Are you traveling or living in Mexico? Would you like to know more about using cash or a card in Mexico? Prepare by reading this blog on money tips in Mexico.
In Mexico, they pay with the Mexican (MXN/MN) Peso, and you can recognize it by the symbol; $. The value fluctuates daily, and we recommend downloading a currency app, such as Currency.
Cash and card
Keep in mind to call your bank (or do it online) that you are traveling to Mexico and will use your card there. This is important as the card may not work otherwise. In our case, it was more economical to use our debit card than the credit card, as the debit one has lower fees. We recommend you do some research at your local bank to get information on the cost of payments abroad and in a different currency. In our experience, you can get money with your debit card at almost any Mexican bank, but fees vary from bank to bank. When you withdraw money from an ATM, the bank may charge you for foreign transactions.
ATMs you could use are Santander, Scotiabank, Banorte, CiBanco, HSBC, and so on (Santander was the cheapest for us). As Dutch students, we could not pay with our debit cards in restaurants, bars, supermarkets, etc. Therefore, we mostly paid in cash and used the credit card as an emergency option. Please pay close attention to where you use your card, don’t use it on every corner at every shop; go by your gut.
Decline exchange rate
When the bank in Mexico asks you to accept their exchange rate; click refuse! This is important to do otherwise they use their own rate while your bank’s rate is cheaper (almost in all cases). This will leave you with some money to buy extra tequila (very important).
It is best to exchange your remaining pesos at your own bank, as they offer you the best rate. If you really need to exchange your money, you can search the internet for Casa de Cambio or Currency Exchange Service. Due to high competition, they say you can find good exchange rates at Mexico City airport.
Opening a bank account
Are you planning to live in Mexico for an extended period? Opening a bank account may be a good option. With most Mexican banks, you will need a temporary or permanent residence card, RFC (registration number for tax collection), passport, proof of address (utility bill or internet account with your name on it), and at least 1,000 Mexican pesos. For more information on opening a bank account, read the Mexican Relocation Guide blog: How To Open A Bank Account In Mexico.
Want other practical tips related to your internship or exchange in Mexico? Check out our blogs by clicking here.