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Mexico Expat Forum for Expats Living in Mexico With an area of two million square kilometers, Mexico is the fifth largest country in the Americas and has a larger population of US and Canadian expats than any other country.

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Old 6th September 2019, 03:56 PM
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Hello All,

So our move to Mexico is approaching and I was hoping to get some advise on the following.

We are planning on driving down from Canada, is it better to drive through Mexico with our Canadian plates or should we look into getting Mexican plates. We "heard" that you are not stopped as much at checkpoints with Canadian plates, but not sure if this is true or not. Also, our government has just issued warnings to be careful of non authorized checkpoints, is this something that we should actually be concerned about? We try not to listen to all the fake news but just thought we would trough it out there.

Also,

there is a lot of advise on how to access your money while you are in Mexico as an American, any advise for Canadian's? What are the best and cost effective ways to access funds? What would be the best bank to deal with in Canada that will transfer nicely to Mexico

You guys have been great in answering my question and I have really enjoyed this forum. Hopefully one day I can pass on my experiences as well!
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Old 6th September 2019, 07:17 PM
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Your first question is easy. Keep your Canadian plates. Getting Mexican plates means importing your vehicle into Mexico. Depending on the manufacturer and age this may not even be possible. If it is possible, it will be expensive and time consuming. And it is unnecessary. There are some somewhat complicated issues surrounding vehicles and visas but you don't need to worry about all of that at first. You will want to stop at Banercito and get a TIP (I don't know what it stands for, maybe Temporary Import Permit) for your vehicle. You pay a deposit which is refundible when you take the vehicle out of Mexico. And you will have to take it out of Mexico eventually.

I have heard about fake checkpoints as well, but have driven a lot around Mexico and never encountered one.

For money, ATM machines will work fine at first. After you get settled you can think about it further. There is lots of discussion on banking in this forum. Many people live here for years using an ATM to get cash. Mexico mostly runs on cash anyway. I have no insight into Canadian banking and Mexico.
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Old 6th September 2019, 08:12 PM
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You may want to ask your government what they recommend you do when stopped by an unauthorized reten.. Ha ha what a joke.. It does not mean anything..

When you approach a reten they tell you to stop if you do not you risk being shot at, wether they are authorized or not so it is your choice, stop or risk your live.

The next thing is, if it is an authorized reten, they will ask you quesions and let you go or ask for papers and let you go or search your car and let you go

If, unauthorized, whatever that is , they probably will hit you for money or rob you and if they have guns give them whatever. Hide money in the car and some on yourself so you do not lose everything.. but be ready to lose everything, as long as you are alive you are ok ..

We drive a lot n Chiapas where authorized and unauthorized retens happen on a regular basis.. whenI get hit for money , if it is little I pay it if it is a lot I bargain them down , sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. We have never been robbed per say but we are that could very well happen and we will worry about it when it happens.

Do not worry too much over this and do not drive after dark.


Last edited by citlali; 6th September 2019 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 6th September 2019, 08:21 PM
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Just be sure that you have debit cards, with major logos, like Visa, from your Canadian bank. It is also wise to ask them to raise the default daily limit, if it is less than $1000 CDN, just in case you need it, and to minimize ATM fees, for frequent small withdrawals.

The car permit is an "Importada Temporal"; a Temporary import permit, good for up to 180 days for tourists, which matches the maximum length of a tourist permit. If you are approved for a Residente Temporal Visa, you will get a 30 day 'TIP', and will have to have it extended by Aduana when you report to INM to process your 'canje' approval to the actual visa card. Then, it will be good for the length of your visa, and both can be renewed at the same time.

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Old 8th September 2019, 02:29 PM
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Thank you all for the information! I am really looking forward to my time in Mexico!
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Old 8th September 2019, 07:40 PM
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Most Mexican banks are international. It can be convenient to have accounts with both a Mexican branch (pesos) and a branch in another country (say Canadian dollars). If you end up wanting to do this and it requires opening a new account in Canada, you might have to do that while in Canada. In which case it is worth thinking ahead before you leave Canada.

