View Full Version : Which Bank on Bonaire?

03-30-2018, 02:37 PM
Which bank on Bonaire works best for part-time residents? We are acquiring an apartment, so will need a bank account for looking after all the payments and bills.

I see that MCB is probably the biggest bank with the most ATMs, etc, but biggest is not always best. On another thread wishing4wind complained about the online banking experience with them. That is important to us as I already like to do my banking at home using the internet and that will be more important to be able to make and monitor transactions from afar.

Any comments on the service from the banks, particularly with regard to the internet banking experience would be appreciated.


03-31-2018, 09:04 AM
We use RBC. They have been pretty good with custom service and dealing with them from the States. It takes a couple of weeks to get an appointment to open up an account and there was a bunch of paperwork we had to bring down. We have been able to setup auto pay for the WEB water and electric and other bills. We did have one issue where they were going to cancel our account because they didn't have us listed as home owners on the island. We had to email down our tax bill to show prove. Once that was done we have been fine. Hopefully this helps

03-31-2018, 02:55 PM
RBC is a Canadian bank with exposure in Canada, US and the Caribbean so it might be best suited for your banking needs.

04-01-2018, 08:40 AM
I just recently found out at RBC there is a monthly fee of $15 for an account with a minimum deposit of $5000. If you have a Sedula as a citizen, the monthly fee is waived.

04-02-2018, 03:19 PM
I have had issues with MCB online banking too. From my home in Oregon I logged on to the MCB site and I incorrectly entered my password (typo) and was locked out of my account. After repeated attempts to solve the problem on line (no joy) I began to phone the bank from the USA and always the phone would ring but no-one ever would answer the call. Then I began to email the bank and after two months of my emails being ignored and unanswered I returned to Bonaire and went to the MCB Bank and waited in line and told them I was locked out and received an immediate solution. I suppose if you make sure you have some bank employee's personal contact information in order to help solve this sort of problem when you're out of the country it might be different. But I have no love for their MCB website solutions.

04-03-2018, 10:32 AM
MCB has a monthly fee as well, $4.24 if you are a non resident .

04-03-2018, 06:34 PM
MCB changed their online banking system in October. You had to re-register and it all happened on one day so it looks to me that the system was overloaded with new web transactions because it was unresponsive. This unresponsiveness led to me (and I assume many others) believing they had re-registered and being unable to get in using either their new or old password, which after several attempts locks you out. I believe the problem has since been rectified.

This problem was exacerbated at the time due to the phone problem in Bonaire where if you were dialing from the USA, the call would not go through. A number of times I called to fix this problem and ended up on the phone to some private residence on Bonaire. In the end, I had to use an email contact and they phoned me. It was resolved very quickly at that point and when I spoke to the correct person, they were well aware of the problems during the switchover time AND the solution. At this time though, please bear in mind that even MCB was still not aware their foreign customers could not contact them. The fact that I was unable to get through to their support line directly was a big mystery.

Thus while there was a problem with MCB's system, the real issue appeared to be the difficulty of correcting it due to the phone issue. Since mine was corrected, I have once again found the MCB system to be very reliable as it always was.

The last time I read about the phone issue, about six weeks ago...it still prevailed. I have no idea about today. Either way the only fault I have with MCB is that they no longer will accept fax wire instructions and other than that I have been very pleased with them.

04-03-2018, 08:21 PM
The bad news is, opening a bank account on Bonaire is a hassle and takes a long time - 1-2 months easy with US bank references, tax returns and proof of legitimate income.

As a part timer and Bonaire home owner (1-2 weeks on Bonaire every 4-5 weeks year round), I opened my bank account at Orco Bank - 100% electronic, no checks, no cash. I pay everyone on Bonaire by bank transfer including my gardener, pool company, house keeper and care taker. I shop with my Orco debit card. I can get cash from any ATM but not at the branch. I like Orco - it's small, private and not pretentious.

There is no monthly fee on my personal account and if they have a minimum deposit it's low. However, like all banks on Bonaire, many transactions have fees. When I fund the account by US wire transfer I pay them $5+. If I need to email a transfer request, we pay a $3+ fee - our Telbo Telephone bill fluctuates so it costs us $3+ a month to pay them automatically - I could wait for the bill and pay them electronically for free. Where the monthly charge is fixed, like Flamingo TV & Digicel, I set up reoccurring fixed payments for free.

