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FYI to all new expats in Mexico, when paying with c.c. always ask for the c.c. machine don't give the c.c. to the waiter to take it behind the counter to do the charge. We just went to our local Chillis in Lerma we felt very comfortable by being at an American Restaurant. The waiter took my c.c. I paid and a week later my c.c. company contacted me about some suspicious charges, about 4500 USD of charges all over the city of Mexico.

You can never be to careful, hope this help you.
 

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FYI to all new expats in Mexico, when paying with c.c. always ask for the c.c. machine don't give the c.c. to the waiter to take it behind the counter to do the charge. We just went to our local Chillis in Lerma we felt very comfortable by being at an American Restaurant. The waiter took my c.c. I paid and a week later my c.c. company contacted me about some suspicious charges, about 4500 USD of charges all over the city of Mexico.

You can never be to careful, hope this help you.
People have paid at Chili's with credit/debit cards without problem. You were unlucky. You might sign up for alerts on foreign charges. I have a credit card with a low limit. As soon as the purchase is posted, I go to the Internet site and transfer funds from my checking to pay off the credit card.
 
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I am relying on my credit cards less and less, after going through the fraud investigation process several times since moving to Mexico. Even the company which does importing from the U.S. must have had a larcenous employee. The most amusing incident involved my supposedly buying 400 pairs of "Crocs" shoes from a brick and mortar store in Colorado. HUH? These charges were all dropped, but the process of getting rid of them is a real PITA.

There are good reasons why Mexico operates primarily on cash. I'll never use a credit card in a restaurant.......anywhere, these days.
 

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We also use cash from ATMs, rather than a credit card in Mexico, due to the frequency of stolen card numbers. Generally, the entire credit card number is printed on the receipt and is available to the clerk, even after you have left the store. On rare occasions, like buying a refrigerator or car, we make phone contact between the merchant and our card issuer, to insure that the special purchase is the only one approved.
I cannot recommend that you use a credit card in Mexico.
 

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Generally, the entire credit card number is printed on the receipt and is available to the clerk, even after you have left the store.
With BofA, my debit card is cut off when I try to make a large purchase. If fact, I tried to buy a refrigerator and the card was frozen and I had to call BofA to unfreeze it and to get them to permit the purchase. From that time forward, I use the debit only at ATMs. I have a Mexican debit card that carries a small balance so if stolen or compromised, little is lost. I use it only at supermarkets and big name stores. Never restaurants or bars. Cash is so secure.

Lastly, the receipts that I have received for charges only print the last four digits.

Mexican banks and stores now issue and accept credit/debit cards with embedded chips where you have to input the PIN in order to complete a purchase. However, they still can be used over the Internet with the 3 digit code on the reverse side.
 

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I made an assumption but did not state the fact that we do not have, or want, a Mexican bank account or associated cards. We have used our US bank since 1959 and have found no need to consider another in our decade-plus residence in Mexico.
 

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FYI to all new expats in Mexico, when paying with c.c. always ask for the c.c. machine don't give the c.c. to the waiter to take it behind the counter to do the charge. We just went to our local Chillis in Lerma we felt very comfortable by being at an American Restaurant. The waiter took my c.c. I paid and a week later my c.c. company contacted me about some suspicious charges, about 4500 USD of charges all over the city of Mexico.

You can never be to careful, hope this help you.
For those who do not know this, companies such as Chilis or Coca Cola or WalMart in Mexico are not U.S. companies - they are Mexican companies partially owned by U.S. companies. They abide by Mexican rules including, if you will remember, exploiting historic sites as did the entity WalMart de Mexico through shameless and repulsive bribery when desecrating ancient vistas predating western historically recorded time at Teotihuacan where WalMart´s stupendous bribes paid for a big box store within what was, before that, considered the sacred visionary plain of the city so ancient nobody even knows who built it including the latecoming Aztecs who built Mexico City. As is typical in Mexico, there was much suffering accompanying the desecration of ancient sites by corporate moneygrubbers complicit with corrupt officials but, as we all know, the protests soon died down and WalMart and Coca Cola are selling products as fast as they can be re-supplied in that store . Meanwhile, the protests regarding the desecration of ancient holy sites have been reduced to an indiscernable murmer.

Welcome to Mexico. Or for that matter, Hounddog´s native Alabama and Citlali´s native France. The only problem with Eath is that it is inhabited, at present at least, by too may humans.
 

