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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello gang - we're getting ready for our trip down south & have a couple of questions concerning money:

1) The last couple of times we've been in Mexico, it was near impossible to change dollars down there, even in a bank. There had been a law passed to make it difficult for narcotraficantes that made it difficult for travelers, too. Is that law still in effect? What are the limitations?

2) My wife is involved in a lot of humanitarian service projects on behalf of the UN Foundation, World Vision, Results, etc. (see Felisa's Facebook) and will be helping to set up a clinic in a very rural area of Veracruz. What she did was raise the funds for the materials to build the clinic, while the pueblito will provide the labor to build it.

Because of the law (above) we've gotten by with our ATM cards while in Mexico, stopping at the border to exchange only a couple hundred dollars so we'd have a ready supply of pesos when needed. This time, she's not sure what to do. I'd say to exchange it all at the border to have it ready to administer for the project when she gets there. The amount is less than $5K, but I just don't see trying to deal with a bank, travelers or cashiers checks making it any easier or safer. Trying to deal with a US bank at the border is just as much of a hassle because of the exchange rate ("We don't have any pesos").

My most careful solution, if anything, would be to stick the full amount in one of our bank accounts; then draw it out (little by little) one day at a time once we cross the border - or as needed to pay for materials purchased for her project.
 

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Why don´t you have a bank account in the US a large limit on the ATM card and withdraw the money as you need it. It is what we are doing. If we need a large amount at once we wire the money from the States to our bank account in Mexico. We sure do not travel with large quanities of cash that is way too risky.
 

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Why don´t you have a bank account in the US a large limit on the ATM card and withdraw the money as you need it. It is what we are doing. If we need a large amount at once we wire the money from the States to our bank account in Mexico. We sure do not travel with large quanities of cash that is way too risky.
Good advice, citlali! Not a good idea to travel in Mexico with 5000 dollars worth of pesos in your wallet.
 

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I will reinforce that advice. Learn to live with cash from ATMs and keep your US accounts, allowing you to do online banking in the US, wire funds, etc. Keeping a US address; even a forwarding service, helps in that regard, especially if you have mutual funds with USAA, etc. Yes, they will raise your daily ATM limit, per account, if you ask them to do that. It is also wise to notify them that you will be using your cards in Mexico. We lived for 13 years by that method and bought two houses and one new car. We did not use Mexican banks.
It is not useful to bring foreign currencies into Mexico. Once you cross the border, think pesos.
 

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Good advice, citlali! Not a good idea to travel in Mexico with 5000 dollars worth of pesos in your wallet.
A couple of years ago, when buying our house, I was unaware of the prohibition on exchanging US dollars in Morelos. I had thought exchanging US dollars would be easier than CDN, so I withdrew a few thousand in US cash from my US$ account. I didn't keep it in my wallet, but secreted it in ... other places on my body. Well, when I found out I wouldn't be able to deposit it in the bank, I had no choice but to continue carrying it around in its hiding place for the rest of the week, as the place we were staying did not have any kind of strongbox or safe.

I contacted my bank to increase my withdrawal limits and got what I needed from the ATMs. Ironically, if I had taken Canadian cash, the bank could have accepted it. Live and learn
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Why don´t you have a bank account in the US a large limit on the ATM card and withdraw the money as you need it.
That's pretty much what I had proposed, and what we've been doing. We've never been robbed, but the risk is always there and could happen if careless.

RVGRINGO: Great advice for when we establish our permanent residence there! The past couple of trips down there have been a great practice for doing it like that.

A couple of years ago, when buying our house, I was unaware of the prohibition on exchanging US dollars in Morelos. I had thought exchanging US dollars would be easier than CDN, so I withdrew a few thousand in US cash from my US$ account. I didn't keep it in my wallet, but secreted it in ... other places on my body. Well, when I found out I wouldn't be able to deposit it in the bank, I had no choice but to continue carrying it around in its hiding place for the rest of the week, as the place we were staying did not have any kind of strongbox or safe.

I contacted my bank to increase my withdrawal limits and got what I needed from the ATMs. Ironically, if I had taken Canadian cash, the bank could have accepted it. Live and learn
Ha-ha!! That was pretty much my experience when I learned of the exchange law that went into effect a couple of years ago. My daughter went to study for the summer in Taxco, my mother came down for 6 weeks & we were all over the place. I took extra cash with me to exchange at the border, but only did a couple of hundred dollars. Then it was Hell when I had to ration my ATM withdrawals because I had most of the available funds WITH ME. We made it okay, but it was a pain not knowing about the new law beforehand. I couldn't get hardly ANYONE to touch my dollars for change!!

My wife is on board, now, with not carrying the money with us. Now she needs to get it back into the back before we leave. I guess that means that we will have to wait until Monday before we leave. Oh well. Thanks again for your help & advice everyone!!
 

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A couple of years ago, when buying our house, I was unaware of the prohibition on exchanging US dollars in Morelos.
I did a quick search, and it seems a Mexican Bank Customer can only be allowed to receive/transfer $7,000 Dollars into their account each month.
Is this correct?

If your purchasing property, what options does the buyer have...if the seller doesn't have any US Bank accounts?
 

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I did a quick search, and it seems a Mexican Bank Customer can only be allowed to receive/transfer $7,000 Dollars into their account each month.
Is this correct?

