Barbadians Can Hold Foreign Currency Accounts Without Restriction

Author(s): Central Bank Of Barbados

Created 26 Jul, 2019
Categories General Press Release
Views: 9570

From August 2, Barbadians will be able to open foreign currency accounts without restrictions.

The Central Bank of Barbados has defined foreign currency accounts as deposit accounts offered by authorised foreign exchange dealers, such as commercial banks and some finance companies that are denominated in a currency other than the Barbadian dollar.

The Bank explained that while it is now easier for residents to hold foreign currency accounts, they will still be required to use the money in their accounts to make payments abroad before they access the local foreign exchange market. Applicants for foreign exchange must therefore disclose to their authorised dealer that they have no other foreign currency available in locally held foreign currency accounts. The Bank advised that residents who do not adhere to these stipulations could have their accounts closed. Meantime, the Bank reminds residents that they are still required to obtain its permission to hold foreign currency accounts abroad.

“Residents and non-residents qualify for foreign currency accounts once they meet the authorised dealers’ know-your-customer and anti-money laundering guidelines.  It should be an easy process,” Ian Collymore, Acting Director, Foreign Exchange and Export Credits, stated. “We must point out that residents can place all of their foreign exchange earnings or investments in these accounts. They no longer have to surrender 70 percent of such funds, as was required under the previous regime,” Collymore elaborated. In addition, foreign currency account transactions will continue to be exempt from the foreign exchange fee.

He also reminded that non-residents, including Barbadian nationals living overseas, can continue to hold foreign currency accounts, without restrictions. They can place the full amount of funds from abroad on these accounts, deposit foreign currency proceeds from the sale of assets, and use the funds in these accounts without referring to the Central Bank.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced the move to widen the scope for residents to hold foreign currency accounts as part of efforts to relax the country’s exchange controls. She also increased the allowance for personal travel from BDS$7,500 annually to BDS$20,000, and capped the foreign exchange fee at BDS$100,000.

She explained that the relaxation of the foreign exchange controls would boost the country's international competitiveness, support economic growth by channeling savings to productive enterprises, bolster investor confidence in Barbados, and remove some of the bureaucracy and impediments that hinder international business.

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