ATM charges for foreign banks
PANAMA. Visitors who use their debit or credit cards from foreign banks in Automatic Teller Machines ATM in Panama will have to pay $3 ...
PANAMA. Visitors who use their debit or credit cards from foreign banks in Automatic Teller Machines ATM in Panama will have to pay $3 per transaction.
The measure has caught many people by surprise, because in the past those transaction were completely free.
Telered S.A., the company that handles the ATM network known as Sistema Clave in Panama told the Panama Star that it started charging customers from July 1.
The company did not give any reason for the change in policy.
The Bank Superintendent said that although it regulates the banks, it has no power over the ATM system charges for using the service.
Meanwhile the Panama Banking Association said that Telered S.A. decides how much to charge and the banks themselves do not have any say in the matter.
Normally in Panama, customers will be charged up to 60 cents if they do not use the ATM of their own bank.
That money does not go to the financial institution itself, but to Telered S.A.
Telered is the company that offers interconnection services for the Sistema Clave to more than 30 financial institutions in Panama allowing them to do electronic transfers of funds between banks and the outsourcing of the processing of checks and documents.
The network was created in 1991 with the support of ten national banks and up to 2002 it produced over 220,000 debit cards. Currently there are 900 ATM all over the country and more than 4,800 terminals in over 1,800 shops.
It is expected that the extra charge could mean that foreign visitors would use their debit and credit cards less to avoid increasing the cost of their holidays.
Businessmen who come to Panama, could also be affected by this measure, because many of them use ATMs, instead of having to carry large amount of cash.
Recently the former director of the Panama Tourism Authority, Ruben Blades had meetings with the National Bank to give facilities to businessmen to deposit money in that financial institution and be able to withdraw it at short notice.
The whole idea is to prevent foreigners from carrying large amounts of money and become targets of criminals.
However the new ATM charge could oblige visitors to carry extra cash rather than pay $3 for each transaction.