Belize - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Financing
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Belize’s financial architecture allows for several method of payments for trade financing, including letters of credit, documentary collections, revolving lines of credit, international wire transfers and international credit card payment, among others. Collection agencies operate nationwide and may operate on behalf of the utility companies, town, and city councils, and for property tax collection. There are no credit rating agencies in Belize, but efforts are being made to enact legislation related to credit reporting and to establish the financial infrastructure for credit bureaus and a collateral registry. 

Non-cash payment instruments include checks, debit cards, credit cards, direct credits and mobile wallets. Three main electronic payment mechanisms are used in Belize, including the POS and ATM networks that facilitate payments by debit card and credit cards; direct credit facilities to make bulk payments such as salaries and pension; and online bill payment facilities. MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted and, to a lesser extent, American Express.

For more information about the methods of payment or other trade finance options, please read the Trade Finance Guide

Banking Systems

Generally, there are no restrictions on foreigners opening Belizean bank accounts. However, persons seeking to open a bank account must comply with Central Bank regulations, which differ based on residency status and whether the individual is seeking to establish a local bank account or a foreign currency account. Foreign banks and branches are allowed to operate in the country. All banks are subject to Central Bank measures and regulations. 

The Government of Belize has established currency controls, and foreign investors seeking to convert, transfer, or repatriate funds must comply with Central Bank of Belize (CBB) regulations. Foreign investments must be registered at the Central Bank to facilitate inflows and outflows of foreign currency. Foreign investors must register their inflow of funds to obtain an “Approved Status” for their investment and generally are approved for repatriation of funds thereafter. The Central Bank does, however, reserve the right to request evidence supporting applications for repatriation.  Effective June 2022, the CBB accepts via email all foreign exchange requests requiring approval to expedite the application process and to centralize applicants’ data. 

Since April 2022, there has been a full resumption of all payments of cash dividends and repatriation of profits to international firms.  The CBB reported that in 2022 profit remittances more than doubled to US $87 million with increased payments to foreign investors in the energy, manufacturing, and tourism industries. 

Nonperforming loans increased to 7 percent of gross loans in 2022, higher than 2021’s 5 percent and the regulatory ceiling.  This was due to the expiration of COVID-19 forbearance measures and business contractions. 

U.S. Banks and Local Correspondent Banks

Belize’s financial system comprises four domestic banks, three international banks, and ten credit unions. While all banks have correspondent banking relations, these relationships are still tenuous, with delays in transactions, and fewer services offered at higher costs. Since January 2020, both a domestic and an international bank each lost a correspondent bank. Additionally, all correspondent banking relations with Scotiabank (Belize) Limited were discontinued with the conclusion of the sale of this financial institution to Caribbean International Holdings Limited in 2021. For additional information, visit the U.S. Department of State For more information on the banking systemplease read the section Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment of the Investment Climate Statement.