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On the subject of the need for credit cards in Mexico - or in France or the U.S. for that matter- we have had not even one credit card during the last decade here as residents in Mexico and as frequent visitors to France and rare visitors to the U.S. We get by with cash and debit cards on one U.S. bank and two Mexican banks for all of our needs including hotel and airline reservations. We wouldn´t dream of using anything but cash to pay in restaurants or anyplace else except for big ticket appliances when we might pay for something like a flat screen TV or refrigerator at a reputable department store . Among good reasons to have Mexican bank accounts is that we pay all utility bills through a Mexican bank account - an absolutely free service - and we make "interbancario" transfer payments to compensate employees in Chiapas who manage our home down there in our absence while we are at Lake Chapala and our employees at Lake Chapala when we are in Chiapas - also totally free of charge using our home computers.

By the way, our bank accounts in Mexico are absolutely service charge free with small minimum balances of under the equivalent of $200USD which is peanuts.
 

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By the way, our bank accounts in Mexico are absolutely service charge free with small minimum balances of under the equivalent of $200USD which is peanuts.
Got ya beat, Hound Dog. My Mexican bank requires a minimum balance of 1000 pesos, which at the current exchange rate is about 75 US dollars.
 

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Got ya beat, Hound Dog. My Mexican bank requires a minimum balance of 1000 pesos, which at the current exchange rate is about 75 US dollars.
Hold on, Isla; you mean your Mexican bank requires a minimum balance of the equivalent of $75USD and mine an equivalent of about $150USD at today´s exchange rates? Yes! but did you get a free ice cream cone and a card saying you were a PREFERRED CUSTOMER just because you were a foreign "honky" as did I? Our mutual friend Citlali was really offended when they decided to open those Preferred Customer Units, and they touted them with the notion that employees in those units were bi-lingual in both Spanish and English. As a French citizen, she wanted to know why these folks were not fluent in French as well as in, "Preferred Customer my *ss!" I assured her that I would join her on her trips to the bank to translate for her if need be. She´s used to my sense of humor so, despite my little joke, we are still married.

I was in Bancomer in Ajijic Centro the other day just after they had closed that PREFERRED CUSTOMER´S UNIT they only opened a year or so ago on the Ajijic Libramiento which turned out to be a marketing disaster and money mop. A bank branch with no cash but set up merely to provide an ATM and investment advice to, mostly, penurious foreign retirees who moved to Ajijic because they had scant money to invest anyway. They should have opened that branch in Palm Beach if they were seeking to serve people not subsisting on social security benefits and casita rentals.
 

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Hold on, Isla; you mean your Mexican bank requires a minimum balance of the equivalent of $75USD and mine an equivalent of about $150USD at today´s exchange rates? Yes! but did you get a free ice cream cone and a card saying you were a PREFERRED CUSTOMER just because you were a foreign "honky" as did I? Our mutual friend Citlali was really offended when they decided to open those Preferred Customer Units, and they touted them with the notion that employees in those units were bi-lingual in both Spanish and English. As a French citizen, she wanted to know why these folks were not fluent in French as well as in, "Preferred Customer my *ss!" I assured her that I would join her on her trips to the bank to translate for her if need be. She´s used to my sense of humor so, despite my little joke, we are still married.
No, Hound Dog, no free ice cream or even a packet of mints, and I can't use the preferred customer line either. But since the Santander branch I use is only a five minute walk from my house, if the line is too long, I can just go home and come back later or the next day.

I am also used to your sense of humor, which often lends a bit of spice to the time I spend every day on this forum.
 

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I never encountered an issue, when using my CC in Mexico...during vacation (currently still in the US).
Both fraud claims I've encountered over the years, were associated with US transactions.

My CC companies have always processed my claims efficiently without an issues...even after months without reporting a fraud claim.

Two of my friends have shared their experiences regarding hoops they had to jump through (due to debt-card fraud claims). Both claims required a min. of one month, before funds were returned to their accounts.

For this reason, I would always prefer to use a CC over a debt card.
When you use a CC, it's the banks money...when you use a debt-card, it's your money.

Having to wait 30days for the bank to process your claim, before returning your funds gets old very quickly...
 

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I have heard Mexican CC companies don't offer the same service as US companies...
I've heard customers/clients getting stuck with fraudulent charges, for example.

Is this true?
 

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Mexican credit cards should be avoided, in my opinion. Interest rates can be higher than you can imagine, for starters, and they are not at all similar in service or protection to what you had in the USA.
Keep your USA card and debit card and keep your banking in the USA. I have had no need for anything else in over a decade in Mexico.
 

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[QUOTE=mr_manny;2467785]I never encountered an issue, when using my CC in Mexico...during vacation (currently still in the US).
Both fraud claims I've encountered over the years, were associated with US transactions.

