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Banking Questions

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Clueless
sm1mex
Kiri
DaveP
slainte39
David
gringal
asesor
brigitte
Carry Bean
ValeroGeorge
rvanparys
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Klutzy
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Banking Questions Empty Banking Questions

Post by Klutzy Thu Mar 17, 2016 10:33 am

Mornin' all, Happy St. Pat's! I'd appreciate your help with local banking. I bought a house and was given a refund check in pesos and told I should open an account here to pay bills. In the US I have automatic deposit and bill payment and would like to do that here if possible. Which bank would be best, for deposits at least? I have a pension and SS. I'd like a good exchange rate, and I especially want to protect my heirs when I die. Don't want them to have to jump through a million hoops to get their inheritance. I searched the board, but all the posts I found were pretty old, and I think the banking situation has changed in the last few years. One thread said my US bank might close my account if they find out I'm a full timer. Help?? Shocked

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Post by rvanparys Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:07 am

Like you, we recently purchased a house here in Ajijic... We have elected to keep our money in the states as Mexican banks have a suspect reputation. Last week there was a posting about someone who just lost $30k in their account through fraud and the bank said tough cookies... Not a ringing endorsement for that local banker.

As to local banking, it depends on your tolerance for risk... You will read many posts that say "Only deposit what you can afford to lose". That I believe is an excellent caveat.

We have found that our Visa card is welcome at a lot of places we shop and it allows us to track expenses. For day to day cash we use a local ATM. We also have a property manager who pays all of our monthly bills... While this is an additional expense we have found that her recommended tradesmen are excellent and on time and her help exceptional... If you might be interested in her services, PM me.


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Post by RVGRINGO Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:08 pm

My advice: Keep your US banking alive and use bill-pay for US stuff and cash for Mexican stuff. Use a Laredo mail-service address as you mailing address; it is worth the price.
Depending upon a Mexican bank to pay your bills is........foolish. Sooner or later, they will fail and services will be cut off, leaving you to straighten out the mess an pay for re-connection.....some mañana.

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Post by Klutzy Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:24 pm

What you both are recommending is what I'd intended to do until I was given this check and "advice." Can I get the check cashed or use an ATM to deposit it to the US? It's in pesos from a local bank.

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Post by gringal Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:26 pm

I've bared my soul sufficiently on this thread about my banking situation, so I'll only repeat that, although having a Mexican bank account is convenient in many ways, don't put more in it than you can afford to lose.

If you HAVE a U.S bank account right now, hang on to it, because it's just about impossible to open one if the bank knows you are living in Mexico.  I should know. Rolling Eyes

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Post by Trailrunner Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:47 pm

RVGRINGO wrote:My advice: Keep your US banking alive and use bill-pay for US stuff and cash for Mexican stuff.  Use a Laredo mail-service address as you mailing address; it is worth the price.
Depending upon a Mexican bank to pay your bills is........foolish. Sooner or later, they will fail and services will be cut off, leaving you to straighten out the mess an pay for re-connection.....some mañana.

Invaluable advice from a long-experienced Mexico resident. Heed it.

rvanparys: All good except for using the Visa card. This is a cash society, the guys that can clone cards or otherwise fraudulently steal your money will get you sooner or later and you will be left with the mess to clean up and the prayers for your bank to reimburse the loss. Use cash. Use your card for buying over the internet, airline tix, etc. Use cash for everything else.

Klutzy: Why is it that the bank that issued the check cannot/will not cash the check???
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Post by CanuckBob Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:50 pm

I believe Canadian Banks allow foreigner's to open accounts. You just have to do it in person with passport in hand. A lot safer alternative to a Mexican bank. You just need to take a vacation there, open an account, get an ATM card and then have your US Social Security and what not deposited into that account.
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Post by rvanparys Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:03 pm

I understand that this is a cash society... However, both of my banks cover fraud (as they always have) and we have a record of expenditures... We check our accounts on a regular basis and the banks call on odd purchases that show up...

Keeping our money in the States works for us at this time and having a local account just doesn't make sense for us.

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Post by ValeroGeorge Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:08 pm

What Gringal said. Keep that US bank account open as it will be very difficult to open a new bank account in the US once you are no longer a resident. Whatever you do, do not tell them you live full time outside the US. We use our Handy Mail address for all of our mail. If your bank questions that, just tell them you live part time in Mexico but that you are still a legal US resident. Also please be aware of US FBAR and FATCA reporting requirements if you have a foreign bank or investment account.