The major banks in Mexico are:
BBVA-Bancomer (BBVA Compass in US)
Citibanamex (Banamex in Mexico, Citibank in US)
HSBC
Santander
ScotiaBank

BBVA did not make it easy to move funds some years ago. Citi does make it easy to move funds. I have no experience with others.
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Old 8th September 2019, 08:14 PM
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I transfer from Schwab to Bancomer easily and quickly same from France.. Yes in th eold days it was a real pain with Bancomer..

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Old 8th September 2019, 11:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by citlali View Post
I transfer from Schwab to Bancomer easily and quickly same from France.. Yes in th eold days it was a real pain with Bancomer..
I read in the forum that Scwab does not charge any fee for transfers from Dollars in a Schwab account to Pesos in a Mexican bank. But what about the exchange rate.

When you transfer money with Schwab, how does the exchange rate compare to the rate for the day given by one of the many online conversion services like:
https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/tools/currencyconverter
https://www.xe.com/
https://www.currency-converter.com/
https://fx-rate.net/calculator/?c_in...D&cp_input=MXN

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Old 9th September 2019, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TundraGreen View Post
I read in the forum that Scwab does not charge any fee for transfers from Dollars in a Schwab account to Pesos in a Mexican bank. But what about the exchange rate.

When you transfer money with Schwab, how does the exchange rate compare to the rate for the day given by one of the many online conversion services like:
https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/tools/currencyconverter
https://www.xe.com/
https://www.currency-converter.com/
https://fx-rate.net/calculator/?c_in...D&cp_input=MXN
How much detail do you want ?

First off - I fired up Quicken and I haven't transferred monies from Schwab to Mexico since we purchased our Mexican car in 2016 (so things may be different, but I doubt it).

Schwab did charge me a $25 wire transfer fee but it was immediately reimbursed.

The sites you post are showing the "mid market rate" or "spot rate". It something like the average of the best price someone is willing to buy at and the best price someone is willing to sell at. The queue of those buys and sells make up (in trading terms) the "book". It is a very dynamic thing - something like $5 trillion in currency transactions occur each day (much more than the US stock markets).

So the trading desk at Schwab is going to be watching that book and when you call they will quote you an exchange rate. If you are moving a sizable sum they may even 'help' you a little and (by looking down in the queue) they can anticipate a better trade in the 'very near' future. The rate they quote you is real-time and has a lifetime of seconds. Take it or leave it. The guy you are talking to at Schwab is trying to make a living for himself and Schwab and trying to do right by you. You don't want to waste his time and you don't want to call in repeatedly trying to get a better price. And you don't want to use this method for an ATM sized transaction - but to buy a house ? You might save thousands. (Or not).

In a nutshell those are the mechanics of executing a trade. At some point I completed a form where I gave Schwab all the numbers for my bank in Mexico so they are on file. I have a "first class" international account with Schwab and I have a "first class" account with my Mexican bank which simply accepts the pesos wired in with no extra fees. I don't recall, but I suspect that the trade will have a 'settlement date' a few days in the future and that would be when the monies appear in Mexico.

Having said all that - the spot rate for the peso at this moment is $19.54. Last week, when the US treasury sent my wife's SS monies to our Mexican bank she got an exchange rate of $19.96.

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Old 9th September 2019, 01:31 PM
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I did just find this - the table of exchange fees doesn't cut/paste very well so I will post the link. But in a nutshell, for amounts under $100,000 the fee is 1%, and for larger sums it changes accordingly.

https://www.schwab.com/public/schwab...investors.html

Edit : I no longer have the exact details of the exchange we made to purchase our car in 2016 - BUT on the day of the transaction the spot rate for the peso went from a low of 18.04 and a high of 18.79, closing the day at 18.43. We received an exchange rate from Schwab of 18.64 after whatever fees we were charged (in the bank in Mexico).

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Last edited by lat19n; 9th September 2019 at 01:47 PM.
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