Consumer Affairs

Sneek Decries High Costs of Money Transfers

Oranjestad, St. Eustatius- Coucilman Koos Sneek in Thursday’s Island Council meeting on St. Eustatius decried the extremely high costs of bank transfers for payments outside of St. Eustatius and outside of banks in the MCB Group.

“Recently I made a payment to the US for an amount of about 35 dollars. What I paid in total transfer costs, is more than the amount I needed to pay” said Sneek.

Sneek also noted that especially payments that have to be made outside the Maduro & Curielsbank/WIB group are disproportionately expensive.

No alternatives

Since 10/10/10 in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, there are no alternatives to making payments through bank accounts and SWIFT transfers. In the past, on most islands, payments could also be sent by means of MoneyGram, -available at the post office and MCB/WIB itself- and Western Union franchises.

As the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) seems to have issues with this type of transfer service due to the high risk of money laundering, the offering of alternate payment services have been either strongly discouraged, or outright forbidden.


MoneyGram and Western Union have the reputation of being expensive. Mostly they levy a fee of 10% of the amount to be transferred, with a minimum of 5 dollars. In practice however, especially smaller payments made through especially the Windward Island Bank can end up costing up to 100% of the payment made.

Yesterday the Island Council of St. Eustatius adopted a motion, urging the Government of the island to start delibirations with the Kingdom Government to look for better alternatives to the banking needs of residents.

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