It's not like banking in the US, but it works.

04-05-2018, 04:42 PM
Thanks for all the responses so far.

I was hoping that the RBC might allow seamless electronic transfers between accounts in Canada and Bonaire, like one can do between US and Canadian accounts with them and other banks like TD, Scotia, etc. But after enquiring through local branches, headquarters and even RBC Caribbean HQ in Trinidad, the only thing shared by RBC is ownership and the name....they are no more linked than any other bank it seems. Nevertheless, since none of the others are any better in that regard, it does leave them in the running. The fee tables indicate a choice of accounts with a variety of monthly fees, including the $15 one sabadeco referenced, but other lower options too. http://www.rbcroyalbank.com/caribbean/an/documents/an-bonaire-fee-and-service-charge.pdf I can see nowhere on this document any reference to fees or lack of same while paying bills on internet banking. Any RBC customers care to comment?

I sent MCB an email and have not received a reply. That combined with the customer service and internet issues being reported here are some red flags that probably should be heeded so that bank will probably be avoided, despite its network of ATMs and possibly lower fees. https://mcbbonaire.com/customer-service/info/fees-and-service-charges Here it indicates that bill payment fees are waived if done on internet banking, which is great but may not be particularly useful if the service is not reliable.

The information Chris provided on Orco sounds promising, since there is not much detail on the internet about their plans.

Any Caribe customers with anything good or bad to say?


04-05-2018, 06:09 PM
That is disappointing to hear about RBC; I've used the ATM in Bonaire without issue to get money out of my Canadian RBC accounts.

04-05-2018, 07:33 PM

Yes, I have used the RBC ATM outside the tourist office on Kaya Grandi to get cash through the Plus network painlessly. Also the MCB ATM across the street from Van den Tweel works well for getting cash from my Canadian accounts.

But what I was hoping for was a scenario like you can do if you have an account at RBC in the USA where, if you have a US Dollar account in the RBC in Canada, you can transfer funds online instantly and incur no fees. As best as I have been able to determine, you cannot do that for an RBC account in Bonaire. You must jump through the hoops of setting up a wire transfer through the SWIFT system and pay fees outbound, inbound, and possibly to a correspondent bank, then wait for it all to clear before you get access to your own money. So from that perspective, there is no advantage to using RBC than going from, say, TD in Canada to Banco di Caribe in Bonaire. But if you or anyone else can suggest an easier way, many of us would gain from it.

Thanks for for your input.


04-06-2018, 09:26 PM
That is truly disappointing to hear that the various RBC entities don't play with each other nicely. No sure if it matters when I've used RBC atm in Bonaire I've never paid fees as I have a Canadian RBC account.

04-18-2018, 08:34 PM
To update my experience so far:

Neither MCB nor RBC have responded to my emails.

Banco di Caribe did respond promptly and seemed amenable to providing an appointment when we next come to Bonaire. Their documentary requirements are similar to the other banks and their fees seem as good as any other bank. They also have internet banking. With the apparent edge on customer response, I think Caribe is probably the best choice for us. Any contrary experiences?

Maybe I should start a new thread on this related but different topic, but any experiences with contents insurance? I have contacted Ennia and they responded positively, so that might be a good route to go.


06-05-2018, 03:29 PM
We use Orco. Astrid and Tania are both incredible. They are both quick to return calls or emails.

06-05-2018, 03:53 PM
We just setup an account with MCB. We did the first contact via email from Canada. They setup an appointment for us for 2 days after we arrived on island. The account was up and working within 10 days of that first meeting, and now it has been just over 3 weeks and we have our two Bank Cards and the On-Line portion is up and running.

06-05-2018, 06:10 PM
As a another update to my experience, MCB eventually responded to my email, but we were along the path to starting an account at Banco did Caribe. Our meeting went well there and we presented all the required documents and had an account operating within 3 business days. Unfortunately, we only had a week on the island so our bank cards and internet banking "token" were not available yet when we left. We will get our bank cards when we next return and the representative at the bank promised to FedEx the token so we can do internet banking from Canada.

So, so far, no complaints about Caribe.