Mexico is a cash society. We use an ATM for cash. Please be aware that some US banks are now charging a 3% fee for ATM withdrawals. We use a US brokerage which reimburses all local ATM fees and gives a good exchange rate. PM me if you want a recommendation. We do have a local bank account but don't really need it. Banks here do not operate like back home. Forget about writing a check to someone. I would never use a bank here to pay my local bills or utilities. You will get use to the idea of paying your Telmex bill every month and the CFE bill every two months.

Regarding heirs, if you own a house here, you should consider having a Mexican will. For that, here in Mexico, you need to see a Notario not an abogado (lawyer).

Go to the bank here that the check is written on and cash it there.

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Post by Carry Bean Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:27 pm

If you want bill pay for CFE and Telmex, open a local account here at a bank & keep a minimal amount in it. Bancomer wants a minimum balance of 8000 pesos. Other local banks are much less.

I have my SS deposited here. My Virgin Islands bank can't pay utility bills here.

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Post by brigitte Thu Mar 17, 2016 2:36 pm

I do not kow how it is in Canada but I opened some ban accounts in France last time I was there and it is a pain , also because I am not a resident there although I am a citizen and owned a property there I was not able to invest the money in some accounts, In other words non residents are not offerend the same things as residents..If you think there is apaperwork in the US or Mexico you have not seen anything until you have tried France..I have a 30 something page contract for a lousy checking account..

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Post by Klutzy Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:11 pm

[quote="Trailrunner"]
RVGRINGO wrote:
Klutzy: Why is it that the bank that issued the check cannot/will not cash the check???

I haven't tried because I don't want a lot of cash on hand. Or can it be deposited into my US account at an ATM or bank?

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Post by asesor Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:33 pm

Best method and rate as follows;

Open a Mexican checking account ( I like Multiva )

Open an account with XE Exchange (www.XE.com) There is no charge for this

Using the XE web page enter the bank details of your USA bank and your Mexican bank

Once everything is set up you may then transfer money at no charge and at a VERY good exchange rate between the two banks using EFT (Electronic Fund Exchange)
You will receive emails from XE that acknowledge the transaction and also when the funds are transferd.

It takes about three days for the money to arrive in your Mexican account so allow for that.

Transfer funds as you need it from your USA bank or as often as you like. You may also play the FX game if you want by placing a bid for pesos at a rate that you are willing to buy. If the price reaches your bid the trade is made and you win. If price does not reach your offer the bid simply expires.

This is not magic. EX makes their money on the spread between bid and ask price of any currency.

Relax , save money and enjoy.
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Post by gringal Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:51 pm

Good advice, IMO.
A Mexican bank account really does make life simpler here in this cash economy.  Cash economy for good reasons which you will figure out shortly on your own. Very Happy

The advantage is that if you keep a modest amount in your Mexican bank with a Debit card,  you can use many ATM's to get cash in your pocket to pay bills, go party, or shop.  Some banks have ATM's with no charge.  I think Banamex is one of them, if you use their own ATM machine (clearly labeled BANAMEX).  There is one in Walmart. One drawback of using Banamex is that the local office is in a spot in Chapala where it's very hard to find parking nearby.  Nice long walk.

Actinver (in Ajijic) is another.  They do have parking and pleasant personnel.  They also issue debit cards.
Good luck.

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Post by David Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:45 pm

Banco Multiva ATMs are no charge for account holders. There's now one at SuperLake.
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Post by slainte39 Fri Mar 18, 2016 1:36 am

Mexican businesses must have a Mexican bank account in order to pay taxes by electronic transfer to Hacienda. This is obligatory, as well as any large purchases, must be through some kind of paper trail as part of the war against money laundering by drug cartels and other illegal activities.
I know from personal experience over many years, as well as from many businesses, and other business peers that Mexican banks are not as unsafe as some posters here  are making them out to be. 
Can you imagine how much money is run through the banking system here everyday, in  say, Guadalajara.....take Costco for starters.
If the system was as weak as some would have you believe, the hue and cry would be deafening.

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Post by Klutzy Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:40 am

rvanparys wrote: Last week there was a posting about someone who just lost $30k in their account through fraud and the bank said tough cookies...


Can you please post a link to this story? i can't find it.

