I often have people ask, “How do you access your pensions, while living on an island?” Six years ago, the answer was bi-monthly trips to the mainland. Now, we have one ‘money machine’, or ATM on la isla. For the first four months, accessing our bank account in the USA was simple. I made daily trips to the ATM, and withdrew our limit with my VISA debit card.
Since most of Nicaragua operates on a cash only basis, I had to walk to Banco ProCredit daily because we were building a house and paying the construction workers. But, things turned ugly in January, when our bank in the USA changed their debit cards from VISA to MasterCard. The ATM only accepted VISA. We had no way to get access to our money on the island.
Living on an island presents many challenges. It requires one to be persistent, vigilant, and think outside of the box. Frantic calls to our bank in the states only increased my anxiety. Phrases such as, The Patriot Act, money laundering, and deportation scared me to death.
Our only option was to open a bank account with Banco ProCredit, travel to the mainland where the banks accepted MasterCard, withdraw as much money as we could, and haul the loot back to la isla to deposit in our new Banco ProCredit account.
Banco ProCredit gave us an ATM card. The ‘money machine’ works well…most of the time. We completed our construction, so no more daily walks to the bank. Life is challenging, but the rewards so outweigh the challenges of living on an island, in the middle of an enormous lake, in the middle of Nicaragua, in the middle of Central America.
The Money Machine
November 8, 2004
We have seen many changes in our sleepy little port town of Moyogalpa recently. The bakery has enlarged and now has two glass cases filled with bread, beautifully decorated cakes with icing that miraculously withstand the tropical heat, and personal pan sized pizza. There are two internet cafes, both competing for customers. Our regular café moved into a brightly painted room, far removed from the nuts and bolts of the hardware store, installed air conditioning, a couch and two overstuffed chairs, free coffee, and a satellite connection. Burman’s (one of my English students) mother opened the other internet café and a price war is helping to keep down the costs for our usage. more money, keep reading