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New Mexican banking regs governing US dollar conversions


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#1 Bookworm

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 09:31 PM

I just received my e-tickets for a Feb. trip to our San Bruno beach house and on the top was a new travel advisory regarding the exchange of US dollars for pesos.

A friend reported to me that she had issues changing US dollars in a Merida bank last week.

Here is the advisory I received:

 

NEW RULE FOR THE EXCHANGE OF U.S. CURRENCY IN MEXICO

.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT HAS PUT IN PLACE A NEW RULE THAT

APPLIES TO THE EXCHANGE OF U.S. DOLLARS TO MEXICAN PESOS.

THIS NEW MEASURE APPLIES TO MONEY EXCHANGED IN BANKS AND IN CURRENCY EXCHANGE

OFFICES ONLY AND DOES NOT APPLY TO WITHDRAWALS MADE FROM AUTOMATED TELLERS

(ATMs), OR TO PURCHASES AND TRANSACTIONS MADE WITH CREDIT CARDS OR DEBIT CARDS.

.

IT IS POSSIBLE THAT CERTAIN HOTELS AND/OR BUSINESSES MAY REFUSE THE PAYMENTS

MADE WITH U.S. DOLLARS IN CASH. THEREFORE, WE RECOMMEND THAT CLIENTS CARRY A

CREDIT CARD, A DEBIT CARD, AND/OR MEXICAN PESOS AND/OR CANADIAN DOLLARS.

.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONSULT THE NOTICE ISSUED BY FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND

INTERNATIONAL TRADE OF CANADA AT:

http://www.voyage.gc.ca/countries_pays/report_rapport-eng.asp?id=184000





#2 abscissa

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 01:28 PM

We've always brought MEX Pesos to mexico ... and use ATM's and Credit Card.

 

I never got why people bring US and Canadian dollars into Mexico ... when the currency is Pesos



#3 whazzoo

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 02:00 PM

Mexico has clamped down on USA / Peso conversions in order to try and control money laundering from the drug cartels. It is much easier to bring down Peso's or use an ATM, the ATM's actually offer a pretty good rate.

Whazzoo


#4 iowahawkeye

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 03:23 PM

We are in he midst of transferring funds to purchase our house. This currency exchange mess has been less that smooth. Even though we are only transferring to an account at Citibank NA NYC, we have had to provide affadavits as to the purpose of the transaction , and even then found that instructions we not honored until sometime late than the funds were debited from our account.

 

Small change you say - maybe, but even at a 1% annual rate, $100,000 for one day is MX$32 - that is more than the price of a liter of rum or 2kg of tomatos.



#5 YolistoKhaki

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 03:53 PM

Large sums of money are slow to move because they are being looked at for signs of money laundering, tax evasion, drug or weapons running, etc. For just daily living or touristy stuff, ATM cards are the way to go.

 

For most of us, this is a non-issue. Have ATM card, will do fine in Mexico. But those who are just now considering a visit or a move might not really understand that you can stand on the north side of the border, put your card into the ATM machines, and get money out in dollars - then drive across the border into Mexico, put that same card into an ATM machine, and you'll be able to get money out in pesos. Even if your bank charges you a fee, it won't be as much as a money changer's fee and you sure won't be stuck with the 10:1 rate of paying with dollars in Mexico.

 



#6 Bookworm

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 06:35 PM

Whazz and Khaki --- that was my take, too. Done as a pre-emptive strike on money laundering and other crime operations/

Will be interesting to see how it affects the restos and street vendors in Progreso who charge US dollars for their wares on cruise ship day . . .  



#7 Dave_in_Ont

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 06:47 PM

I don't know how the vendors and restaraunt/bars handle the US dollars for sure.

 

But from what I understand a person/business (national or ex-pat) that has a local bank account can deposit US dollars into their account, with a fairly low daily limit. I am thinking maybe $300/day max?

 

I might be wrong but I believe that the rules are changing all the time and that the complete shut-down has been eased in the last few months.

 

We still do as others have mentioned, bring pesos with and use ATM after that.

 

According to a couple we met last week, travellers checks are still VERY difficult to cash.



#8 whazzoo

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 07:01 PM

I don't know how the vendors and restaraunt/bars handle the US dollars for sure.

 

But from what I understand a person/business (national or ex-pat) that has a local bank account can deposit US dollars into their account, with a fairly low daily limit. I am thinking maybe $300/day max?

 

I might be wrong but I believe that the rules are changing all the time and that the complete shut-down has been eased in the last few months.

