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Long Question About Getting Money ...still Confused.


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#1 doodletart

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 02:55 PM

I realize this subject has been written about more then a few times, but I still need some clarification about finaces.  We are comming for an extended stay and need to figure out the best, economical and easiest way to get funds from our US accounts while in Cozumel. We are arriving on a tourist visa this time, so we can't open up a local bank account...or so I've read.     Here our our options:

 

1. Bring a ton of travelers checks. According to this website, yes, you can cash them, but the banks have "Very long lines" and they "don't like to cash them" What does that mean?? Lines out the door and around the block and they don't smile when they cash them? 

2. Get an account at BAF...with the association with Banamex (I think) they charge less or no foreign transaction fee. I did read that that might/will change in the early spring.

3. Use ATM's We bank with Wells Fargo. They charge a flat $5.00 per transaction but the atm's Bank will charge a foreign transaction fee...which is how much? ; Is it 3% everywhere?

4.Use Western Union Their website says free to wire funds from US if you can wait a day. You can use your bill pay to transfer the money.

5. HSBC, I could open an online account and get an debit card from them...any drawbacks?

6. Use Xoom online to transfer funds. $4.99 per transaction...but when you pick up your cash at "Elektra" don't they want a piece of the pie? and sorry, What is Elektra?

 

Is it possible to transfer money from the US at all without getting hit with allot of fees? If thats the way it is, so be it., but if there I'd really appreciate knowing what your ideas are, I'd sure like to know. THanks for taking the time to read all the way through this!

 

 

 

5. Use Xoom online to transfer funds.

 


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#2 Coz2wonder

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 06:22 PM

Do not bring travelers check, nobody wants to cash them.  

 

Western Union is expensive, if your going to do, then just use your ATM card.

 

ATM, raise your limit as to how much you can pull out per day, per card.  The surcharge is worth the convenience.

 

Xoom is your best bet for larger sums of cash.   Set up the account prior to coming down.  For the first transaction, they will call you within about 15 mins to confirm.  So make sure you have a phone that will work here.

 

Elektra:  When sending funds through  Xoom they will want the transaction number, and your passport for ID.  Elektra is a store that sells appliances, and household goods, and also has Aztec bank inside.  What you pay at your end, is all that you will pay.


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#3 doodletart

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 07:11 PM

xoom it is,

Thanks Paula,


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#4 Charles

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 10:54 PM

  • Just how much money to you anticipate wanting?

Carey posted previously regarding xoom.com :

 

" just checked the rates for both Wells Fargo Safe Send and Xoom. Xoom is taking a 1.5% cut by the exchange rate they're giving us. Wells F Express Send is taking a 2.5% cut for sending $1000 USD. So on $1000 USD transfer, Xoom today is taking $15 plus the $4.99 transaction fee and WF Express Send is taking $25 plus the $4.00 is it?? " March 12, 2013

 

"Xoom works if you don't try to transfer more than two loads of $2999 USD each within the same year.  After that they make you jump another hurdle where you have to FAX a lot of personal financial info to their Mexican partner, Intermex".

 

So you can count on close to $6000 USD by that method but don't try to send more than that". September 21,2013

 

******************************************** above quoting Carey ******************************************************

The past six years I have only lived seasonally in Cozumel usually for seven months. I usually will carry close to, but under $10,000 USD cash in $100 bills. I would use dollars for paying rent if the price was in dollars and on occasion use dollars at grocery stores when I am confident the rate is at or exceeds the ATM rate.

 

I use my Wells Fargo debit card for ATM withdrawals to obtain pesos for all my other expenses. I set my personal daily limit at $500 which their $5 out of network ATM charge of $5 = 1%  After checking the day's exchange rate, I estimate how many pesos can be dispensed which will be close to that set $500 (today 6,400 more or less) Mexican bank ATM charges will be around $2 (plus or minus). I only use Banamex ATMs as they are the swipe type where your card does not leave your hand. Some bank ATMs will have withdrawal limits of only $3,000 or $5,000 pesos.

 

I am satisfied with this method and am content for the ease and convenience paying approximately 1 1/2% total fees. Wells Fargo doesn't charge a foreign currency fee for ATM withdrawals, but imposes 3 1/2% on all charges whether debit or credit card. As stated, Travelers Checks are all but obsolete. Banks have strict limits and give very poor exchange rates so are totally impractical for changing dollars. 

