Tag Archives: pesos

How to Send Money to Mexico: 7 Easy Steps

My friend Jackie just wrote to me.  A young Mexican woman she met some years ago returned to Mexico and is now getting married.  Jackie wants to send her money as a wedding gift and asked me if I knew how to do that.  We do this often and this is how we manage the transaction.
  1. You need to get the complete first and last two names of the person you want to send money to.  Make certain of the spelling.  Sometimes “s” and “z” are interchangeable and it needs to be exactly as it appears on their legal documentation.  
  2. Ask them what bank is closest to them where they either have an account or conduct banking transactions — where it is most convenient for them to pick up money.  They do not have to have an account.  It just needs to be the name of the bank and the location (village or district or street address).  
  3. Go to your bank and tell them you want to wire money to Mexico.  You tell them the name of the bank and its location (city, address).  My bank (Bank of America) has a service called Safe Send.  I can wire up to $1,500 USD per month to Mexico with no charge.  
  4. You give your bank the money.  
  5. They fill out a form on the computer.  They give you a “key code.”  You send the key code to the person who you want to receive the money in Mexico.  I do this via email.
  6. They go to their bank and give the teller the code and show their ID with their complete name (as above).  
  7. They receive their money.
Note:  You might want to check with your bank FIRST to see which banks they can send money to in Mexico.  See where the bank locations are in the city or town where the recipient lives.  Find out which branch is easiest for your recipient to get to before you do the transaction.  Decide this together.

Look Upstairs! Money Machines at the Oaxaca Airport

Travelers to Oaxaca–Take Note!

Santander, Bansi and Banamex ATM Machines

Traveling to Oaxaca and arriving at the Oaxaca, Mexico airport?  Do you need pesos?  As you exit Aduana (customs)  look to your left in the waiting area and you will see a wide stairway that goes up to the second floor.  In the area just before you enter the restaurant (bathrooms are to the left and very clean), you will see the ATM machines.   A handy place to get money if you are coming directly from Houston to Oaxaca.

Exchange rates from ATMs in Mexico are the best and you get a better rate than when you change dollars at the casa de cambio (money exchange).  Don’t bother with Travelers Cheques–nobody takes them.

Bank of America owns 50% of Santander so there is a reciprocal agreement to waive the usage fee and 3% surcharge if you are a  B of A customer.

And if you are hungry, the restaurant is very good!

Looking down from the ATM machines


From Dollars to Pesos: Changing Money in Oaxaca

What to do?

First, before you leave the U.S., call your bank and tell them you are traveling to Mexico and not to block your credit card!  You will give them departure and return dates.

Now, you have in your pocket a handful of dollars, a credit or debit card and you are flying direct from Houston to Oaxaca.  If you plan to take a taxi or shuttle van from the Oaxaca airport to your hotel in the city or to Teotitlan del Valle, you will need pesos to pay for the ride.  In this case, you will need use a money exchange service at the Houston airport.  It will cost you a little more in the exchange rate (fewer pesos) but you will not be inconvenienced.  I recommend changing $50 USD this way to get you started until you can get to an ATM.

The Oaxaca airport ATM is on the second floor mezzanine. 

There is no ATM in Teotitlan del Valle!

There are plenty of ATM’s in Oaxaca city!

ATM’s give you the best exchange rate.  Do not use Traveler’s Checks.  They are useless.  No one accepts them.

If you use a money changer or bank — to change dollars to pesos — you will need to present your Passport.

If you are connecting in Mexico City, be sure to use one of the many ATMs there in the international airport to get pesos.  I only use ATMs and avoid the money exchanges.  It cost more to change dollars to pesos from a money exchange than it does to withdraw pesos from an ATM.  Leave your dollars in your checking account and use ATMs.

If you are a Bank of America customer, there is no service/transaction fee charged when you withdraw cash from a Santander Bank ATM.  B of A owns 50% of them!

Where to Find ATM’s in Oaxaca city? These are clustered on Av. Independencia across from the Zocalo between Macedonio Alcala and Av. Garcia Virgil.  There are also banks on Garcia Virgil between Independencia and Morelos.  Banks with ATMs can also be found on the Periferico in the major shopping center that houses Fabricas de Francia and Soriana,  and on Heros de Chapultepec on MEX 190 as you head out of the historic district toward Teotitlan del Valle.

Mexican banks are Santander, Bansefi, Banamex, Bancomer, HSBC, ScotiaBank, and Banorte.  Santander is partly owned by Bank of America.  If you are a Bank of America customer there are no service fees to use the ATM.

Rural Mexico is a cash economy. Only larger merchants take credit cards (along with hotels and restaurants) because it costs so much (over five percent) for them to pay the fees.  Many shops will offer a 10% discount if you use cash.

If you are traveling to Teotitlan del Valle and staying there, you can either get pesos at an ATM in Oaxaca city before you leave town, in Santa Maria Tule on your way to the village, or at the ATM in Tlacolula the following day, which is 10 minutes away by taxi or car.  There is a Bansefi in Teotitlan del Valle, but is is used by locals who stand in long lines to get money wired to them from relatives living and working in the U.S.A.  There is not an ATM there.

Concerning personal checks: I always bring a couple of checks.  Small rug merchants in Teotitlan del Valle may take a personal check rather than waiting for you to go to an ATM to get cash If they don’t take a credit card (most don’t).  Make sure your checks are not creased and that there are no tears or folds on the edges.  The money changers are very particular.

Mexperience has a useful description of Mexican banks and how to do banking business in Mexico.