 

We still do as others have mentioned, bring pesos with and use ATM after that.

 

According to a couple we met last week, travellers checks are still VERY difficult to cash.


Dave makes some good points, but i thought I should mention 2 other things.

1) Let your banks fraud department know you are going to be in Mexico
2) Make sure you have a spare ATM card or card from different bank.

You won't believe how complicated things can get if the machine swallows your only card or you put the ATM card in the dollar slot at an airport parking machine by mistake. :sad:

Whazzoo


#9 Dave_in_Ont

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 07:40 PM

Whazzoo..Thanks for reminding me ...

 

In Progreso, the Banamex ATM's at the branch are the kind that don't swallow the card. Shove it in and it says "pull it out", the card never leaves your fingers.

 

Kinda reassuring.



#10 iowahawkeye

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 08:24 PM

I hate bank fees! They are nothing but permissable theft, especially those fees chrarged by one's NOB bank. I never pay fees NOB! That said there are the realities of life and my disinterest in walking around Progreso with MX$60,000 in my pocket on any given day.

 

This will be one of the biggest adjustments I will need to make to make to my psyche on moving to the Yucatan. NOB I use credit cards for almost everything: the utilities, gasoline, groceries, liquor, restaurants, etc. I pay the bill at the end of the month and there are no fees to me. In the US, it is technically illegal to charge one price to cc customers and another to cash customers, but some small businesses "see th light" and I will use that edge. The credit cards give me a rebate - small change, but a savings account of sorts.

 

All of that said, my US banking relationship limited me to USD$300 per day from an ATM.  I made a credit card transaction and an ATM wthdrawal on the same day. I received MX$3,000 for a debit of USD$248.78 plus a USD$5 transaction fee; on that same day I purchased, using my AMEX card, our beloved hard salami for MX$172.71 at Costco and  the US bill shows a total of $14.42 (price + fee).

 

When one does the arithmetic, the cash transaction was net MX$11.82:USD$1 while the credit card transaction wa MX$11.97:USD$1.

 

This crap is going to occupy my life - starting with finding banks with branches in both the US and Mexico. There was a MX$15 premium on a USD$254 transaction. That's 2kg of tomatoes, 7kg of juice oranges, a whole serving of grouper, a bottle of Sol, an autobus trip from Progreso to Merida...

 

The premium becomes greater if you do not take th maximum amount from you account on each transaction. Credit card transaction costs are a fixed ratio (still unconscionable, but...)

 

Sorry to rant - some of my typos ar related to the fact I've spilled a bunch of stuff on this keyboard and th keys do not all work the way they were supposed to - Others are operator error!



#11 Dave_in_Ont

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 09:35 PM

LOL Hawkeye...I can relate to the costs when they are converted into cerveza costs!!! I am, after all, a "frugal" Canuck.

 

But in reality, we don't find a $5.00 bank charge too big a price to pay for being able to get 6000 pesos/$500(appx) from an ATM machine here.

 

You want to experience REAL expenses?? Try filling up an SUV every two weeks. THAT is about 500 pesos!!! Think how many cervezas that will buy!!! Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor 



#12 iowahawkeye

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 10:06 PM

That's USD$5, MX$60, the price of breakfast and coffee at Tacomaya for the pivelege of using your own money!

 

The bank has your money hostage and is putting he lumber to you!

 



#13 iowahawkeye

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 10:18 PM

Dave, I don't know if you play poker, but I have. One of the places I played at took a $2 drag and require the purchase of a new deck of card every 10th hand. The reality is that there was but $725 left in the game after 90 minutes.  Thee was one winner!

 

MX$6000 is about US$480 - a US $5 transaction fee means you get $475. Half a bucket at Buddies!



#14 Dave_in_Ont

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 10:39 PM

True on the 60 peso thing Hawkeye...It does buy a very nice breakfast at TacoMaya or Las Garazas! Or a few cervezas at a cervefrio too.

 

Like I said, I am a frugal Canuck...But really....I don't mind the $5 charge for the convenience of getting pesos from an ATM machine.

 

No, I am not a poker player. I tried to be in my younger years and decided that "giving away my money" was kinda silly!!! I was not good at gambling so I gave up on that.

 

I know of a couple of places to play poker and I know of a couple of "investment" schemes too. I don't participate. I spent too many years "earning" my retirement income..Ain't gonna give it away..I am happy to eat, drink and smoke it away!!!