 

Although I hate Wells Fargo, the speed and ease of online banking, transferring money between accounts and checking my ATM activity, I haven't felt compelled to open an account with a bank that might have slightly better rates. I am comfortable using Banamex, I try to make withdrawals during banking hours. I go inside with cash discretely in hand, take a number and often an employee will approach me to see if I need assistance. Of course it sure helps to speak Spanish, I ask for change and am usually bumped to the head of the line. I'll then change $500 peso notes and try to obtain all the change I might anticipate wanting including lots of $50 & $20 peso bills and $10 peso coins. The trick to living on pesos is to always have small denomination bills.


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#5 Kandy

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 08:22 AM

Charles, the following information is incorrect:

 

"Xoom works if you don't try to transfer more than two loads of $2999 USD each within the same year.  After that they make you jump another hurdle where you have to FAX a lot of personal financial info to their Mexican partner, Intermex".

 

With Xoom, the limits are $6000 in a 30-day period and $9999 in a 180-day period. I use this service exclusively and love the speed with which I have access to my money. It takes less than 1 minute, literally, for my money to be available. The first transaction took about 15 minutes.

 


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#6 doodletart

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 09:07 AM

ahhhh....I am hoping this all sounds allot more complicated then it is.

thanks everyone.... I admit, I'm still confused, but I guess I'll work it out. ATMs for weekly stuff, and xoom for any bigger amounts of money I will need.

Carey, did I understand you correctly? You carry that much moola on the plane (or car, if driving in)?? I kinda wish you'd pm'd me with that information rather then putting it on line. Girl, you are a fearless and trusting soul.


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#7 Charles

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 10:39 AM

Doodletart:

 

What is complicated? How much money do you need at a time? I have two debit cards (one is my wife's), with that I can get $1,000 dollars daily in pesos. Yes, I'll travel and carry close to $10K, it is below the limit that requires declaration to U.S. or Mexican governments.

 

I like to keep at least a few weeks worth of pesos on hand. I bring dollars as there are many unlicensed rental properties available that the owners want to be paid in dollars.

 

Banks make money, they profit at every turn. I try to pay them a minimal amount. They sell pesos for dollars at a profit. If you have pesos and want to buy dollars, you'll pay a fee. I lived and worked for over ten years in Mexico using pesos exclusively. I carry a stash of dollars for any medical emergencies and to pay rents if a contract is written to pay in dollars.

 

All my personal expenses are in pesos and paid in pesos. I don't scuba dive. I don't go to gringo bars or restaurants nor purchase anything that is priced in dollars. I live a life that could be equated with Mexican lower middle class, quite frugal by North American standards, but with the difference of if I have emergencies or needs, I have the means to pay for them.

 

If you want to enjoy a good quality of life living in Mexico, learn Spanish and strive to live, think and function as a Mexican. 40% of Mexicans live in households that receive less than $2,000 pesos monthly. In Cozumel only 20% of the families exist on so little. In Cozumel, the majority of the people (80%+) would exist on less than $10,000 pesos monthly.

 

I find being able to withdraw $6,000 plus pesos daily far more than sufficient. Besides rent, my biggest expenses would be related to medical or dental and stocking up on prescription medications for seasonal life in the United States.


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#8 doodletart

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 11:18 AM

Not so complicated with your help, thanks so much Carey. Trying how not  to waste allot of money on fees has been my goal. I'm trying to be frugal as well.

I am working on my Spanish as we speak, and hopefully will get it into my thick head more when we get there...Not a diver either, and not much into fancy tourist things...I am looking forward to enjoying and learning about the Mexican culture in all aspects.

Hopefully we will meet up sometime, so I can thank you in person.

Susan


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#9 doodletart

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 11:21 AM

Oops, sorry,

Thanks Charles.....


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#10 scubawoman

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 02:26 PM

Simple life = HSBC charges about $2.19 for a daily withdrawal of 3500 pesos on my debit card at their kiosk at Mega ( grocery store).  They charge more from their kiosk at their bank branches.  You would have a very hard time spending all that in one day!  Enjoy your stay!


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#11 doodletart

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 03:42 PM

see,.... here we go again...just when I thought I had it decided.

Scubawoman:  Is that the only charge, the 2.19?  That sounds reasonable! I don't really spend allot...and that would be way more then I'd need. I'm not apt t to have to hit the atm everyday anyway. thanks for the tip


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#12 Coz2wonder

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 03:49 PM

I would still set up the Xoom account.  You just never know, you might need it.


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#13 cvchief

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 05:30 PM

Not to beat the BOA horse, but:

 

On this last visit, I withdrew $6000 peso using my BOA free online checking account debit card at Santander ATM at the Santander branch on Ave 10 on three occasions.  (Hey I had to get pesos for everyone...)  There were NO fees at all.  The rates were as follows:

 

9/19  $465.43US hence an exchange rate of about 12.89.  XE currency says the rate was around 12.6-12.74 that day.

