Aug 7, 2011, 5:52 PM
Post #1 of 5
As we ready ourselves for the move to Mexico, we've been attending to setting up our banking situation so we can access funds with minimal hassle once we're SOB. We've learned a lot.
While living anywhere in the US, one can open a savings account with BanamexUSA (headquartered in Los Angeles). Balances in such an account can be tapped free of charge at any ATM in the US CitiBank network, and in Mexico at Banamex. Monthly statements are in both Spanish & English, and so can provide easy proof of income for non-inmigrante visas. Account set up can all be done by email, postal mail & phone. (Send a PM if you want names & extensions for the folks we dealt with at the LA office.)
Once established with a proof of domicile in Mexico, one can add a BanamexUSA “Friendship” checking account tied to the savings accounts. This checking account has paper checks, and can be also used for online bill pay arrangements. All BanamexUSA accounts are in US dollars and are FDIC insured. If you later open an account at a Banamex branch in Mexico, you can transfer funds easily between the peso and dollar accounts
As long as Santander and ScotiaBank continue to honor the arrangement with Bank of America for free ATM use, it makes sense for someone living in an area served by BoA to open an account there. There are other US banks with cross-border relationships, but for us they weren't a good fit, as they did not have offices here in Washington State.
We have discovered that the world currency services offered by Everbank (an online bank headquartered in Florida and New York), are a natural fit for our needs. One can set up an account denominated in any one of about 20 world currencies, including Mexican pesos. As part of the account setup, you also have no fee US dollar a high yield checking account, which serves as a source from which to fund your foreign currency purchases and to receive any funds you have converted back to dollars. You can write dollar checks or set up online bill payments as in any regular bank. Everbank will refund any ATM fees occurred in the US, and postage paid envelopes are provided.
Attached to your dollar checking account can be an "Access Deposit" (money-market type) account in any of the currencies you wish, or also available are 3- and 6-month foreign currency CD's. (Right now, the MXP CD's pay about 2%, and Brazilian Real CD's 5%.) While in MXP for example, the value of your account will rise/fall as the dollar:peso exchange rate varies, plus the accrued interest. Exchange rates are very good, within 1% of the best international interbank rate. When CD's expire, they can automatically renew, deposit into your account in the same currency, or go into the dollar checking account, as desired. If you have used Everbank to convert from dollars into the foreign currency, then bank wire fees are waived, useful for making major purchases in Mexico. All the Everbank accounts, even those in other currencies, are FDIC insured. You can manage all of these linked accounts thru a web interface.