If your purchasing property, what options does the buyer have...if the seller doesn't have any US Bank accounts?
We purchased our house from 2 sellers (a couple which had separated), and we paid them over a series of 5 months, with a combination of cash at the outset (withdrawn from the ATMs since my US$ could not be exchanged), then transfers to their bank accounts every 1-2 months over the next 5 months. We had signed a "Buy Sell Contract" through the local Casa del Pueblo, signed by the buyers (us), sellers, 2 witnesses and the Justice of Peace at the Casa del Pueblo, which stipulated exactly how much we would pay and when.

Since then we bought another piece of undeveloped land adjacent to our first property, and for that purchase, also paid in installments over several months, we partly paid in cash we got through the ATM and partly by sending the money by MoneyGram to my sister-in-law in Tepoztlan (when we were in Canada). My sister-in-law gave it to the seller, always with signed receipts.

I'm not saying the above would work for everyone, but it worked for us.
 

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I did a quick search, and it seems a Mexican Bank Customer can only be allowed to receive/transfer $7,000 Dollars into their account each month.
Is this correct?

If your purchasing property, what options does the buyer have...if the seller doesn't have any US Bank accounts?
I don´t know about Canadian funds but USD can be transfered to Actinver in Mexico via their Bank of America account in Houston Tx.. Actinver has a branch in Texas and hold the funds there in their B of A account and when you need the money in Mexico they take 48 hours to get it into your account. The limit is not a problem as your transfer to their B of A account has to be a US bank´s wire transfer.
 

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Good information.

There may also be different rules for Mexican Citizens (not sure)?

Regardless, It's good to know others have found ways to navigate around these restrictions.
I'm feeling better about when my wife and I are ready to purchase something in Mexico.
 

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Good information.

There may also be different rules for Mexican Citizens (not sure)?

Regardless, It's good to know others have found ways to navigate around these restrictions.
I'm feeling better about when my wife and I are ready to purchase something in Mexico.
We used my wife´s Actinver investment account and she is a Mexican National. I don´t think when Actinver reported the transfer to SAT they tax it, they didn´t tax her one cent for the transfer. Also when it arrives in Mexico it is still in USD and you can exchange it when you want and ask for a better exchange rate when larger sums. Then you can wire transfer it to a Mexican bank account or the Notaria office´s bank account with no limit on the amount. [there might be a limit on many millions of pesos, I don´t know]

It appears having an investment account at one of these companies is better than dealing with a Mexican bank in general for large sums, according to what I understand. As of Jan. 1st 2014 SAT has access to all bank accounts in Mexico when they want with no court order.
 

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I have an account at Scotiabank in Mexico and a B of A account in the US. I have transferred amounts greater than $7,000 USD on more than one occasion. Through my on-line banking at B of A, I was able to set up my Scotia account as a transfer account and can then transfer money at any time.

Now, it is not cheap. B of A charges me $35 USD for each transfer. They also "skim-off" on the exchange rate; generally giving me about .5 pesos less than the at-the-time published exchange rate. That is why I usually wait and transfer larger amount rather than transferring smaller amounts more often.

As for ATM's, I have had excellent results with my Ally Bank ATM Card. Ally generally gives me something very close to the published exchange rate when I make an ATM withdrawal. Plus, there is no monthly fee for the account and no charges for ATM withdrawals. In fact, when I am charged fees by the Mexican ATM, Ally reimburses those fees at the end of the month.
 

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I did a quick search, and it seems a Mexican Bank Customer can only be allowed to receive/transfer $7,000 Dollars into their account each month.
Is this correct?

If your purchasing property, what options does the buyer have...if the seller doesn't have any US Bank accounts?
The $7,000 USD (Dollars) limit refers to actual cash currency. ACH and wire transfers in $USD can be made to USD$ accounts in Mexican banks. These USD$ accounts are now limited to those living near the frontier with the USA. For a while you could open a USD$ account in the interior but no longer (we had one at HSBC in EDOMEX)

To send larger amounts into the interior of Mexico to buy a home, car or another expensive item you can use a wire transfer. The USD$ in your USA bank account are used to buy pesos and then the pesos are wired into your Mexican bank account. You are sending pesos not dollars. We used wire transfers when we purchased our home. A fee was charged by our bank in the USA and the receiving bank in Mexico. Although our USA bank was a subsidiary of a major international bank it did not have any commercial operations in Mexico so a correspondent bank was used to make the exchange of USD$ into MXN Pesos with a resulting fee which lowered the exchange rate we received.

The fees charged by the banks are highly variable depending on several factors; your relationships with the banks, the amount of currency you are sending and whether the bank has operations in both the USA and Mexico which would negate the use of a middleman bank to do the exchange.

More on the limits from FinCEN (U. S. Treasury)

FIN-2010-A007

Typical Current Requisites for a USD$ account in Mexico (BBVA Bancomer)

http://www.bancomer.com/personas/pdf/ficha-maestra-dolares-frontera.pdf
 

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As others have posted, the best thing is to have a U.S. bank account and withdraw pesos as you need them. I have withdrawn as much as 8,000 pesos thru Bank of America/Santander ATM with no bank charge; international fee is less than $2. If you're going to carry a lot of cash, put it in different parts of your baggage, etc.
 
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