 

9/21 $472.73US hence an exchange rate of about 12.69.  XE currency says the rate was about 12.85 that day.

 

9/23 $472.73US hence an exchange rate of about 12.69.  XE currency says the rate was about 12.8 that day.

 

Again, no fees for the account and no fee for the ATM use and 6,000 pesos a day.  (At least. Never tried it twice.)

 

Anyway BOA is still a cheap way to get ALOT of pesos in your hands.

 

I only use it for pesos and sending money to people in Cozumel. (so they can get pesos.)

 

Takes like one business day to online transfer funds from my 'real' bank accounts to BOA.  I think you get so many of those a month and then maybe unlimited 3 day transfers.

 

And I can INSTANT transfer money to locals with BOA to pay PM stuff or dive boat charges.


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#14 scubawoman

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 06:04 PM

doodletart - I think my Savings and Loan charges me about $2.00 for their cut.


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#15 Charles

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 07:17 PM

I would still set up the Xoom account.  You just never know, you might need it.

I agree! If you need money for an unplanned emergency, it can be expensive and difficult to obtain pesos. When my wife was hospitalized in an emergency years back, I could then go to a bank ATM on a weekend and get $2,000 dollars worth of pesos. Now most clinics will be able to accept credit cards, but there are situations where pesos must be paid in cash. With the governmental restrictions on dollars, intended to curb money laundering, if pesos are needed, an ATM or wiring funds are your main options.


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#16 doodletart

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 06:29 AM

Lots of great information, thanks for all your advise.

susan


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#17 2islandbums

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 05:30 AM

you do realize you can use visa and mastercard for many of your purchases right? grocery, gas, simi's pharmacy even oxoo's. we find it super easy and safe as we dont have to carry alot of cash. then we pay the balance monthly from our usa account just as we did when we lived there.

we too use BOA for our cash. no fees at all when you maintain a certain balance.


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#18 Kandy

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 11:39 AM

I heard that BoA has severed it's association with Santander effective, I think, October 1. You might want to check that out.


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#19 2cozlovers

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 08:56 PM

I just went to the BoA web site. They still are posting agreement with Santander bank. Said a 1% conversion fee may be applied and I read the fee was increasing to 3% in the near future. I have used the bank ATM at 3 and 15 just South of the square several times over the past year and I never noticed a fee, but I certainly could have missed it. Will be back to the island first part of November and will report what fees show up. Hopefully someone will post sooner.

Our account is an online account only and we have to receive all information by Internet/online to avoid fees. No minimum balance required. If we call or make an in person (teller) transaction the cost/fee is $8.00. On online money transfers from our primary bank to BoA we will see up to four or five days for the funds to be available. This especially true if you do late in the week.

When we are in Cozumel we will normally withdraw $500.00 at a time. I think this is the most you can do on the transaction. never tried to do more than one per day. we have made up to three over a week period. The exchange rate has always been good. At least comparable or better than Mega.

We have no experience with any of the other banks, so cannot compare or comment.

My 2 cents on the rest. I work at a small town bank so here goes. As said travelers checks are not accepted very well anymore. Our bank no longer carries them. I am like Charles, and will bring a good bit of cash. Since my wife and I will only be there for a month or less, we have not needed the max $10,000.00 as mentioned. If I were to be there for extended period I probably would bring close to that amount though. Mega normally has a good exchange rate and they take dollars. We normally bring ones, fives, tens, twenties and hundreds for convince sake. Make sure the bills are in new or like new condition.
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#20 cvchief

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 10:24 PM

There was a discussion that BOA posted in some accounts something about that.  Mine still has no such notice as have others.  I guess we might see later this week.  I will hit up someone I know who is constantly tapping BOA and see what the report back it.

 

I believe this isn't the first time that people saw something about it it ending.  I might be different depending on what state you have your BOA account?  Seems the state matters.

 

Mine says:

In addition, Bank of America has arranged for you to use your debit or ATM cards in China at China Construction Bank ATMs (China Construction Bank ATMs in Hong Kong are not included) and in Mexico at Banco Santander with no ATM Operator Fees or Non-Bank of America International ATM fees.

 

The international transaction fee is 1% (Effective November 8, 2013, the fee will change to 3%) of the U.S. dollar amount for each converted ATM cash withdrawal. The international transaction fee will appear as a separate item on your banking statement for each international transaction. Many ATM Operators charge a higher rate. To avoid the higher rate, we recommend you choose to have the currency conversion by Bank of America. Otherwise, you may be assessed a higher conversion fee.

 

I would note I have never had a separate international transaction fee on my statement, so that second paragraph doesn't apparently apply to Santander. 


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