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Jim Bowie

Credit Card Use at Lakeside

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Does anyone use credit cards from NOB to make major purchases here (like 300 pesos or more)? I have recently been hearing that they are much safer to use than debit cards, and the exchange rate is "the actual" exchange rate, nothing taken out like when you use an ATM. Also, people are telling me that they get the 1%, 2%, 5% rebates for purchases on their accounts. Anyone with direct knowledge of use here? I always thought using CC was not wise, but now I am beginning to wonder. Any direct knowledge is appreciated. TIA.

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It is not wise to use either card for routine purchases. Most folks use a debit card to obtain cash from an ATM and keep their credit and debit cards out of the hands, and sight of others. You are not in Kansas any more. On top of that, there are instances where using a credit card will cost you more than using cash.

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I have been using them for many years here and in Guad..The exchange rate is typically the spot rate for that day and time..My CC company charges a 1% foreign transaction fee but it is rebated at the end of the year plus some other credited amount based on the total annual charges. In over 20+ years I have used my CC,my card was compromised, skimmed, a little over a week ago here in Chapala..The CC company called me here to tell me that there was some unusual activity on my account, I checked my account online and there had been 4 identical $505.95 charges made at a Tom Thumb store in Texas...never been to that town..all the bogus charges were removed ,The CC was canceled and a new card Fed Ex'd to me in 3 days..Another good feature is that when I charge anything here or anywhere the charge shows up on my online account almost immediately..Easy to keep up with activity....My belief is that my card was skimmed at on of the fish restaurants on the Malecon in Chapala as I had not used it for several days prior to that and that was one of the few times it was out of my sight when they took the card to run the card through...The name of the place begins with a C. Will eat there again but cash only!!

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Why take the chance at all? Note that the full credit card number appears on most receipts in Mexico, so a clerk only needs to memorize the 3 digit security number. Then, they can shop online.

We found using cash to be the safest approach.

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We routinely use our debit card from our Mexican bank account on things like groceries and gasoline, where the card is in sight the entire time. But we always use cash when at a restaurant. Never had a problem. We used our NOB credit card a few times in the beginning, but the charge to change pesos to dollars turned us against using them regularly unless we must. Never had a problem with any fraud on any of the cards.

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Just checked several of my CC receipts..None of them include the CC# on the receipt..CC as opposed to Debit do not let a skimmed card empty your bank account. I typically only use my CC for bigger purchases where I can see the card at all times...the fish place was an exception as we were treating several other couples...Plus almost all machines require a card with a "CHIP" embedded in the card. There are no charges for a fraud used CC if the issuer is notified promptly..We, like RV typically use pesos. Never used a debit card in my life..

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I use my card in Mexico, at major stores and for big purchases (A CC from a Mexican bank) It has a credit limit high enough to buy appliances but not too high in case someone ever stole the number. It has rewards and doubles the warrantee on purchased items. I do not use it at restaurants.

I have never had a problem with that card, or my Canadian credit cards when I used them in Mexico.

On the other hand, my last two trips to the US, my Canadian Credit Cards were skimmed somehow. (I was in Vegas when one card was skimmed..... probably at a restaurant, I was in Hawaii when the other card was skimmed. I do not know where it happened)

So, based on my experience I would say it is unsafe to use Credit Cards in the US. I use cash there now, at least at restaurants. The problem is not worse in Mexico. It is a problem everywhere now.

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My friend told me that when her sister had her credit card stolen along with her purse, the thief charged the equivalent of 3000 dollars worth of stuff in record time, and the Mexican bank who provided the credit card offered no protection for such events so she had to pay for it. I don't have a Mexican credit card and don't know if this is the policy for all of them. We pay only cash down here.

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I use my CC anywhere it is accepted Lakeside and Mexico in general. Been doing so for more than 10 years and have never had a problem. Recently purchased a washing machine at Coppel in Chapala with it. A US based Capital One Visa, no foreign exchange fees nor any other fees at all and I accumulate air miles.

Guess I've been very lucky?

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After having a debit card stolen, the Mexican bank refused to cover the loss.

I was told by a bank employee to use only a credit card as any losses would be covered.

This is what I have done for many years. A side benefit is the acquiring of puntas for furture purchases.

In addition, I am alerted instantly, by text, when the card is used anywhere in the world.

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Instant alerts of any activity in any bank account or bank card is pretty much the standard in the States and becoming that way in Mexico, also. It is no longer the exception here. Multiva does cover debit card losses if missing card or illegal account activity is reported within 24 hours.

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I use my CC anywhere it is accepted Lakeside and Mexico in general. Been doing so for more than 10 years and have never had a problem. Recently purchased a washing machine at Coppel in Chapala with it. A US based Capital One Visa, no foreign exchange fees nor any other fees at all and I accumulate air miles.

Ditto 6 years here. Use Bancomer crc and several US cards that are free of foreign transaction fees and always keep them in my sight. Debit card only for ATM transactions.

Guess I've been very lucky?

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Well, it seems that the long held belief that CC use here is a no-no(held also by me for the last 16 years) is changing, and depending on your CC Bank, may actually be a positive to the preferred method of cash and sometime use of debit cards. Reasons seem to be that (1) some CCs do not charge a conversion fee, (2) the exchange rate is the best available, (3) there is instant access to info about a charge on the CC worldwide, (4) if you report fraud in a timely manner, you are not obligated, (5) you still get rewards added to your account. However, the use of the debit card is still the standard for getting cash at an ATM (and for no other use), but selecting the best debit card is important for any fees associated. So, I appreciate all the responses and have decided that for me, I intend to check the conversion fees on my CCs, and if they have none, I plan to start using them. I will, however, never let the CC out of my sight, only carrying it when intending to use it, as I do with the debit cards. That means in restaurants, I will go to where they use the card and watch, or else pay in cash. YDMD.