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Post by rvanparys Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:55 am

Klutzy
See Bancomer posting in this blog or check TOB.
Roger

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Post by DaveP Fri Mar 18, 2016 9:26 am

David wrote:Banco Multiva ATMs are no charge for account holders.  There's now one at SuperLake.

This is true for all or most Mexican Banks as long as you use their ATM's. I use CI Banco and pay no withdrawal fees at any ATM. I may pay the ATM fee but no charge from the bank.
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Post by Trailrunner Fri Mar 18, 2016 9:52 am

hahaha Slainte. As if a deafening hue and cry would have any effect on anything. Just ask the parents of the 43.

I hear what you're saying though and agree with the point.
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Post by Kiri Fri Mar 18, 2016 10:24 am

asesor wrote:Best method and rate as follows;

Open a Mexican checking account   ( I like Multiva )

Open an account with XE Exchange   (www.XE.com) There is no charge for this

Using the XE web page enter the bank details of your USA bank and your Mexican bank

Once everything is set up you may  then transfer money at no charge and at a VERY good exchange rate between the two banks using EFT (Electronic Fund  Exchange)
 You will receive emails from XE that acknowledge the transaction and also when the funds are transferd.

It takes about three days for the money to arrive in your Mexican account so allow for that.

Transfer funds as you need it from your USA bank or as often as you like. You may also play the FX game if you want by placing a bid for pesos at a rate that you are willing to buy. If the price reaches your bid  the trade is made and you win. If price does not reach your offer the bid simply expires.

This is not magic. EX makes their money on the spread between bid and ask price of any currency.

Relax , save money and  enjoy.  
Asesor
XE  is a great system for currency exchanges, IF you are in their approved Countries of residence.
XE will not allow an account if you have a Mexican residence.
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Post by slainte39 Fri Mar 18, 2016 11:15 am

Trailrunner wrote:hahaha Slainte. As if a deafening hue and cry would have any effect on anything. Just ask the parents of the 43.

I hear what you're saying though and agree with the point.

Thousands, if not millions of Mexicans, have their nominas placed in Mexican bank accounts, which is then withdrawn with individual debit cards.  I am saying that if the Mexican banking system is as weak or full of inconsistencies as this thread would have you believe there would be more about it in the Mexican media, which I haven't seen (or heard about in personal experience). Once again. I will use Coscto as an example, or the thousands of other businesses, such as restaurants or hotels, in Guadalajara, where individuals or small businesses make purchases with credit or debit cards.
IMO, the fear of Mexican banks is overblown, or is just a problem mainly, for foreigners who live in the Lake Chapala area.

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Post by Trailrunner Fri Mar 18, 2016 11:35 am

Sure. I agree and understand what you're saying.

My *personal* suspicions and distrust of Mexican banks comes from over 40 years of stories and observations - not to mention just a few personal experiences because I avoid them. It's their attitude that bothers me most. They don't mind if clients stand in line for hours - so long that many years ago in one of the beach towns we would have to sit on the floor while waiting for a teller because the lines and wait were so long, they encourage account holders with high deposits to cut in line or go first from a 'preferred' line, women clients waiting in line are invisible (they are not usually large account holders or investors), and to me they have always felt arrogant and unaccountable.

What about my friends who had their 30,000 dollar account disappear with no explanation or apology from the institution? Or the other 2 account holders who were also victims of their employee? What about my Joco friend who tried for 2 years to get Lloyd to pay the death benefit on his wife with nothing but lies and stalls until after 2 years and much money going to Guad and paying lawyers for help, he finally give up and leave the country in disgust. What about the time I got a counterfeit 200 peso note from an ATM in Joco attached and labeled by the bank it is in? They shrugged after I waited for 20 min in line with the ATM receipt and basically said 'too bad, so sad'.

How would I ever come up with a different conclusion based on just these experiences alone? Know what I mean, jellybean?
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Post by slainte39 Fri Mar 18, 2016 12:03 pm

Yeah, I remember long lines of women 40 years ago standing in line in San Juan de Los Lagos Banamex branch, where my compadre was the gerente, changing the dollar remittances sent back by the "hombres" of the families up north. 


"jellybean"?
Then I guess it boils down "to each his own", on the comfort  and bad experience level, so be it.
Don't put me in your camp.

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Post by sm1mex Fri Mar 18, 2016 12:20 pm

You can open an account at HSBC. Leave 1000 pesos in the account and there is no service fee. You will need passport, visa and proof of address to open the account and you can get an ATM card also.

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