Jul 16, 2010, 8:00 AM
Post #24 of 48
By the time you hit the door you have been flagged for a mugging.
The naivete seems to be coming from others, not Dawg. One does not go to the bank and withdraw large sums of money to carry around in the street in Mexico where it is common practice to affect large cash payments with interaccount or interbank funds transfers between parties to settle business transactions. I do believe that is a reiteration of my previous advice to readers who are not used to doing business in Mexico. For example, when we closed on our home in Chiapas purchased from a local Chiapas family in pesos, we, upon completion of the necessary paperwork, transferred the agreed large sum of money from our Mexican bank account to the seller´s bank account. No one - not we nor the seller - was foolish enough to encash pesos and walk out into the street with bundles of cash. Same with the home purchase for dollars in Ajijic where the funds were wired to the seller´s U.S. bank as most foreign sellers at Lake Chapala require to close a real estate transaction. When we bought a car at a large dealership in Guadalajara, we presented the dealer with a cashier´s check. Merchandise and service vendors including hoteliers, hospitals, doctors, furniture and appliance dealers, etc. settle with debit or credit card payments, inter-account bank transfers, personal checks drawn on Mexican banks or Mexican bank originated cashier´s checks. Don´t forget that guy I cited above who walked out of a highly reputable Mexican bank in the nicest part of San Cristóbal de Las Casas with $400,000 Pesos to purchase a house from another local living in the semi-lawless rural surroundings of San Cristóbal and was almost immediately gunned down for the money in the street. If one is dealing with a local to, say, buy rural property and the local has no bank account, insisting, instead on cash only - an often unwise transaction on its surface for a foreigner - one goes to the bank with the local person, withdraws the properly receipted cash and lets the local person leave the bank with the cash on his or her person thereby taking the risk of robbery personally.
In ten years in Mexico, I have never walked out of a bank with more than the equivalent of a couple of thousand USD and then quite rarely and most discreetly. In any case, I never leave with funds I can´t afford to lose on the spot. Yet I have, as stated above, purchased two houses, a car and a substantial amount of appliances and furniture since we have been here. Never have we found it necessary to walk out of a bank anywhere in Mexico with substantial amounts of cash and would not dream of bringing large amounts of cash into Mexico no matter how we entered the country - especially undeclared in in excess of the amount allowed without declaration - which is illegal. If one does not declare the cash and has, therefore committed an illegal act, how does one complain to the authorities if one is the subject of a robbery at or beyond the border? Not that it matters since you´ll never see that money again anyway.
As for the security at Mexican banks; I find the security measures at the two nationally chartered banks with which I do business to be more stringent - to the point, sometimes of aggravation - than those security measures imposed by my U.S. bank. Even so, I have one rule that I have discussed several times in the past on these forums. Only bring into Mexico cash in banks or investments in real estate or investment instruments, money you can afford to lose. Our primary bank is in the United States and that is where our social security payments are electronically transferred. The money we have in Mexican banks is sufficient to cover our local everyday needs with some extra cushion for emergencies. We have no Mexican investments outside of real estate and would never assume the exhange or sovereign risk associated with such investments much less the risk associated with placing investment funds in a foreign financial institution whose financial strength is impossible to gauge in the land of no transparency.
Mexico´s largely cash economy is plagued with money laundering and illicit transfers of cash for any number of reasons and the government is trying to clamp down of this corruption. I wouldn´t mess with them if I were you.
For those of you just coming down here to live, establish a sound banking relationship with a U.S. bank or bank in your country of origin along with a debit card for ATM transactions and bring along that debit card along with sufficient cash to get to your destination. When you get to your destination, use the debit card until you can open a bank or investment house account where funds can be wired from your foreign bank and you will be set for any major transaction such as a real estate purchases. There is no question but that Mexican banks charge more fees, which are sometime exhorbitant, than U.S. banks although U.S. banks are upping their fee schedules these days but that´s the way it is here in your adopted land. You will find that most, if not all banks, will waive basic account maintenance fees if you maintain certain minimum balances which are quite small for the convenience of maintaining a local bank account. No matter, even with higher banking fees you will save so much money by living in Mexico as opposed to the U.S. or Europe, you will still come out way ahead.
By the way, I am writing this for new people moving down here not the above respondents. Whatever you folks do, do not carry large, declarable sums of money with you when you first come down here. It ´s way too dangerous as well as illegal.
(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Jul 16, 2010, 8:23 AM)