Basics of banking in Mexico



Currency & Currency Exchange in Mexico

The Mexican currency is the Mexican Peso;1 Peso is divided into 100 Mexican cents (centavos). The Peso is abbreviated with a ‘$' sign (not to be confused with US-Dollars).

To change currency in Mexico your options include banks (bancos), exchange houses (casas de cambio) or hotels. Euros, US-Dollars, Canadian Dollars and Pounds Sterling are accepted almost everywhere in Mexico. There is no charge for currency exchange at banks and exchange houses, both of which usually offer similar exchange rates. Hotels usually have less favorable rates. You may also change money at a Mexican airport where you are likely to get similar rates to the city centre.


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Opening a Bank Account in Mexico

You can open an account in Mexican Pesos or US Dollars (Dollar denominated accounts are available only to US or Canadian citizens or corporations). There are significant differences in services and fees at different banks so you will have to shop around first. In order to open a corporate account you will require articles of incorporation and power of attorney. You may open the following types of accounts:

Checking accounts at any retail bank in Mexico have limited number of free cash withdrawals at ATMs. Deposit accounts have two types:

1. "Sight" accounts which allow you to withdraw without any notice, accompanied by a debit card for withdrawal at ATM's across the world and minimal interest rates.

2. "Notice" accounts which offer better rates of interest than a "sight" account and require a notice period before withdrawal.

Investment accounts offered by major Mexican banks are ‘market accounts' which let account holders buy and sell in the international stock markets directly. These accounts usually require a higher minimum deposit, around 5000 Pesos.

Most Mexican banks offer internet banking which will save you a lot of time.

Offshore Banking in Mexico

Mexican offshore accounts come in various forms. Many of them are completely liquid, offer daily capitalization of interest and maintain very strict confidentiality of information.

Expatriates can open Dollar-denominated offshore accounts through offshore branches of Mexican banks or their affiliate banks abroad. These accounts are meant for high net worth individuals and usually require high deposits. Activities on these accounts are free of any taxes on interest, dividends, income and profits. The income from the account is of course taxable in your country of residence.

Money Transfers in Mexico

International money transfers through Mexican banks can be slow and expensive. For quick transfer of money abroad, use a transfer agency like Western Union. Money transfer agencies also charge a hefty fee for this service. You may also consider internet services like PayPal or Money Bookers to transfer money abroad.



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Banking Guide