It may be helpful to open a local bank account when you are in Grenada. Sending Financial Aid checks securely back to a home bank can be expensive; opening a local account may simplify a “savings account” with an ATM card. Checking accounts are only available after a savings account has been open for six months.
There are many banks in Grenada; hours vary from bank to bank, but are roughly 8:00 am to 2:00 pm, Monday through Thursday, with extra hours on Friday afternoons. Banks are closed Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. RBTT and the Republic Bank have ATMs in St. George’s and at Grand Anse.
The main banks in Grenada are:
Be aware that these banks operate independently of banks of the same names in other countries. There is an RBTT branch with an ATM on campus. Hours vary from bank to bank, but the RBTT branch on campus is open from 8:00 am to 2:30 pm Monday through Thursday, and 8:00 am to 3:30 pm on Friday (lunch break is from 10:50 am to 11:50 am, Monday through Friday). All local banks are closed on the weekends. Extended hours are available during orientation.
Setting up an Account
A bank account can be set up with cash, a bank draft or travelers checks, and a debit card from home can be used to transfer money into your Grenadian bank account. RBTT advises the safest way to start a savings account is with a bank draft. The bank draft is considered more secure than travelers checks (which can only be cashed to a maximum of $2999). A debit card can be issued at the bank on campus. Two forms of ID and your acceptance letter are required to set up the account.
Depending upon country of origin, students may encounter difficulty with having funds for living expenses wired to their bank in Grenada. An alternative would be to make an "overpayment" to their SGU student account and receive a check through the University for the credit balance. The student must inform Student Finances when they make the overpayment so they can be instructed on how to pick up their refund check.
When purchasing items in Grenada, prices are quoted in the Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar, but ask if you are unsure. The EC dollar is tied to the US dollar at US $1 = EC $2.69. A convenient rule of thumb approximation is to multiply the cost of an item by .4 to arrive at US dollars (for example, EC $5 x .4 = approximately US $2).
The approximate rate of exchange for the British pound sterling has been GBP £1 = EC $4.21. A convenient rule of thumb approximation is to multiply the cost of the item by .24 to arrive at British pounds sterling (for example, EC $5 x .24 = approximately GBP £1.20).
*All exchange rates are subject to change. Above rates are as of December 2010.
Most students will need a minimum of US $2,500-3,000 for food and miscellaneous expenses per term. You will need more if you plan to live off-campus or rent or purchase a car. There are several ways to bring money to Grenada, each with distinct advantages and disadvantages.
The following is some information to help you determine your best option:
ATM Card: ATM cards from home can be used at local banks to withdraw up to EC $1,000 per day. The bank will automatically convert funds from your account into Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollars. In other words, you cannot get foreign currency out of a Grenadian ATM. Local banks do not assess a fee for out-of-network ATM withdrawals. The only fee this transaction will incur is the fee your financial institution charges for out-of-network withdrawals.
Debit Cards (Visa/MasterCard): Debit cards are accepted at all banks in Grenada, but may not be an option for payment at retail establishments, such as the grocery store. A bank can provide an ATM cash advance from your debit card, and the cash is deducted directly from your checking account balance. There is a US $2 fee per transaction for cash advances. There is also a maximum cash advance of EC $2,000–3,000 depending on the local bank you use.
Traveler’s Checks: Traveler’s checks have a good rate of exchange; however, you will be charged EC $5.10 per check to cash them at a local bank and they can take as long to process as a personal check, which is six weeks. Traveler’s checks are accepted at a few retail locations in Grenada (for example, the grocery store); however, they cannot be used within the airport to pay duties.
Credit Cards (Visa/MasterCard): Credit cards are accepted at most restaurants and a limited number of retail locations in Grenada. Most local grocery stores will accept credit cards, but for campus dining, gas, going to the movies, and so forth, only cash will be accepted. Using a credit card for a cash advance usually incurs a steep fee (2% or US $20, whichever is greater).
Cash: Most establishments in Grenada accept payment in US dollars, with change provided in EC dollars.
Personal Checks: Do not count on writing yourself a check for funds in Grenada. Local banks will only cash out-of-country checks after first holding them for six to eight weeks. Leave your personal checkbook at home. As an alternative, local banks will accept bank checks, certified checks, or cashier checks. This may be a convenient way for students to transfer money from their home bank to a local account in Grenada. These checks must be certified by the Chancellery on campus before the local banks will accept them; however, once this has occurred the money is immediately available.
Checks such as traveler’s checks, bank drafts, money orders, and certified checks should be brought to the Chancellery Reception Desk for endorsement between the hours of 9:00 am and 10:00 am. Collection should be made between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm. These hours are in place to facilitate a same-day service and failure to comply may result in delay. Please note that the University cannot guarantee personal checks.