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hermano

Oct 26, 2003, 8:40 AM

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Money in San Miguel.

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¡Hola a todos! I'm planning a month's stay in San Miguel in the spring of 2004, and am in a bit of a quandary about how to handle the money situation there. Our State Department strongly suggests traverler's checks; however, some locals there tell me they are a hassle. Some advise opening an account at a Mexican bank, while others say, "please don't!" My local US bank will no longer honor debit card withdrawals on their accounts when these withdrawals emanate from Mexico because of many incidents of credit card fraud. Some SMA residents have suggested opening an account at Lloyd's. Any more suggestions?! ¡Ayúdenme por favor!

Hermano



Uncle Jack


Oct 26, 2003, 9:09 AM

Post #2 of 25 (7937 views)

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Re: [hermano] Money in San Miguel.

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Get yourself a new stateside bank! Most all reputable US banks allow ATM withdrawls worldwide. Many, many of us living here in Mexico have our resources deposited in US banks and use ATM cards to withdraw funds here on a regular basis. I use Wells Fargo with no problems so far. A lot of people use California Commerce Bank which is owned by Citibank who also owns Banamex down here....easy transfers.

uj


jennifer rose

Oct 26, 2003, 9:14 AM

Post #3 of 25 (7934 views)

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Re: [hermano] Money in San Miguel.

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For a single month's stay, I would not recommend opening a Mexican bank account. Nor even an account at Lloyd's -- unless you intend to maintain the account for investment purposes.

Your local bank won't permit the use of an ATM card abroad? Have you discussed this with your banker? ATM cards for cash withdrawals are the easiest route short of carrying cash hidden in your underwear. Have you a conventional credit card? Use that for charges which permit its use.

Personally, I consider traveler's check a damn nuisance, but if you have no better alternative, then they may be your option of last resort.

FWIW, the same version of currency is recognized in San Miguel de Allende as is used throughout the rest of the republic.


ET

Oct 26, 2003, 9:16 AM

Post #4 of 25 (7933 views)

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Re: [hermano] Money in San Miguel.

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"hermano" writes:
...My local US bank will no longer honor debit card withdrawals on their accounts when these withdrawals emanate from Mexico because of many incidents of credit card fraud...


Unless you have very high cash flow requirements, opening a local account, whether it be with a Mexican bank or an investment firm such as Lloyds, simply to be able to access cash for a one month stay is absurd. You need to have a discussion with your bank about their debit card restrictions; if they answer in the negative depending on your need to maintain a relationship with them you should consider either switching your banking to a bank that does allow you to make debit card withdrawals from Mexico, or opening a supplemental account with another financial institution which again permits debit card withdrawals.

As long you select a US financial institution that doesn't maul you with "foreign" ATM withdrawal fees, using ATM/debit cards to withdraw cash from Mexican bank ATMs is in my opinion the lowest hassle and most cost effective way to access funds in the amounts needed for day-to-day living. Cashing traveler's checks in banks requires time and costs more in terms of exchange rate discounts; using a third-party exchange agency ("Casa de Cambio") typically entails a higher exchange rate discount except in highly touristed areas where there's more competitive pressure; and using the checks in a store is only feasible in more tourist-oriented areas where you'll pay in the form of a serious exchange rate discount.


hermano

Oct 26, 2003, 4:16 PM

Post #5 of 25 (7892 views)

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Re: [Uncle Jack] Money in San Miguel.

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Thank you, Uncle Jack! I speak with my banker tomorrow!

Hermano


hermano

Oct 26, 2003, 4:21 PM

Post #6 of 25 (7890 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Money in San Miguel.

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Thank you, Jennifer. I speak with my banker tomorrow! BTW, what does FWIW stand for?

Hermano


hermano

Oct 26, 2003, 4:22 PM

Post #7 of 25 (7890 views)

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Re: [ET] Money in San Miguel.

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Thank you, ET, for your advice. I will speak with my banker tomorrow!

Hermano


elcomputo

Oct 26, 2003, 9:10 PM

Post #8 of 25 (7872 views)

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Re: [hermano] Money in San Miguel.

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I made the mistake of getting Amex travelers checks before coming down here. I tried to cash one in Reynosa at a Banamex, and they did not accept Amex. They pointed me to Bancomer. It was a tedious, 45-minute process to get the things cashed. But that was child's play compared to the utter misery I had with Bancomer in Jalapa and SMA. (This is a bank I would NEVER consider doing business with for any reason.)

