can you use personal usa checks in mexico

can you use personal usa checks in mexico

can you use personal usa checks in mexico

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can you use personal usa checks in mexico
can you use personal usa checks in mexico

can you use personal use checks in mexico

Writing Checks in Mexico

We’ve written about banking and dealing with banks. But there is one thing about doing business in Mexico (not necessarily just in the Yucatan) that deserves an article of its own: cheques! (that’s pronounced “chek-ays”). In the States, we write checks without thinking about it.

In the States, we’ve had checks cashed that had the wrong date on them, where the number didn’t agree with the written amount…

we’ve even had checks cashed that we forgot to sign! So when we started running into the Mexican way of dealing with checks, we were totally unprepared. In the interest of preparing our readers, therefore, we offer up this synopsis (or is it a rant?) of our hard-won lessons.

Checking accounts

– Opening a checking account in a Mexican bank? Leave yourself at least two hours and bring a friend, a good book or your iPod. Opening a checking account, like many other things in Mexican banking, takes time and patience.

If you don’t speak Spanish, this is one event for which you should persuade a friend or colleague who does speak Spanish to accompany you.

Most banks do not have a lot of English-speaking employees, and there is too much at stake to let something go wrong.

You should be prepared with your passport and probably a few good copies (just to save time). You should also have your FM3 or FM2 visa, especially if you plan to open a business account.

Go ahead, we dare you not to! Make sure your signature matches the signature in your passport. You’re going to need that trusty signature to be true to form in the future, so don’t hesitate to practice in advance.

Checkbooks

– Checkbooks are called chequeras. They are closely controlled here. You’ll get your first one when you open up the account, but it won’t have your name printed on it and not everyone will take those checks (similar to the situation in the States).

But don’t expect the ones printed with your name to be sent to your home. Instead, they will be held at the bank for you to pick up. And unless you have signed a letter designating your friend or office assistant to specifically pick up a checkbook already at the bank.

you have to go to the bank yourself to get them. You have to show your ID (passport) and you have to sign for the chequera.

Using Travelers Checks in Mexico

Travelers Checks are not recommended in Mexico – Nobody accepts them!

OK, here’s the quick and dirty on travelers checks in Mexico. Unless you’re absolutely against carrying a credit card or ATM card, forget about traveler’s checks.

But don’t forget to buy Mexican car insurance before you make the drive to Mexico. Auto insurance for Mexico is required by law. And the easiest way to purchase your Mexican insurance policy is by taking care of it online before you leave home.

Debit Cards and Credit Cards are the recommended choice for money in Mexico

The reason ATMS and credit cards are a better bet in Mexico than traveler’s checks is because there’ve been so many traveler’s checks scams over the years that many merchants in Mexico simply won’t accept them. Even banks may balk at traveler’s checks or require you to stand in line after line to get authorization from a head teller or manager. In fact, you may just end up carrying those traveler’s checks home and cashing them at your own bank. So, if you’re going to have to go through this kind of grief to get more cash, why not just use your ATM or credit card in Mexico instead?

We recommend that you carry enough cash to tide you over for 3 or 4 days, then replenish that cash at a bank or ATM kiosk as you travel. Kiosks are springing up left and right, especially in airports, bus terminals, supermarkets and shopping malls. See our tips to make sure you’re using a safe ATM while you’re in Mexico.

can you use personal usa checks in mexico
can you use personal usa checks in mexico

Last resort while you’re at the resort

If all else fails you financially, the U.S. embassy can help you arrange a funds transfer from someone in the US. It’s unlikely you’ll find yourself in this position, but it’s always nice to know that if you’re driving to Mexico, you won’t have to trade your auto for pesos just to get back home.

The Trouble with Travelers Checks

While some people still bring traveler’s checks to Mexico, they are finding it increasingly difficult to cash them.

There was an era when travelers checks were an item on every packing list, alongside passports and travel insurance. Before ATMs became widespread, they were a safe and convenient way to carry currency on foreign trips.

While some people still bring travelers checks to Mexico, they are finding it increasingly difficult to cash them. Cashing travelers checks has always been a time-consuming activity here due to the verification processes involved;

and the exchange rates on travelers checks are not as attractive as those offered in exchange for foreign currency in cash, or the rates applied by banks when you use an ATM to withdraw funds in local currency via your home bank account.

Here are some tips about using your ATM card:

If you plan to use an ATM to withdraw cash in Mexico, we recommend you use a debit card instead of a credit card: the latter will charge you interest on the cash advance from the date of the withdrawal, even if you pay-off the balance at the end of your charging period, in addition the ATM withdrawal fees;

Check with your bank to find out what charges it makes for using your debit or credit card in Mexico;

If you want to obtain cash in Mexican pesos using your debit card, but don’t want to use ATMs, some local currency exchange houses will give you a cash advance over the counter—be sure to take ID with you to present alongside your debit card. (Most demand to see a passport and won’t accept a driver’s license.) An additional fee might apply if you use this over-the-counter method.

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