Today we’re going to be talking about exchanging money in Mexico. W have dollars. We brought dollars to Mexico because we believe that in Mexico it will be easy to change dollars into pesos because it’s highly accepted. When I went to Costa Rica, I was able to use dollars absolutely everywhere. In nicaragua, they prefer dollars to cordobas. So I figured the same thing would be in Mexico.
Issues Exchanging Money in Mexico
How wrong were we? First, there’s nowhere to really exchange money at all. Like, we figured over the Mexican border while crossing. No, there’s nobody doing it at all. They are completely uninterested in buying your dollars.
As in, at one point, it was the place to do it. So they’re like, okay, go to the banks. We get to San Cristobal, we go to, like, six different banks. Nobody wants dollars. Not a single bank wants your dollars. No one changes dollars to pesos. So we are screwed because we only have dollars.
Credit Cards and Debit Cards
We have our credit cards and debit card. I’ve actually never had the need to really use my debit card when traveling to take money out of the ATM. So this time I’m like, all right, let’s do it. I found a bank. I got the money out. No problem.
They give up to, I think, 9000 pesos, which is almost $450 maximum that you could take out per day. So I took out the machine. Obviously, the bank itself told me a certain fee that will be charged. I have no problem with that. It still is a pretty good exchange rate.
Places to Exchange Money
We did find a place where they exchange money without passports or anything. I have $20 bills. The $20 bills are hated even more than the rest. The exchange rate, which is overall right now, as of today, is about 19 pesos. $87. They exchange 18 pesos if you have $50 or $100 bills, but it’s 17.8 if you have $ 20 for the pesos. So we did just another $100.
I was kind of curious when I got back to check my bank to see how it went on the first day, it just showed me a really great exchange rate. It was almost 19 pesos, 80 centavos, no problem. But here’s the thing. The next day, I guess it takes 24 hours, one business day for the fees to come out.
Those fees got me to the point where now I am racing to see how to open up another bank account where I could do this. The bank in Mexico charged me $5 if I used a bank, which I didn’t know about. This is after I found out, after calling my bank, if I use the bank that is affiliated with my bank in the United States. Every bank all over the world has some affiliation, so you could find out regardless of what country you are in. They do credit me back that fee.
However, my personal bank charges me 3% international fee for whatever I take out. I had almost $20 in fees.
Here’s the thing guys. My husband is now using his Guatemalan debit card. Much better. So far we’ve had no fees, but we are testing it out.
Here is my huge recommendation
It doesn’t matter which country you live in because every country today has a debit card that you could use internationally. Find out what are the fees, and what banks are associated and affiliated with your bank, so you will get credit for using that ATM in that country. And most importantly of all, find out if you have international fees.
There are quite a lot that don’t have any international fees at all. So you don’t get charged and they credit you back your ATM fees.
All of this is easy to find out. I personally didn’t even bother asking because I’m shocked that any bank even charges international fees anymore. But I don’t use my credit cards for ATM withdrawals. So this is your huge homework. Before you go traveling, talk to your bank about your debit card.
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