Banks in Guam: A Short Guide to Banking Services on the Island

by Josh Biggs in Finance on 30th March 2020

For an island territory that’s smaller than most mainland metropolitan areas and with a population of only around 170,000 residents, Guam has a much more robust and vibrant banking sector than one might expect. Guam not only has a thriving local economy that’s largely based on tourism, but it is also a regional hub for investors from all over the Asia-Pacific. 

This means that compared to the rest of Micronesia, Guam’s banking sector is much more mature and developed. Electronic banking has been the norm on the island for decades, and it has some of the most business-friendly policies anywhere in the US. It is also much more cosmopolitan than most major American cities, which has made certain types of financial services more available here than they are in the US mainland.

Here’s a quick overview of what to expect from the many available banks in Guam.

What Banking Services Can I Get in Guam?

The banks in Guam offer all the services you may expect from a bank anywhere else in continental USA. Savings and checking accounts, as well as loans of almost all kinds are offered by all banks on the island.

Additional banking services you might find include safe deposit boxes, online credit card access, electronic banking, wire transfers, debit card services, traveler’s checks, cashier’s checks, reorder checks, automatic bills payment, ready reserve or overdraft protection, interbank account transfers, account balance targeting, and many more. Investment banking services are available in most of the local banks as well.

FOREX services

Banks on Guam also provide a valuable foreign currency exchange service for visitors and locals. While American dollars are used on Guam, most of the visitors to the US territory don’t come from the US mainland. Rather, the bulk of visitors come from Japan, Korea, the Philippines, China, and Australia. It also receives a fair number of visitors from Pacific states that use the Australian dollar as well. 

Thus Japanese yen, Korean won, Hong Kong dollars, Philippine pesos, and Australian dollars are readily convertible to American dollars and vice-versa. Other currencies that are popular elsewhere in the world may not always be accepted for exchange.

Banks in Guam

Several local and foreign banks are present in Guam. The biggest in terms of the number of available branches is the Bank of Guam. With 15 listed branches as of writing, it is the most widespread local bank in the small island territory. The next bank with the most branches is Coast 360 Federal Credit Union, with three locations.

Here are the banks available in Guam as of writing:

  • Bank of Guam 
  • Coast 360 Federal Credit Union 
  • Bankpacific
  • First Commercial Bank
  • Pacific Islands Development Bank
  • Philippine National Bank
  • First Hawaiian
  • Community First
  • BDO
  • PenFed Credit Union
  • ANZ Bank (formerly Citizen’s Security)

Some banks allow a way to transfer funds from your account in a different bank. Of course, there will normally be fees for this kind of service.

ATMs in Guam

ATMs are very easy to find all over in Guam, with hundreds of them in malls, main shopping districts, schools, the airport, and even some unexpected parts of the island. These machines disburse American dollars. In most cases, they will be in $20 denominations. Cirrus, Plus, and Star cards are universally accepted.

In the extremely unlikely event you do find an ATM that doesn’t accept your card, you’re likely to find one that does just a short walk away. However, be sure to take note of any transaction fees for using an ATM that isn’t from your bank. While the fees can be quite modest, they can add up, even during a short business trip, making it important to maximize each trip to the ATM as much as possible.

Bank Holidays in Guam

Life tends to move at a much slower pace in Guam than it does in the mainland US. In addition to being closed during the weekends, banks also tend to close during holidays. This is worth noting if you plan to visit Guam during certain times of the year.

Below are holidays in Guam when the banks are normally closed. Note that not all banks will necessarily be closed on these days. It’s best to contact your bank ahead of time to ask if they will be open during any upcoming holidays while you’re in Guam.

  • January 1: New Year’s Day
  • Third Monday of January: Martin Luther King Day
  • March 2: Guam History and Chamorro Heritage Day
  • Third Monday of February: President’s Day
  • Last Monday of May: Memorial Day
  • July 4: Independence Day
  • July 21: Liberation Day (Guam)
  • First Monday of September: Labor Day
  • October 12: Columbus Day
  • November 2: All Soul’s Day
  • November 11: Veteran’s Day 
  • Last Thursday of November: Thanksgiving 
  • December 8: Santa Marian Kamalen Day (Guam)
  • December 25: Christmas Day

Guam’s favorable business climate and unique natural and cultural heritage make it a place that everyone should visit. If nothing else, they can be sure that the territory’s excellent banking services and top-notch financial infrastructure won’t be a problem.

Do you live in Guam? Do you travel here for business? What are your experiences with local banks? We’d love to hear from you!

Categories: Finance