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Banking in Cancun Mexico

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Mexico is similar to European and Canadian banking in that there are only a few large banks throughout the entire country. There are no foreign banks here except for Citibank and several banks from Spain. The line-ups are always crazy at the banks because most Mexicans are not yet Internet savvy. Most of the banks have internet sites and you can pay your bills on-line though it is a bit difficult and cumbersome.

I recommend a bank not on Tulum Avenue because the line-ups are the worst there. Open an account at Market 28. You can get cheques cashed from your account back home at special places here in Cancun once you have established yourself. The cost is 1 to 1-1/2%. They will give you foreign currency or pesos. Wire transfer arrangements can be made for buying a house/apartment or a car at these special banks. Western Union in Cancun is run by Bital, one of the banks. If someone wants to send cash in 15 minutes then use this service. It is pricey but fast. PayPal is now available in Mexico too

Foreign Exchange
Rates to convert 1 unit of your currency into Mexican Pesos

Currency Mexican Pesos
US Dollar US Dollar n/a
British Pound British Pound n/a
Australian Dollar Australian Dollar n/a
Canadian Dollar Canadian Dollar n/a
Euro Euro n/a
Swiss Franc Swiss Franc n/a

Source: Rates Unavailable

Here are some pointers:

  • You can't open a bank account unless you have an Immigration permit (FM3 or FM2).
  • Accounts can only be in Mexican Pesos unless your are independently wealthy (U.S. accounts start at USD $25,000). So don't close your account back home. I have heard that this is now changing.
  • Keep MXP 2,500 average in your account and there will never be a monthly service charge. This amount varies depending on the bank you choose... Bancomer is 1,000 pesos but in practice they nail me every couple of months for 25 pesos for some fee. Bancomer has a funny Visa "Electron" card that they give you right away but it only works on the internet. In my opinion use Banamex as they gave me a real Visa debit card after only being here for 2 years (and a regular debit card right away).
  • Most banks require that you be living here for at least 5 years to get a credit card.
  • Ask for Internet access to your account to avoid the lines. The Internet Banking is not up to US/Canadian standards and it is a bit frustrating but it is functional.
  • At most Banamex's get a ticket from the machine when you go in the bank and wait until your number is shown on the display. The display will tell you the number and the wicket number to go to. Try to use the same ATM branded machine as your bank to avoid all service charges.
  • Pay your bills either on the Internet or sometimes at any store by the name of Oxxo (no lineups).
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