Best way to exchange money (AUD) in Mexico
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Feb 28, 2013 10:34 AM Last Post By: bjornaigen
Nov 25, 2012 10:13 PM
Best way to exchange money (AUD) in MexicoGreetings,
We are an Aussie couple traveling through Mexico DF, Morelia, Merida, Tulum and Playa del Carmen this December. We're trying to work out which of the following works best:
1. use our Australian debit cards (Visa) at ATMs throughout; hit with transaction fees as we withdraw
2. carry AUD in cash and exchange them as we go; this may not be as safe in Mexico
3. load up a travelers card with USD and use this at ATMs throughout; this incurs a double conversion hit
Nov 25, 2012 10:45 PM
1I would recommend option 1. Charges for a UK card are around 3%-5% and I presume that will be about the same for yours. However the exchange rate you get will be very close to the "correct" mid-point rate.
Option 2 may be frustrating as you may find it hard to find places to exchange Australian dollars. It should be OK in tourist resort areas but not so easy inland. Although you won't be charged a separate fee the banks make their money on the exchange rate they use and this will be at least 5%.
Option 3 has no advantages over option 1 and, as you say, you will incur twice the fees.
Nov 25, 2012 11:27 PM
2Make sure you notify your bank/credit card company before you depart Oz that you will be using the card in Mexico and any other countries along the way. Otherwise you may find any attempts to use either will be 'declined' and you will be making very expensive long distance calls to rectify the situation.
Bien viaje !
Nov 26, 2012 5:27 AM
3Option #1 without question. Echanging cash in Mexico is difficult and has become more so i nthe last year or so. Traveller's cheques are almost as bad and I don't know of any business. large or small, that accepts them.
Take the hit on fees at the ATM. Reduce your costs by withdrawing the maximum amount.
Nov 26, 2012 6:41 AM
Nov 26, 2012 7:13 AM
5The charge for taking out pesos is the same whether you take 100 pesos or 10,000 pesos. Always take the maximum amount.
BTW: I don't know why people always whine about a fee? The fee is about $ 5.00 (29 pesos plus your own bank fee) and if $5.00 breaks you, maybe you should not be traveling anywhere!
Nov 26, 2012 7:54 AM
6A few related comments:
Some banks do not charge fees for ATM withdrawals, check to see if your bank is one of them or has an agreement with another bank that doesn't charge. For example, here in Canada Scotiabank users do not get charged fees when they visit Mexico and use Scotiabank (or Santander) ATM.
Check with your bank to see if they have a toll-free number you can use, and if it will work in Mexico (my bank does have toll-free numbers, but I learned the hard way that they don't work in Mexico). In any event, the telephone carriers in Mexico have responded, and many phone booths are plastered with the three digit code (I forget it just now) that you can use to get an English long-distance operator, so you can call your bank collect.
Don't take out too much, even a dollar more than the maximum amount you're allowed may mean that the bank blocks all transactions!
Nov 26, 2012 8:48 AM
7The debit card is the best option -- Visa is widely accepted. I only use ATMs at banks (less risk of skimming).
If you bring cash, I'd bring USD rather than AUD. USD can be exchanged at money changers (I haven't had any success at exchanging them at a bank). It might be possibe to exchange AUD at Cancun & Playa, but difficult anywhere else.
I haven't used a "travelers card", but I still carry a few travellers cheques (they're not obsolete and can still be used in Mexico), and they have come in handy when ATMs are not available. I cash them only at banks.
Nov 26, 2012 10:30 AM
8Just a quick note on the whole ATM thing. There are lots of charges possible - some of them not very obvious. First, there are the fees your own bank may charge for using foreign ATMs, or at least ATMs not related to your bank. Then there is exchange rate - changing your native currency into pesos. Some banks trade at near par, some include a small percentage for themselves as part of the exchange rate. Then there are fees charged by the owner of the ATM you are using. These are most often found in ATMs located in stores or retail locations.
All in all, for the average traveller, you don't spend enough money to worry much about all these fees and ATMs are still the most secure and easy way to access cash in Mexico - BUT - there are some rural locations that are on a cash economy only. So, if you plan to travel to small villages in the outback, bring cash as you may not find ATMs, banks, or anyone that will accept credit cards.
Nov 26, 2012 11:14 AM
Nov 30, 2012 12:50 PM
Feb 15, 2013 7:39 PM
11Hi. I am currently in Mazatlan, Mexico and understand all the above methods of obtaining money in Mexico (cash, temporary ATM card, credit/debit card, TCs etc). Thanks for the helpful informaiton.
I understand the following:
- Euro, USD, CAD are easily exchanged here with good rates.
- the banks give better rates than the exchange booths, casa de cambios
I have USD and a VISA debit card but also some AUD notes that I want to exchange.
Q. Has anybody exchanged AUD cash notes in Mexico?
Where did you do it and what was the rate?
If you didn't exchange it but KNOW of a place that exchanges AUD cash, where did you see it?
Feb 28, 2013 10:34 AM
12Banamex, Bancomer, Banorte, Banregio, Scotia, Azteca, HBSC don't have AUD on their computer system and the staff don't know anything about changing AUD. I called Banamex customer support and even they couldn't help. VISA customer service in the USA said you cannot change it.
(4 star Hotel)
From US$255.15 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$169.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$179.00 per night