Life is great in dollars, especially in Mexico where the exchange rate increases your buying power. However, have you considered how much money you are losing by not having a Mexican bank account? When you open a bank account in Mexico, you access a host of benefits while avoiding some of the disadvantages.
Advantages of opening a bank account
There are many advantages to having a Mexican bank account. Some are about practicality and others about saving money, but all are definitely worth checking it out.
- First, you avoid paying fees for ATM withdrawals. The fees range from $1 USD to $5 USD, and are honestly unnecessary. Open a bank account and those are gone. But wait, there is more.
- Avoid the exchange rate discounts from ATM withdrawals. Every bank and ATM has its own percentage of the exchange rate they take out of your withdrawal. If that day 1 USD is 20 pesos and you want to withdraw 200 USD, the bank might might discount 1 peso from every dollar, and you would receive 180 USD. By the way, that discount can be much greater.
To avoid transfer charges from ATMs, the exchange rate of Transferwise is always much more beneficial. Try it!
- Some companies only accept Mexican cards. That is the case with most vendors with MercadoLibre, the Mexican equivalent to Amazon.
- Lost your card? Get another. If you lose the credit card from the US, Canada, or wherever you are from; it could be a real headache to get another one. Don’t put yourself in a difficult situation replacing your US or Canadian card. With a Mexican card, you go to the bank and ask for another. Sure there is paperwork, especially if you were a victim of theft or fraud, but it is preferable to deal with a local branch.
- Paying with bank transfers. Many businesses accept payments through bank transfer, and it is very common in Mexico. Setting up bank transfers is easy and fast. You can also use this method to pay your utilities.
- The tracking system of the National Bank of Mexico brings transparency and safety. Banxico offers a way to know the state of transfers for all parties involved in an operation, helping you to take action if a transfer gets lost, or in case you were a victim of fraud.
Requirements to open a bank account
It is relatively easy to open a bank account in Mexico. Especially if you have a resident visa. The three basic requirements to open your bank account are:
- A valid identification (i.e. your passport).
- Your residency card (or your tourist visa in some banks).
- A proof of address (‘Comprobante de domicilio’). This one is any utility bill you may have, or your property tax receipt.
- A minimum deposit (it ranges between 750 and 1500 pesos, between 40 and 70 US dollars). Some expats recommend keeping the balance above 1,000 pesos to avoid fees, but it will depend on the bank.
What about my Immigration Status?
Immigration Status is very important for opening a bank account in Mexico. You will need a temporary or permanent resident visa in order to request for an account. Those visas are the FM3 and FM2, your Migrant Card in Mexico. In turn, when you have them, Mexico gives you a CURP (your unique ID as a person in Mexico). Bring both to the bank, and you’re all set!
There are options for people without a resident visa, but you will have to check branch by branch. In that case, you will need your passport and your tourist visa (the one they give you at the airport).
Need more info for expats? Check our website.