One of the issues that will pop up here on a somewhat regular basis is how to pay for items, especially large ticket items. Unlike Canada and the US, ATM’s can be few and far between, mainly located at banks or in larger malls and unlike Canada and the USA where you cant swing a coconut without hitting either a bank branded or private labelled ATM, not many exist down here and not every ATM will dispense the same amount and not every ATM will accept Canadian or American cards. On the upside, most ATM’s will give you a choice of Spanish or English instructions or display Spanish on top with English underneath.  On top of this, there are exchange fee’s, foreign cash fee’s, etc, etc etc which make for expensive multiple withdrawals. To compound the issue a lot of contractors, service staff, helpers etc do not have PayPal or xoom accounts and here at the beach “Cash is King” , We will never recommend carrying or hoarding large amounts of cash, that is just not prudent anywhere, and besides, once you hand over cash you have about as much protection as using a mesh condom. So what to do…here is a few hints

  • Bank StatementWire transfer from your home bank to the recipients Mexican bank account, this is a costly option as fees range from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars depending on the amount wired, but it is backed by your own bank and recoverable should the money go “missing”,
  • Have the recipient set up a PayPal account, ensure that you send money for “buying goods or services” that way PayPal guarantees the transaction, if you use “send money to a friend” option, hope your friend is trustworthy, if the PayPal account is new, PayPal may limit the amount they can withdraw or transfer or hold the funds for a period of time,
  • Have the recipient set up a Xoom account, same as PayPal (actually owned by PayPal) but a bit quicker as it is from bank account to bank account,
  • Set up a Mexican bank account, while some banks require permanent residency, BBVA and Intercam will set up accounts for those with temporary residency as well, I know of no banks that will set up accounts for those on a tourist visa,
  • Pick your providers with care

See you on the beach….

Steve “The Beach Gringo in Chief” Patterson