Best size US bills to carry in Mexico?
Replies: 28 - Last Post: Dec 10, 2012 3:14 PM Last Post By: range41
Dec 5, 2012 9:00 AM
15Unless you are in Cancun US bills are not worth anything, in fact due to strict moneylaundering laws they are prohibited in many places. Despite press to the contrary, the Mex govt. has been active about contradicting moneylaundering, which is in effect what you are doing by not exchanging currency at an official place.
Dec 5, 2012 9:40 AM
16Unless you are in Cancun US bills are not worth anything, in fact due to strict moneylaundering laws they are prohibited in many places. @15
I believe you're repeating something which is not accurate. While there are regulations regarding the amount of US$ one can exchange in Mexico (tourists as well as Mexican business owners) and other reporting requirements, I'm unaware that use of US$ is "prohibited in many places."
The US$ I travel with, usualy a couple of hundred dollars worth, is for emergency/fall-back purposes because I keep it segregated, away from my other cards/identification, etc., and I've used it rarely.
And regarding "moneylaundering": I find your explanation of it a bit odd. If I exchange US$50 at a small business, moneychanger, in a small town in Mexico where there is no bank or with any other business anywhere in the country where the currency is accepted ... that doesn't constitute moneylaundering by me or by the person/business accepting it. Not that I'm aware of.
Dec 5, 2012 11:32 AM
17Good back up plan, LW. However, I understood that the OP was inquiring about bringing US cash as a common/prefered way to get pesos. ATMs are the way to get pesos. Cash is a good backup.
He can get pesos with credit/debit card at ATMs in Mexico airport or ATMs in major destinations. It's true that Mexican banks are leery of US dollars in big amounts, and really don't want to bother with small amounts, i.e. $20, at least in Oaxaca. The small cambios that exchange currency will handle them, but often have to run next door to their "friend's" cambio to get the needed amount. This in in Oaxaca. Dunno about other destinations.
Dec 5, 2012 4:33 PM
18Regarding ATM withdrawals, I was in Mexico last month and made withdrawals from 3 different banks, each with different fees. Bananex charged 25 pesos for withdrawal, while Bancomer BBVA charged 60 pesos, and IXE bank charged a higher fee than Banamex. These 3 banks also charged an IVA commission, in addition to the withdrawal fee. Fortunately, I used Charles Schwab Bank debit card and the withdrawal fees were reimbursed.
Dec 5, 2012 9:11 PM
19I like the idea of carrying little cash, and that in pesos. However, at least one of the places I'll be staying soon after arriving is out of town and wants payment in cash and sets their prices in dollars. So I think I'll figure on the airport having an ATM machine but also bring a little cache of dollars, a few 50's and 20's (in mint condition). Thanks everyone for the ideas! I've used a credit card at ATMs in the past, rather than a debit, and that seems to have worked all right and without much additional charge, so I hope to do that.
Dec 5, 2012 10:34 PM
Dec 5, 2012 10:49 PM
Dec 6, 2012 1:09 AM
22ATM fees are in the 18-35 peso range (I've never paid 60 pesos at a Bancomer ATM). The advantage of an ATM is that the exchange rate used is pretty near the "correct" one. So If you are withdrawing 3,500 pesos and paying 35 pesos to do so then that is still a small fee - so if you are receiving, say, 13 pesos to the dollar then you get 3,500 pesos and are charged 3,535/13 = 272 USD. Now if you wanted to get 3,500 pesos with cash in dollars at a cambio they may only give you 12.5 pesos to the dollar and would charge you 3,500/12.5 = 280 USD and so you're slightly worse off. I really don't think these differences are that significant - just use whatever method you're most comfortable with (although generally ATMs work out slightly cheaper).
Incidentally the ATM charges only came in a few years ago.
Dec 6, 2012 6:15 AM
Dec 6, 2012 6:58 AM
24In #19 I think the OP means a combination credit/debit card rather than just a credit card.
I hold a Chase MasterCard credit/debit card (can be used either way), but am careful when to use it as a credit card or as a debit card. If I were foollish enough to pull cash using the card as a credit card, I'd be hit with nasty cash-advance fees. Used as a debit card in ATMs (with your PIN #) I incur no more than the normal fees charged by a cash withdrawal against my checking account.
Dec 6, 2012 7:21 PM
Dec 10, 2012 11:59 AM
26Scotiabank charges no fees for a Canadian Scotiabank card in a Mexican Scotiabank ATM. Also gives a better tipo de cambio than HSBC which also charges 2 fees.
Dec 10, 2012 2:40 PM
Dec 10, 2012 3:14 PM
28I just returned from Southern Baja and can only echo - ATM's. Rest assured, EVERYONE in Baja Sur (especially Cabo) will happily take dollars - at a nice even exchange rate of 12 peso's to the dollar, even though the actual rate you will get from an ATM is closer to 13 right now. Stick with peso's from an ATM as much as you can.
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