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MNJames

Getting pesos from a US bank

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What is the best way to xfer money from the US? Should I open a mexican account, or will using a debit card from a US bank work?

 Naturally, I want to keep all fees (ATM, foreign transaction, usage etc.) as low as possible while getting a good exchange rate 

 

 

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The bulk of folks Lakeside use debit cards and ATMs here to withdraw pesos from their US bank of choice. There are some banks NOB, like Schwab that was mentioned, who charge you no fees and surely no International exhange fees for using the ATM. Some NOB  banks will even refund the fees that the Mexican ATM charged you for their service. 

Mexico is basically a cash society although more credit cards are being accepted by larger establishments than ever before. Just be careful with that form of payment. 

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If you are a veteran, USAA is a great way to go. They refund up to 6 atm fees monthly and will courier your new or replacement card to you. Also, very easy to reach by phone or chat.

 

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....and with USAA one can even be the son/daughter of a veteran and be able to get their services. We do.

 

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I am a vet. Thanks, I'll check out USAA

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I used to use an ATM, but I  would end up with all kinds of 500 peso notes. Now, what I do, is wire the money down to a brokerage not bank account that I have Actinver. My broker then deposits those US funds into a dollar account until such time as when my broker thinks that the exchange rate is good.  The last time my broker converted dollars to pesos, I got 20.5 to 1. Obviously that was quite a while ago. And, of course, I get all kinds of change and almost never 500 peso notes when I withdraw funds from my bank account

So, yes, I get almost the spot rate in my brokerage not bank account and then when I need more pesos in my bank account, I transfer pesos from my brokerage account to my Bank account.

This system works great for me. But it may not be best for you. As they say, YMMV

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For me I have a HSBC account in Canada and an account at the HSBC in San Antonio. At home I access my Canadian account on my computer and transfer money to my Mexican account. It is instant and no cost. There doesn't seem to be a limit. The exchange rate is better than using my debit card to get pesos via my Canadian account. Likewise I can transfer money from my Mexican account to my Canadian one on my computer no charge.  

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12 hours ago, RickS said:

....and with USAA one can even be the son/daughter of a veteran and be able to get their services. We do.

 

I checked with USAA and was told that a son/daughter of a veteran could only open an account if their parent vet had an account with USAA.  Ours did not, so we could not open an account.  

We are happy Schwab customers, no fees on their end and they refund the local banks' ATM fees, without limitation.  BTW, these local bank ATM fees have gotten quite high...we average $35 USD in monthly refunds from Schwab.  

I recently read that BOA again has a relationship with Scotia but have not tested this. 

  • Scotiabank (Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, and the Caribbean countries: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands, and US Virgin Islands)

 

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If you want a US account that doesn't require your physical presence to open it or a U.S. address, check into American Citizens Abroad.  There are other routes, but this one will introduce you to the State Dept. Federal Credit Union, a well established and insured financial institution with Checking, Savings and Credit Card services available.  Originally designed for overseas government employees,  but available to all expats.  Very good rates and service is online.

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1 minute ago, gringal said:

If you want a US account that doesn't require your physical presence to open it or a U.S. address, check into American Citizens Abroad.  There are other routes, but this one will introduce you to the State Dept. Federal Credit Union, a well established and insured financial institution with Checking, Savings and Credit Card services available.  Originally designed for overseas government employees,  but available to all expats.  Very good rates and service is online.

Most every Credit Union will allow expats to maintain an account.  However, none of the CU's we are eligible to join have fee-free ATMs in Mexico, including our account with the State Dept. FCU.   

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43 minutes ago, Bisbee Gal said:

Most every Credit Union will allow expats to maintain an account.  However, none of the CU's we are eligible to join have fee-free ATMs in Mexico, including our account with the State Dept. FCU.   

