July 15, 2014
Cashing US checks at Mexican banks, transferring money into Mexico, and avoiding big ATM fees has definitely become more difficult since the US Govt’s July 1 FATCA new rule additions. Some banks and financial institutions are now saying there are additional new US govt. rule changes coming in August, which has left some bank’s check cashing and transfer policies in limbo until they deal the with rule changes and figure out their costs and consequences, but there are still many good options. This post attempts to summarize the current common options for moving money from the USA to Mexico.
Since some bank’s policies are temporarily in flux, and others are on hold, we’re waiting until any August rule changes to finally settle in, creating new long-term bank policies, before we write a full summary article on what’s available, but here’s a snapshot of people’s first-hand reports of their July 2014 experiences with their banks.
ATMs are still a good option for getting cash out in Mexico (see details below). Readers should note that there have been sporadic problems with ATMs being modified by thieves installing skimmers, so here’s a link to an article on stopping this kind of information theft at ATMs – see about halfway down: http://yucalandia.com/answers-to-common-questions/banking-currency-exchanges-using-credit-cards-atms-in-mexico/
Wells Fargo’s Express Send service is still wiring money from the USA to Mexico. Account holders can send up to $1,500 U.S. per day to certain Mexican banks for $5 USD. One poster described using BBVA Bancomer here to receive the wire. They said there is no charge for receiving if you have an account which can be opened with a $2,000 pesos min. balance/no fee. This process takes 2 days.
In no particular order: Bancomer is still cashing foreign checks for account holders. Intercam currently accepts personal checks from the USA, but some branches are saying they will stop cashing them in August. Actinver is saying they will no longer deposit checks from the USA. Merrill Lynch transfers money for free, if you have enough on deposit with them. Citibank US accounts can transfer $$ for free to MEXICAN Banamex accounts (– but who knows how long that will last… as Banamex goes through regulatory scrutiny and prosecutions: where the Banamex-USA has closed most accounts of US citizens living in Mexico). We can open an HSBC bank account in the US or Canada, and one in Mexico, and then link the accounts and make free transfers between accounts between countries if we deposit enough. The HSBC transferred money appears instantly. XE.com does exchanges from US accounts and transfers within 4 days, but you have to open the XE account from the USA. Capital One 360 debit card has no fees and allows free withdrawals at Banorte ATMs – up to $3,000 pesos a day. Monex still has its fans where you can wire money from any US bank to Monex, and then withdraw funds from Monex Mexico offices. Also note that the information I listed here has eccentric twists like: one way to get around Capital One 360/Banorte’s $3,000 peso a day withdrawal, MultiVa allows withdrawals up to $10,000 pesos a day for about $2 -$3 in fees. Also note that if you have a MultiVa account, then you can currently deposit US checks here in Mexico with them.
**** Be aware that if you start pulling lots of cash from Mexican ATMS, and then making cash deposits to a Mexican account, it creates an electronic “paper” trail that Hacienda/SAT tracks. The good lawyer Spencer McMullen reports that Hacienda then requires the expats (or Mexicans) “to explain why the deposits are not income”. Hacienda/SAT only gives us a short time frame to explain why its not income, or we face taxes, fines and penalties. ****
More news updates next month, when the next round of changes shakes out,
Disclaimer: Note that all of this information is for educational and entertainment purposes only, it is not meant as financial advice. Please see a competent professional for all important tax and investment questions, and contact your financial institution to find out their current policies.
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