My CC companies have always processed my claims efficiently without an issues...even after months without reporting a fraud claim.

Two of my friends have shared their experiences regarding hoops they had to jump through (due to debt-card fraud claims). Both claims required a min. of one month, before funds were returned to their accounts.

For this reason, I would always prefer to use a CC over a debt card.
When you use a CC, it's the banks money...when you use a debt-card, it's your money.

Having to wait 30days for the bank to process your claim, before returning your funds gets old very quickly...[/QUOTE]


The notion that transactions inititated with debit cards are your money and with credit cards is the bank´s money ia a faulty concept if there ever was one and, in my opinion, a stance often taken by people with whom I would not wish to do business . If the debit or credit card holder and end user has any problems recovering fraudulent charges almost instantaneously, - they are using the wrong financial institution. VISA and MASTERCARD are simply transactional media companies. Your personal financial institution is your plug into the system and always remember that. I have done business with Charles Schwab in the U.S. for some 15 years and if I dispute any charge against my debit cards (I no longer have any credit cards), I am immediately given provisional credit for thos charges while they investigate that dispute over a reasonable period of time before either disclaimimng the dispute or making the provisional credit permanent. In 15 years, all of my disputed have been ultimately honored to my credit. Unless you are prone to making frivolous claims, my guess is you have had the same experience.
 

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I have done business with Charles Schwab in the U.S. for some 15 years and if I dispute any charge against my debit cards (I no longer have any credit cards), I am immediately given provisional credit for thos charges while they investigate that dispute over a reasonable period of time before either disclaimimng the dispute or making the provisional credit permanent. In 15 years, all of my disputed have been ultimately honored to my credit. Unless you are prne to making frivolous claims, my guess is you have had the same experience.
I was treated in a similar fashion by BofA.

I am uneasy about using my debit card for payments. I use it only to withdraw funds from the ATMs. I use BofA's credit card and pay it off in one or two days with a transfer from my checking.
 
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I was treated in a similar fashion by BofA.

I am uneasy about using my debit card for payments. I use it only to withdraw funds from the ATMs. I use BofA's credit card and pay it off in one or two days with a transfer from my checking.
joaquinx:

I think perhaps you have just made my point. It seems to me that a debit card is as useful as a credit card if one does not need to utilize the credit feature over time. What´s the difference? I use our debit cards on our U.S. bank and two Mexican banks to withdraw cash from various ATMs and, perhaps, make big ticket item purchases at appliance stores or, for, example car dealerships, make reservations on airlines or buses or hotels just as I would with a credit card so why do I need a credit card in the first place? I don´t have to worry about paying off credit card charges because the debit card charges are instantaneous and require no decisions on my part. I would rather keep enough money in my account to cover any charges than pay some crooked stooge to extend me credit and if I need more money in my account, that´s a simple matter of a cost-free online transfer that takes two seconds at home over a cup of coffee.

I tore up our last credit card, an American Express Card, some ten years ago when some fraudsters tried to rip me off when American Express was sending me a new replacement card down here to Mexico. I figured I did not need that and canceled all credit cards - period. The best decision I ever made credit-wise.
 

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joaquinx:

I think perhaps you have just made my point. It seems to me that a debit card is as useful as a credit card if one does not need to utilize the credit feature over time. What´s the difference? I use our debit cards on our U.S. bank and two Mexican banks to withdraw cash from various ATMs and, perhaps, make big ticket item purchases at appliance stores or, for, example car dealerships, make reservations on airlines or buses or hotels just as I would with a credit card so why do I need a credit card in the first place? I don´t have to worry about paying off credit card charges because the debit card charges are instantaneous and require no decisions on my part. I would rather keep enough money in my account to cover any charges than pay some crooked stooge to extend me credit and if I need more money in my account, that´s a simple matter of a cost-free online transfer that takes two seconds at home over a cup of coffee.

I tore up our last credit card, an American Express Card, some ten years ago when some fraudsters tried to rip me off when American Express was sending me a new replacement card down here to Mexico. I figured I did not need that and canceled all credit cards - period. The best decision I ever made credit-wise.
I can only say that the debit card has a large balance behind it while the credit card has a very small limit. I simply feel comfortable with this usage. I feel uneasy plunking down my debit card for a purchase period. Your's is a good plan and I believe that mine is also.
 

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I also never carry a balance on my CC...I guess you can say I manage my CC, like others manage their Dept Cards.

Moral of story:
Use what your comfortable with? :)
 
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