Using Starling in Saint Lucia 🇱🇨


#1

Currency
Official Currency: East Caribbean Dollars (XCD)
Current Exchange Rate: https://www.xe.com/currency/xcd-east-caribbean-dollar

Currency was one of the big question marks when booking to go to Saint Lucia, many posts on TripAdvisor advised USD whilst others suggested XCD. However, from experience it seems that resorts tend to use USD, whilst local stores/markets etc. use XCD. Fortunately, with the Starling card this isn’t such an issue when paying with plastic.

All ATMs I have come across dispense XCD only.

Using your Starling Card In-store
Some of the bigger stores have card machines and accept the usual mix of VISA and Mastercard. Personally I haven’t attempted using the card in-store, mainly because we’re all inclusive and haven’t really needed to but cash appears to be much more popular with the locals.

Our resort preferred card payment. However, it may be worth checking in advance, especially if you’ll need some USD in cash form.

Using ATMs
Usage of the ATMs varied. Out of the 5 attempts at using the ATM I had 2 declined services and 3 successful.

All 3 successful uses were at ATMs located within bank branches and varied in amount from EC$50 (approx. £14) to EC$500 (approx. £140).

The 2 unsuccessful attempt were at the airport and within a Massy’s Store. Although the receptionist at our hotel did say the Massy’s Store wouldn’t work, I still had to try.

ATM Charges: Between EC$10 (approx. £2.75) and EC$15 (approx. £4.20). The in-branch ATM at Bank of Saint Lucia on Bridge Street in Castries was Free of Charge.

We showed up at the airport without any currency, of any sort, (clearly a silly mistake), so when the ATM at the airport didn’t work this left us a little nervous. The taxi driver was more than happy to stop at a bank on the way to our destination but I would advise that you have enough cash on arrival to pay for the taxi.

Using the ATM is easy as English is the main spoken language in Saint Lucia. The machines give you the option of “Checking Account”, “Savings Account” and “Credit Card” when starting your transaction. Each time I selected “Checking Account” which seemed to work fine.

Based on this posts feedback from @CanadianSpruce and @MIROW, I tried both ATM’s again that failed but instead of selecting “Checking Account” I selected “Credit Card”. On both occasions I was able to withdrawn from my Starling account. So if you’re having trouble try using the “Credit Card” option as suggested below.

Saint Lucia ATMs
Most ATMs are located within 24 hour vestibules (similar to the one Chandler got stuck in). Some are located in branch or within stores, so you may need to check for any opening times. During my visit I used ATMS at; 1st National Bank, Bank of Saint Lucia and CIBC. CIBC was the only one that asked if I’d prefer the transaction to be in GBP or XCD (I chose XCD, ATM exchange rates = :see_no_evil:). Curiously the CIBC ATM also gave me the usage charge in USD which was odd. Just make sure you read everything as you’re using the machines. Below is a list of banks with ATMs.

1st National Bank
The website for 1st National Bank isn’t particularly helpful.
From what I have found I believe there are a total of 4 branches.
Locations: http://1stnationalbankonline.com/home/1stbranchlocator.html (Website Currently Not Working)

Bank of Saint Lucia
Number of ATMs: 27 (13 located within BoSL branches)
Locations: https://www.bankofsaintlucia.com/find-atm

CIBC (First Caribbean Bank)
Number of ATMs: 7 (6 located within CIBC branches)
Locations: https://www.cibc.com/fcib/about-us/locations/st-lucia.html

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
Number of ATMs: 3 (2 located within RBC branches)
Locations: https://caribbean.rbcroyalbank.com/#/locator

Scotiabank
Number of ATMs: 9 (8 located within Scotiabank Branches)
Locations: http://www.scotiabank.com/lc/en/0,,5789,00.html

Updated: 04/06/2018
Edit 1, 2 & 3: Grammar :sweat_smile:
Edit 4: Included some extra information based on feedback.


#2

Awesome trip report. Hope you were able to spend sometime on the beach in between hunting for the best place to use your Starling card :wink:

That’s exactly what you’ll need to do. Cheque accounts are the same as current account


#3

@LoganAllan There is a bit of an exception to this in some countries. For example, in Canada on many ATMs if you press chequing with Starling, it will decline as the Chequing button really means use the local Interac Debit network, whereas Credit really just means Visa/MasterCard/Amex etc. The same also applies to many countries terminals where you should say/press credit and not debit when paying.


#4

I was always under the impression you pressed Credit not Debit in US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Credit being the international networks run by the Credit card schemes MasterCard, Visa, etc. Debit being the domestic network for local debit cards, think the POS equivalent of our Link ATM network.


#5

@MIROW Yes that’s right, outside of the EU, you should always say credit.


#6

The reality is with some ATM terminals on some ATM networks pressing the wrong button will result in an error or decline due to the local network not falling back to the international network for processing, however on others it will be smart enough to realise it needs to hand processing off to the other network and will break out of the national network across to the international one.

It should also be noted it is not just on ATM you get a choice between Checking/Debit (i.e. domestic) and Savings/Credit (i.e. international) but also on some foreign POS networks/models.


#7

Does Canada provide the 3 options as well?

I know that in Aus and NZ selecting Savings causes the transaction to decline and an ugly ‘Contact your card issuer’ message to appear. Selecting Cheque and Credit allow the transaction to go through normally.


#8

@LoganAllan

It’s kind of two options and then another 3 options if you debit is selected.

I.e. First you press credit or debit, if you press credit it’ll just go through. If you press debit it will then ask Chequing, Savings or Credit (With the latter credit mean use a line of credit, not a credit card). Unlike in the US, Canadian debit cards only support the Debit card network (you can’t run it as credit), whereas in the US you can choose if you want to run it over PIN debit or the credit card networks using a signature.


#9

Wowzers. Guess my first trip to Canada will be easy seeing as I know to not select Cheque or Savings. Select Credit and nothing else when in North America :+1:t3:


#10

Added some extra information based on feedback from @CanadianSpruce and @MIROW.


#11

It wasn’t to bad :wink: