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As a result of a recent series of posts on Don Ray Williams' Chiriqui Chatter, I have had contact with a Panamanian "in the loop" on ATM machines in Panama. I would appreciate, to share with him, problems any of you may  have encountered, particularly those where you receive no money but nonetheless have your account debited. It is important to know whether your unsuccessful withdrawal was from a Panamanian bank or from an offshore bank and what you had to do to recover your money. It is my understanding thus far that Telerid, the company that controls the software and management of ATMs, are working to resolve problems. But they need more information about exactly what the problems are and how they currently are being resolved (or not). Your input is invited.

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I tried twice to take money out of the multi-bank in Boquete and both times received an error. So walked down to Banco General and tried to take money out but receive an insufficient funds notice. When I got home I found out that both times at multi-bank that even though I'd received an error it had debited the money from my account. I called my bank and they told me these problems usually clear themselves overnight when the ATMs are processed -- mine didn't and called the bank the next day and they immediately credited my money back and I guess notified multi-bank.

Same machine - Mulitbank ATM in Boqute.   It debited my account and the machine gave no cash.   Had to contact my bank in the US.  Took them two weeks to credit my account "temporarily" and another three weeks before they sent me an email saying the case was resolved and closed.   I have heard of others having problems at that particular ATM, so now I use the one at Banco General.

I read sometime back where this problem (account debited and no money) was attributed to communications issues with state side accounts due too older telephone modems used by many ATM's.  I do not recall the sequence of operations that take place but it was suggested as the reason that local local ATM machines have the money dispensing sensor bypassed.  Personally I think some form of skimming scam in this food chain is more likely simply because of the prevalence of the problem.



PS I'd love to see a poll on how many times this has happened to folks (put me down for 3) and if the money was credited, by whom and how long it took.

Simple solution to this problem..Don't use plastic....Very simple.....

Plastic isn't an issue and is much safer than keeping lots of money on hand running the risk of being stolen or lost. Plastic is also much more convenient than having to go to a local bank to pull money out by waiting in line (which isn't an option for me since I don't have a local bank account and don't see the need to open one up). I withdraw enough money out as needed based on my anticipated spending over the next 4 to 7 days so never have very much on my -- ATM fees are reimbursed by my bank so it doesn't cost me.

As I said above when the money was debited from my account but I didn't receive the cash from the ATM the money and fees charged were back in my account the next day -- no issues, no problem.

And how will you feel in maybe 25 years or so when all you folks who insist that plastic is better wake up one morning and find out there is no more paper currency and your friends in the IRS have complete control of your plastic account.  It is so simple.  Write a check on your US bank and go to your  local bank and take out the cash you need  for your week or for larger purchases write a local check.  Its called making Panama "Home" so take advantage all Panama has to offer including secure banking.  If your going to live here cut the cord .....

Good idea, of course, and one I'm probably going to implement it unless and until Telered solves this problem. It takes three weeks for a U.S. check written to my Panamanian bank to clear, but that can be overcome by planning ahead. If I then use the ATM at my Panamanian bank, an added benefit is there will be no ATM fees at all. Being without an ATM card altogether, though, doesn't appeal because are times you need money when you're not near the bank or when the bank is closed.

Having a Panamanian bank account is not an option for tourists, however. And there are retirees who don't have sufficient cash reserves to transfer a chunk of money or withstand the time it takes a check to clear. I'm of the view that this situation of having your money taken without reasonable recourse is an outrage, particularly given the institution of the ATM charge.

Bonnie and others we use Global and do not have a checking account, only savings.

Most of my ATM withdrawals are on my US account (credit Union) No problems what so ever with ATM  in fact transaction made at Global ATM 4 hr ago has already cleared my US account.  I here many are conplaining of the same two banks here.




Although Multibank appears to be the prime culprit here, the Chiriqui Chatter thread indicates it's a much more widespread problem. See

One of the times this happened to me - it was with my clave, from HSBC, so its not just overseas banks.


Carrying money around and writing checks is not convenient for me.

also, nwere cards have 'risks' built in..

received this today.


 BAD News on electronic pickpocketing!

If you know about this already you are in fat city. If you dont then pay attention!!

This is R E A L!!!  It happens.


 Here are the links in case the embeded dont work.


(the video news URL)


(where to buy protectors)

I bought one of these protectors when I went to Spain last year as I had read that electronic pickpocketing is particularly prevalent in Barcelona. I don't use it here in Panama, but perhaps I should.


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