But, I then discovered there is, first, an American Express office in SMA where you can get up to 4000 pesos a day, at a good exhange rate, and, two, a cambio right off the Jardin that cashes travelers checks with no hassle at all.

So, travelers checks are no problem in SMA, but that's not necessarily true anyplace else down here. (And I doubt that there is any business in Mexico that accepts them.)


El Gringo Nuevo

Oct 26, 2003, 11:47 PM

Post #9 of 25 (7867 views)

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Re: [hermano] Money in San Miguel.

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Could it be "For What Its Worth"?


hermano

Oct 27, 2003, 5:31 AM

Post #10 of 25 (7860 views)

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Re: [El Gringo Nuevo] Money in San Miguel.

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That's it! I'm not up on all these acronyms, but that's a good one!

Hermano


Alde38

Nov 14, 2003, 1:00 PM

Post #11 of 25 (7740 views)

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Re: [hermano] Money in San Miguel.

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I live in Queretaro a place near from San Miguel de Allende. My suggestion could be:
Why you don´t ask to some mexican-american peoples how do they send money to their family here??? Could help you.

Regards, alde38


hermano

Nov 14, 2003, 1:51 PM

Post #12 of 25 (7734 views)

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Re: [Alde38] Money in San Miguel.

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¡Muchas gracias! Buena sugerencia, y siendo yo profesor del español, conozco a varios mexicanos que viven aquí en las montañas de Carolina del Norte.

Suerte.

Hermano


jeffsitka

Nov 14, 2003, 3:28 PM

Post #13 of 25 (7725 views)

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Re: [hermano] Money in San Miguel.

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I've used travelers checks on each of my trips to Mexico. I've never been refused at a casa de cambio and every town of any size seems to have one. I used to cash checks at the bank in order to get the best exchange rate, but what a hassle! The casas de cambio usually have better hours and the difference in the rate is miniscule. Some businesses do accept travelers checks. I've used them a few times at hotels or stores, but I sure wouldn't count on it.

For my part, I don't like debit cards and don't use them at home or abroad. I use my credit card in Mexico as much as possible for the air miles and the convenience.


(This post was edited by jeffsitka on Nov 14, 2003, 3:29 PM)


gbatrucks


Nov 19, 2003, 2:18 PM

Post #14 of 25 (7660 views)

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Re: [elcomputo] Money in San Miguel.

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ALSO, WHEN YOU CASH AMEX CHECKS AT THE AMEX OFFICE, THEY WILL RECONVERT UNUSED LOCAL CURRENCY BACK INTO $$ IF YOU HAVE KEPT YOUR RECEIPT...AT LEAST THEY DO IN EUROPE.
"The trouble with life is there's no background music."


elcomputo

Nov 19, 2003, 4:37 PM

Post #15 of 25 (7646 views)

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Re: [jeffsitka] Money in San Miguel.

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I guess it depends on what cambio you choose. The first one I tried, in Reynosa, refused to cash a traveler's check, and I assumed that was generally cambio policy until I used one in SMA.


rollajane

Nov 29, 2003, 11:21 AM

Post #16 of 25 (7591 views)

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Re: [hermano] Money in San Miguel.

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I have my retirement check deposited in the Bank of American and use ATM machines. Also have mexican bank account and an account at Lloyds. Rolla


hermano

Nov 29, 2003, 12:54 PM

Post #17 of 25 (7582 views)

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Re: [rollajane] Money in San Miguel.

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Thank you for your post, Rollajane. I would be interested in knowing how your experience with Lloyd has been.

¡Gracias!

Hermano


rollajane

Nov 29, 2003, 2:22 PM

Post #18 of 25 (7573 views)

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Re: [rollajane] Money in San Miguel.

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I have done business with Lloyds for over 10 yrs and they have always been great to do business with. Rolla


rollajane

Nov 30, 2003, 7:52 AM

Post #19 of 25 (7547 views)

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Re: [hermano] Money in San Miguel.