The website says that ATM transactions at a non-SDFCU atm are fee free but that there may be a surcharge by the other bank:

https://www.sdfcu.org/fees

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12 hours ago, MNJames said:

I am a vet. Thanks, I'll check out USAA

The fast card replacement via courier has proven to be a lifesaver for us. If you are single and have that one card and accidently leave it in a machine or lose it...oops! Machines are unforgiving when that happens and many banks in the US will not courier cards. We had to cut ties with our CU because they would only send cards by mail which are almost always confiscated by aduana for "fraud protection". 

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33 minutes ago, bournemouth said:

The website says that ATM transactions at a non-SDFCU atm are fee free but that there may be a surcharge by the other bank:

https://www.sdfcu.org/fees

Those local bank fees add up.  On average we are refunded $35 USD by Schwab each month for these MXN bank fees.  Most ATMs in Ajijic are charging nearly 90 pesos per w/d these days.  

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I have Capital One with very good exchange rates, no foreign exchange fees and no ATM fees at Banorte Bank.  Their savings account pays higher interest rates than most banks---which isn't saying much.  Mexican savings rates are much better.

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2 hours ago, Bisbee Gal said:

I checked with USAA and was told that a son/daughter of a veteran could only open an account if their parent vet had an account with USAA.  Ours did not, so we could not open an account.  

Interesting because we had the exact same thing.... father did not have an account w/USAA but they gladly opened us an account. Since then they have sent us several 'opportunities' to get even more account services.  Go figure.

If I were to need another bank that refunded all fees like my home town bank does, I think that I would go with either Capital One or Schwab. I personally would stay away from BOA. Don't like their policies.

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Here are requirements....the parent vet has to have had a USAA policy.

  • Active, retired and honorably separated officers and enlisted personnel of the U.S. military.
  • Officer candidates in commissioning programs (Academy, ROTC, OCS/OTS).
  • Adult children (18+) of USAA members who have or had a USAA auto or property insurance policy.
  • Widows and widowers of USAA members who have or had a USAA auto or property insurance policy.

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About 2 years ago. On line as I recall. 

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I found the requirements....parent vet had to have a USAA auto or home policy.  I confirmed now online where during the application they will check for a policy by the parent vet's SSN  

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14 hours ago, MNJames said:

I am a vet. Thanks, I'll check out USAA

You, your wife and your children will all be eligible for individual memberships in USAA.  I have never needed another bank since joining USAA in 1959.

Yes, you may apply online at USAA dot com, or by phone. Check their website for details.

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We have a USAA account.  This bank gives us a good exchange rate and reimburses a part of the ATM fee. We withdraw to get pesos from the ATM at  CIBanco. Their tarifa or cost to use CIBanco is only 15 pesos--cheaper than any other place I know. They can be a pain to use however. Often they're out of money. Apparently many of us think it's worth the effort and the return trip.

Lexy

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3 hours ago, Lexy said:

We have a USAA account.  This bank gives us a good exchange rate and reimburses a part of the ATM fee. We withdraw to get pesos from the ATM at  CIBanco. Their tarifa or cost to use CIBanco is only 15 pesos--cheaper than any other place I know. They can be a pain to use however. Often they're out of money. Apparently many of us think it's worth the effort and the return trip.

Lexy

It costs me nothing to go to the teller at Intercam and get whatever currency and amount I want instantly and they never run out. When my account gets low there I merely write a cheque from my Canadian bank which is deposited instantly by my account exec even though it will take 5 working days to clear. Stopped using the Scotia ATM when it became a grabber instead of a swiper. Oh,and our doctors like to be paid by cheque for anything major and I have used my Intercam debit card for hospital payments.

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happpyjillin--Sounds like you have no problem. Others do.

Lexy

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Cheque? How divinely archaic. Haven't written a cheque in 10 years....

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I used to write so many checks, now it is becoming less and less frequent. I am not quite as modern as Ferret,  but when I do things like pay US  taxes, I still write out a check and mail it. Most everything else like all of my Seattle utility bills go directly to the bank and are automatically deducted from my checking account when they become due. Same with my credit card payments.

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