Moving money?
02-17-2018, 05:19 PM,
Moving money?
So we arrive on May 1st, and a question occurred to me. We're no doubt going to open a bank account with a local bank once we're settled, but in terms of moving money into the account, what are our options? We obviously don't want to have too much money sitting in the account at any one time, but getting money from our US banks to our Mexican bank? A wire transfer would be an ongoing expense--can I periodically write a check from my American bank to be deposited to my Mexican bank? Or is there some better way that I'm not imagining? I regularly move (small amounts of) money between a couple of American banks, butI imagine that won't work between nations...
02-17-2018, 05:29 PM, (This post was last modified: 02-17-2018, 05:37 PM by jesm.)
RE: Moving money?
You may get as many suggestions as responses for most find a personally beneficial way to manage their money. Ours is this, our liquid assets are in long time Bank of America accounts. Twice a year we do a $35 wire transfer to our Santander account in GTO. We fudge the six months when a favorable exchange exists. We have a premium client account here so we use debit cards without fees. Convenient, minimum currency risk and $70 per year. Has worked well for 11 years.
Very few banks accept US personal checks. Santander doesn't.
CI Banco a far smaller bank did
02-17-2018, 06:31 PM,
RE: Moving money?
As jesm says, everybody has a different solution. Personally, in eighteen years of living here full-time, I've never seen a need to open a Mexican bank account. I simply use ATMs here to withdraw as necessary from one of my U.S. accounts. It helps that both my bank (USAA) and my investment company (Fidelity) reimburse me for all ATM usage fees charged by the local banks. Thus my only cost is the minimum 1% exchange rate charged on "interbank" (bank to bank) transactions.

If you ask enough people, some will insist that they somehow manage to get funds from U.S. banks without paying any exchange rate at all. They are mistaken, but don't try to tell them that.
02-18-2018, 09:26 AM,
RE: Moving money?
Let me second a key point made by Sr. Coulter. Any and all methods of moving and converting money from country to country involve some element of cost. There is no pure free lunch.
02-18-2018, 10:22 AM,
RE: Moving money?
I recently discovered , and it's great. You do need a Mexican bank account to move money into. Their exchange rates are noticeably better than what you get with ATM withdrawals.
02-18-2018, 11:47 AM,
RE: Moving money?
TransferWise may be convenient, but their exchange rates are no better than the rate you get using an ATM card. From the TransferWise website: "You always get the exchange rate you’d see on Google. It’s called the mid-market rate, and it’s the one banks use to trade between themselves." That rate is also known as the interbank rate, which is what I mentioned in my earlier comment. It's the rate used by all banks, and there's no way to avoid it.

Now, an ATM withdrawal can cost you more than just that exchange rate. The Mexican bank that owns the ATM will probably charge a fee. Your bank or other institution back home might charge another fee. (That's why I recommended using institutions that reimburse local ATM fees and don't add their own.) Also, if you're taking a "cash advance" with a Visa, Mastercard, or American Express credit card, prepare to pay about 3% extra, plus interest from the moment of withdrawal, plus the exchange rate and ATM fees. That gets expensive fast.

Bottom line: ATM withdrawals, if you do them right, will cost you no more than a 1% exchange rate. There's no way to beat that rate, with TransferWise or any other method.
02-18-2018, 01:30 PM, (This post was last modified: 02-18-2018, 01:37 PM by datgnat.)
RE: Moving money?
Well, that's certainly making me re-think my decision to start a Mexican bank account. I assumed it would make certain things easier, though I understand a lot more things are paid for with cash there than I might expect. I do have an American account that reimburses ATM fees. Since I don't know what I don't know, would someone care to give me a pro/con on having a Mexican bank account, in terms of month-to-month living? And of course, thanks to all who've replied so far!
02-18-2018, 01:50 PM,
RE: Moving money?
For us the local account means we are not 100% and forever totally dependent upon the massive and sometimes cantankerous electronic data networks that make those ATM withdrawals happen. Even one hiccup would be too dramatic for me.
You are correct, this is largely still a cash and carry society, slowly changing of course, so being able to walk into Santander, hand them my drivers license and account number and be given cash is a great safety net. You can’t survive without a few hundred pesos at hand. I told you it would all be highly personal. It’s about Money you know?
02-23-2018, 10:57 AM,
RE: Moving money?
I'm planning on arriving in GTO around May 1 as well. I like the idea of having a Mexican bank account in the event I can't access U.S. funds due to a technical breakdown (as alluded to by jesm). Can someone advise if you have to have resident status (temp or perm) to open a Mexican bank account? Thank you.
02-23-2018, 11:29 AM, (This post was last modified: 02-23-2018, 11:33 AM by datgnat.)
RE: Moving money?
Here's an overview of web posts I found on the subject. In general, it sounds as though you *might* find a particular branch of a particular bank on a particular day that would open an account on a tourist visa, but things will be much easier if holding a temporal...

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