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I had an ATM fraud because someone got my card from my puse, in my home, and also got into my desk and got my pin number. My bank in the US honored my loss of $600. You must get all the proper documentation ie: file a stolen loss report with the prison (that is where the office is located). If you don't speak FLUENT spanish you must take an interperter. My bank then sent me forms that had to be notorized. The American Counsel is the only recognized notary for US papers and he charges $30 US dollars per signature. Mine was four withdrawals so it would have cost me $120 US dollars to have these papers notorized. We were going to the states within 2 weeks so we took them to Bank of America and had them notorized. The long and short of this story. As others have said ask someone higher in authority at your bank or change American banks. Bank of America does honor Mexican withdrawals. Jane R


Carol Schmidt


Nov 30, 2003, 9:17 AM

Post #20 of 25 (7535 views)

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Re: Using Lloyd's

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We've used Lloyd's too, and everyone I know who uses them has only raves. You can call in the morning to have a check for cash waiting for you when you go in (has to be before 1 pm each day) and then cash it right there at the teller window, or you can wait a few minutes longer if you don't call ahead. They will also issue a check directly to someplace like a hospital in an emergency if you call and tell them you need a large sum.

Some people we know do withdraw most of their money shortly before a presidential election and then wait a few weeks while things settle down--just a precaution, I guess the economy has been known to get volatile after a turnover in the past.

During Mexico's economic mess in the '90s, Lloyd's was paying huge interest, I think I remember the figure of 48% a year, 4% a month! At least that's what I've heard, I don't have first-hand knowledge of that. Now it's around 6% a year depending on the kind of account you get, but that's still better than most banks in the US. You do need to deposit at least $1000US for the basic account most people get, and more for other kinds of accounts.

We haven't gotten our SS check switched over to direct deposit in Mexico yet--it's been convenient to keep it at the Phoenix bank we've used for many years, and we use ATM's here in SMA to withdraw our spending money. We actually have it set up so we have two accounts there so we can withdraw the limit in a day from each of them, I think $400US each a day (some banks have lower limits), which is close to 9000 pesos.

Like using any ATM, you have to think ahead if you're going to need more cash on hand than that and get advances over several days, or go to Lloyd's. Lloyd's is about a six-block walk for us from where we live (hard to find parking there so we walk when we go) and the ATM is half a block, so we get lazy sometimes.

Carol Schmidt


hermano

Nov 30, 2003, 2:19 PM

Post #21 of 25 (7515 views)

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Re: [rollajane] Money in San Miguel.

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What a shame about your burglary, but luckily you were reimbursed (but what a lot of trouble!). Thanks for the information.

Blessings.

Hermano


hermano

Nov 30, 2003, 2:22 PM

Post #22 of 25 (7513 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] Using Lloyd's

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Thank you, Carol, for your very interesting and informative post. A lot to think about, ¿eh?

Blessings.

Hermano


lphoa

Dec 9, 2003, 8:56 PM

Post #23 of 25 (7456 views)

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Re: [hermano] Money in San Miguel.

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Dear Hermano:

I spend several months each year in SMA....and I do use Travelers Checks to purchase Pesos. They are not a hassle. However, I also use the many ATMs in town, to get pesos. I use the USAA Bank ATM card (San Antonio TX) and they do not charge an ATM fee.

Travelers Checks are very good, and the Cambios on Calle Correo change them happily. You will be asked for photo ID, but if you're staying a while, the cashiers will get to recognize you and the transaction will go faster.

I find using the Cambios much faster than using the banks like Banamex.

There is a handy ATM at the entrance of Banorte on Calle San Francisco which gives both US Dollars & Pesos. Also, that ATM requires only a quick "swipe" of the card, and you're on your way.

If you deposit dollars into Lloyd's, they become Pesos, and I do not use their deposit services.


lphoa

Dec 9, 2003, 9:06 PM

Post #24 of 25 (7455 views)

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Re: [jeffsitka] Money in San Miguel.

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That is a good idea. When I come to SMA, I stay for several months. I bring along my laptop, and that allows me to use my credit card, and then each month to pay the statement online while in Mexico. I use the USAA Bank in San Antonio TX, and they have an ATM card which charges no fee for so called "foreign" ATMs.

On the way to Mexico however, I stop first at an IBC Bank in San Antonio or Laredo, and purchase a good supply of pesos, to get me along the way.
Jim


hermano

Dec 10, 2003, 9:45 AM

Post #25 of 25 (7434 views)

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Re: [lphoa] Money in San Miguel.

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Dear Iphoa,

Thank you so much for your kind response. I have made a note of the places where I can cash Traveler's Checks. I am really looking forward to my stay in SMA. This old monk hasn't had a vacation in many decades!

Hermano
 
 
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