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Well, it seems that the long help belief that CC use here is a no-no(held also by me for the last 16 years) is changing, and depending on your CC Bank, may actually be a positive to the preferred method of cash and sometime use of debit cards. Reasons seem to be that (1) some CCs do not charge a conversion fee, (2) the exchange rate is the best available, (3) there is instant access to info about a charge on the CC worldwide, (4) if you report fraud in a timely manner, you are not obligated, (5) you still get rewards added to your account. However, the use of the debit card is still the standard for getting cash at an ATM (and for no other use), but selecting the best debit card is important for any fees associated. So, I appreciate all the responses and have decided that for me, I intend to check the conversion fees on my CCs, and if they have none, I plan to start using them. I will, however, never let the CC out of my sight, only carrying it when intending to use it, as I do with the debit cards. That means in restaurants, I will go to where they use the card and watch, or else pay in cash. YDMD.

Perfectly summed up.

I have also used my Canadian CC for pretty much the last fifteen years (of the nineteen) that we have lived in Mexico. The advent of easy internet banking and a vonage phone have made it MUCH MUCH easier and more comfortable.

Canadian cards have chips AND a four digit code instead of signature. They have cut down credit card fraud by over 50% in Canada.

I just finished reading an article (sorry...think it was CNN) that stated that the U.S. will be switching over ALL credit cards to the CHIP system (instead of magnetic strip) by October of this year. Unfortunately they will still be using signatures...still, it's a step in the right direction.

BTW, for the record, in the last twenty years my credit card has been used for fraud TWICE...once in Canada and once in Puerto Vallarta.

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We just went thru a fraud situation which ruined a trip to PV. We had never had it happen before and has prompted us to change our thoughts about debit and CC. We will have decided to explore Mexico based debit and CCs for convenience and limited exposure to our US accounts.

All things change..this is just the latest.

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The ATM and cash has served me well for the last 13 years. I see no or little advantage to using a credit card. 1% or 2%, fees or no fees, spot rate or not, too little to make a difference, at least to me.

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I don't use a US credit card here in Mexico because I have a Mexican credit card. Of course everyone has to evaluate their own situation and what they consider the "risk" factors, but for me I feel that the Mexican CC gives many benefits with little risk. I have never had a fraud problem with it and I use it a lot, but it is 100% covered if that ever happens. I get very good points on it which gives me a free tank of gas every few months. For major purchases like a TV, refrigerator, mattress, electronics, etc. you usually get 12 months or more payments with NO interest at the big stores. Online ordering is also starting to get more common here in Mexico and having a Mexican CC makes that much easier.

You of course want to pay it off every month (other than the free interest items) as the interest is very high. If you think interest is hight on a US credit card then don't even ask what it is on a Mexican one. Just pay it off every month! I buy everything that I can with it (many smaller places don't take CCs of course) so I can get the points and then pay the full amount every month to not generate any interest. If I'm going to buy something major I can usually pay for it over 12 or more months with no interest.

If you are here, in the US, or any other place you really have to watch your credit card transactions because fraud can happen quickly and it is much easier to correct if you find it and report it right away. The one fraud that I have had here is that about 6 months ago a charge for a TV came on to my Telmex phone bill. I never found out exactly what happened, but somehow a TV got charged to my telephone number and they added something like 400 pesos to my bill for the monthly charge. I of course went immediately to Telmex and told them that I hadn't bought a TV from them. They started an investigation and it took about 2 months for the full amount to come off of my bill. They never did give me an explanation for how it happened. So now that Telmex is selling electronics through a phone bill you can even get it if you have a phone.

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Are the Mexican CCs free, like NOB?

Just like North of the border, some are free and some have a yearly fee. The better ones may have a fee but may be worth it depending on use.

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I find a Mexican CCard to be of great benefit. I have a Bancomer Visa. My points earnings filled my gas tank more than three times last year ($3000 +-) and my annual fee is $500. I buy everything I can with the card as long as I can see the terminal. I pay in full every month, with the exception of "meses sin intereses. Bought new tires, and had nine months to pay no interest.

The advice of every expert is to NEVER use a debit card for purchases.

If you dispute debit card fraud, the bank investigates and if it is valid, will put the funds back in your account The investigation could take months. Until then you have lost YOUR money.

If you dispute credit card fraud, the bank first halts the charge, then investigates. No loss to you until the investigation is finished.

Using a USA issued credit card you are given the daily exchange rate published by either Visa, or Mastercard, or AMEX Etc. Usually this rate is 1/2 a point or more better than the cash exchange the various places available lakeside.

If you wish to use Visa, check which bank offers no international fees. Also which bank will refund off system ATM charges. There are many available.

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My main checking account is a free one here in the States. I have another one, in the same bank, for which I have a debit card. The later is used just for ATM cash. When I need pesos, I transfer what I need into the account with the debit card and within a few hours I withdraw it. I leave a few dollars in the account for float and small exchange variances.

If my number gets skimmed, there is never even US$50 in the account for them to get. Really good for my peace of mind!

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My main checking account is a free one here in the States. I have another one, in the same bank, for which I have a debit card. The later is used just for ATM cash. When I need pesos, I transfer what I need into the account with the debit card and within a few hours I withdraw it. I leave a few dollars in the account for float and small exchange variances.

If my number gets skimmed, there is never even US$50 in the account for them to get. Really good for my peace of mind!

I have been doing the same thing for many years. Yes, it is good for my peace of mind. I have 2 checking accounts, both having a debit card at the same bank. The transfer is almost instant. I recommend doing this to everyone.

I have also noticed most ATMs have installed a plastic cover over the keypad and I have to bend down to enter my PIN and presume it is because a skimmer could not view the keypad to get your PIN.

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