterCard transactions) or international transaction fees (for AmEx transactions). It is wise to only withdraw cash when necessary, with bills of $1 USD/5 or $10 denomination.

Traveler checks are no longer widely used in Belize, though they are occasionally still accepted. When using them they must remain undamaged with no visible marks or tears – even pen marks could result in them being rejected!

Clients of ours have reported that merchants in Belize sometimes mix US and Belizean dollars when giving change; it would be wise to bring some spare change with you for convenience. Furthermore, travelers have occasionally paid in US dollars even when prices were listed in Belizean dollars; so check your receipt to make sure you received the appropriate amount.

When paying in Belizean dollars, remember there is a 10 percent sales tax and 9 percent hotel tax applicable to most rooms. Furthermore, businesses often charge an extra 2-5 percent when using credit cards, while food and beverage bills often incur an extra service charge of 15-20 percent; some hotels charge an additional 5 percent processing fee.


Credit cards in Belize typically accept Visa and MasterCard credit cards; American Express and Discover are often not accepted; many establishments add a 2-5 percent service charge when using credit cards. Visa debit cards can be used to gain cash advances from banks in the country although you may incur fees; Major banks (Barclays, Atlantic Bank Ltd, Scotiabank, and Belize Bank are among those offering free cash advances; others may charge between $5-USD 10.)

Prepaid BTL phone cards allow visitors to Belize from pay phones, with most resorts and hotels also providing Internet connections for guests. Prepaid cards are a good choice for tourists or expats wanting to avoid costly data roaming charges when using mobile devices abroad.

Most large cities and tourist towns feature ATMs dispensing US dollars; in smaller villages, however, only local Belize currency may be available. Therefore, it’s wise to keep some cash handy should an ATM run out of funds or have withdrawal limits; casa de cambio services offer currency exchange, but be mindful that their rates may often fall a few cents short of what should be offered.

Be mindful that many Belizean businesses and restaurants prefer accepting US dollars as payment, making it simpler than paying in local currency for tour operators services and similar companies that cater specifically to visitors.

Traveler’s checks may not be widely accepted, but if you decide to bring any, make them payable in US dollars and write your passport or driver’s license number on them as protection in case it gets misplaced. Keep in mind that they’ll probably only be accepted at hotels, tour operators and businesses catering specifically to visitors.

Belize, a former British colony, features prominent images of Queen Elizabeth II on both paper bills and coins used locally.


Traveling to Belize can be daunting. As it is a small nation with an eclectic culture that blends Creole traditions, Latino influences, and remnants of British colonial systems from its colonial past, staying aware of current safety situations is essential; avoid demonstrations, large public gatherings and high-risk activities in cities; keep tabs on local weather reports (especially hurricane warnings); carry insect repellent and clothing protection to stay protected against mosquito-borne diseases like Zika or malaria if possible – these should all be carried when traveling through this wonderful land!

Credit cards may be widely accepted, but cash remains preferred. Small bills (especially $2-5-10 and $20 bills) make getting change easier and it should also be noted that US dollars aren’t widely accepted outside tourist areas while ATMs only disburse local currency.

When purchasing items in Belize, it’s wise to inquire as to whether a merchant will offer you a cash discount – oftentimes this can save money! Furthermore, buying some popular local products such as Marie Sharp’s hot sauce, honey, jams or condiments from Belizean retailers such as Marie Sharp’s may help support wildlife poaching or illegal fishing practices and may save time!

Pack some medical supplies just in case an emergency arises, especially since advanced healthcare may not be readily available everywhere in the country and finding suitable treatment can sometimes be challenging.

If you plan to settle in Belize permanently, taking time to research the process for applying for residency is highly advised. This process includes providing various documents, including notarized copies of passport and utility bills notarized copies and proof of financial stability and no criminal history in your home country.