#15 CasiYucateco

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 10:45 PM

hawkeye,

If I understand your math, the main issue was caused by the $5 fee switching the benefit toward AMEX over ATM.

It is possible to find a bank or credit union that doesn't charge a fee bank for an out-of-network ATM use and that refunds the first 'x' (say, three) charges from the out-of-network ATM as well.  That cuts out the $5 fee.

Use a credit card -- if the fee structure remains the same over time -- for major or CostCo type purchases and pay electronically from the USA funds.  Withdraw MxPesos from the ATM for miscellaneous daily expenses.

Or establish accounts in the USA and Mexico and transfer money back and/or forth as you wish. Withdraw from the Mexican bank when you wish. Cope with the exchange rates and fees imposed by both banks.

A $5 fee on a $250 withdrawal is 2%.  That's a fifth of the sales tax in many US locations. Not so much, compared to the enormous gain we've made in the property tax situation in Mexico. 

For a more than double-the-square-footage house in Merida, my MX property taxes are only 1% of my property taxes on a little place in the USA.  That difference covers a $5 ATM fee every single day with thousands $$USA$$ left over.

The thing about living in Mexico is that it sometimes becomes too easy to begin believing that every single last interaction should end in our favor. Mexico couldn't afford to keep us here if that were true.

Every now and then, the house has to win a few or the casino closes.  Give and take.  Count the property tax (and many other) blessings and forget small fees here and there. Just one approach. 



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Posted 13 January 2011 - 02:31 AM

I have a German bank account (DKB) which includes a free Maestro Card and a free Visa card. The bank account is totally free, transactions within Germany are free and I get good interests both on the money on the bank account as well as on the money on the Visa card (I have to transfer the money from the bank account to the credit card, but I have a credit line on both). Getting money from any ATM anywhere in the world is free of fees charged by my bank. I only have to pay the fee charged by the bank of the ATM machine. This is only some pesos in Mexico depending on the ATM.

Don't you have similar offers in the US?

#17 siotha

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 03:03 AM

At least you dont have to go blindly to the teller and ask for money in small bills, in broken Spanish. Instead, we simply went to an in network ATM, and paid minimal fees (usually a currency conversion fee), and learned how to manage money based on the maximum transaction. It seems to me, that different ATMs had different limits on how much you could withdrawl. Where some would be $5,000, or $6,000, but then some would allow you to type in higher amounts... never tried anything higher... It was so affordable for us, we didnt have to go to the bank very often.


My biggest shock was my first bank statement before I'd learned visa is expensive compared to cash transactions. Now I have learned to haggle for a better price, and ask if I get a better price by paying cash in the states. Kind of a nice thing to re-learn how to do.

#18 CasiYucateco

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 03:06 AM

woetzech -- many credit unions and some local, smaller banks offer such deals. People who hunt around can find accounts almost as good as yours, but there is a vast difference between how US banks treat their customers and those of other nations. Although Mexico is up there pretty close to the USA. I've seen some incredibly rude treatment of actual deposit holding customers in Merida.

Ever since banking deregulation, the monster "too-big-to-fail" US banks have cranked up the fees on everything. They find ways to charge for every little thing and really don't care if you don't like it.

Credit unions and small local banks are the only way to go, if you want to avoid the "gotcha fees" of the major banks.
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#19 YolistoKhaki

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 03:36 AM

I agree, Casi. My small local bank manager is about 10 years younger than I am, lives in my neighborhood, shops at my grocery store, and is probably the only person who knows when and how long I will be in Yucatan at any one time. She isn't going to move or retire for more years than I will need her to be there. AND, she is ready, at the drop of a hat, to FedEx me a new card if or when I need one. She can even write checks on my account to pay periodic bills while I am gone. All at no extra charge... In fact, none of their charges have ever amounted to enough to say grace over, especially now that I get all the cool perks for being "elderly" (LOL). So - yes - small local banks are very much the way to go.

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 10:21 AM

Canadian Dollars in Mexico? DO NOT bring that multicolored money with the queen on it to Mexico. It is harder to get rid of (ie exchange) than a defunct drachma. That applies to travelers checks as well (does anyone use those anymore?)

And Canadian renters: don't be stingy MoFos when tipping your rental home's workers. I had one caretaker ask me what she could do with the coins some Canadians had left her as 'tips'. They might have left her bottle caps, that's how useless they are here. I exchanged her coinage as I was heading up north at some point and she had about 30 dollars in Canadian change in a little plastic bag.

God Save the Queen.




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