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2010 Cash Exchange in Mexico - Quick Guide

Feb 19, 2010

  • Are having trouble exchanging money while you are down in Baja California Sur, Mexico?
  • Have you been taken by surprise by the NEW tax regulations, especially for bank transactions or goods & services in Mexico for 2010?

If you answered YES to BOTH of these questions, we, Wolf Property Management have prepared a summarized (as possible) article that might help you out during your stay in Baja or maybe will help you planning ahead before you get down here.

This article won't go deep on details regarding the new law or regulations as our main objective is to give you a quick verified reference on how to deal with some situation or what to do in some cases. So, here we go, we hope it helps you and you can enjoy somehow the reading:

Quick Facts


  • Banks are private business entities not Government own. As a private business (very close circle), banks might change their operation policies at any time, usually supporting each other to make this changes (bank competition between "brands" issue is forgotten here), previously discussed at the Mexican Bank Association (not a Government association) referred as "Asociación de Bancos de México" or ABM.

Their official website: www.abm.com.mx

Almost all (if not all) the financial institutions are "associate's" of this organization, where many "issues" are discussed: http://www.abm.com.mx/bancos/asociados.htm


  • Total number of banks in Mexico: 37
  • Total credit portfolio value of the Mexican Banking system: $2 billion MX Pesos or, $160 billion US dollars

The largest banks of Mexico (Top Ten) are in order by TOTAL LOAN PORTFOLIO VALUE:

  1. Banco BBVA-Bancomer (Spanish owned)
  2. Banco Banamex-Citigroup (US owned)
  3. Banco Banorte (Mexican owned)
  4. Banco Santander (Spanish owned)
  5. Banco INBURSA (Mexican owned - by Carlos Slim)
  6. Banco HSBC (British owned)
  7. Banco Scotia Bank-Inverlat (Canadian owned)
  8. Banco del Bajío (Mexican owned)
  9. Banco Interacciones (Mexican owned)
  10. Banco IXE (Mexican owned)

Source: www.cnbv.gob.mx

Download the PDF file with official data (only in Spanish), with brances, ATM's, etc., is here.


  • The Mexican Central Bank (Banco de México)* is the Government entity that regulates and published any new National policy to be implemented by LAW in all the Country, such as Exchange Rates, Inflation Rates, Treasury Bond rates, Federal Dollar Reserve amounts among many other indicators.

Their official website: www.banxico.org.mx

* "Banco de México" or "Bank of Mexico" is the name for the Central Bank of Mexico.

* Do not get confused with Banamex-Citigroup, as Banamex stands for "Banco Nacional de Mexico" or "Mexico's National Bank".


  • The equivalent of the US Security Exchanges Commission (SEC) in Mexico is the "Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores" or "CNBV" (National Banking and Securities Commission)

The official website: http://www.cnbv.gob.mx/

Graph provided by the Mexican Income Tax entity as for December 2009

The graph shows the 12 month (2009) gross yield rates (profit rates in percentage) from the diverse investment options found in Mexico (where you can put your money).

The official graph also shows the 2009 inflation rate, which was: 3.57%

A GROSS yield rate means you have to deduct the inflation to get the REAL or NET YIELD

  • First bar, red: Pension/Retirement Fund yield: 14.25%
  • Second, blue: Treasury Bonds (CETES - Certificados de Tesorería): 5.39%
  • Third, purple: Mutual Funds investing on "risk free" portfolios: 4.50%
  • Fourth, gray: Six months deposits: 3.28%
  • Fifth, green: Short term investment options: 2.10%
  • Last graph: Exchange rate variation PESO vs. DOLLAR: -4.14% (negative)


  • Banco de México (Banxico, the Mexican Central Bank) and the CNBV (the Mexican SEC) regulate the Mexican Financial System nationwide (laws, policies, rules, regulations, special investigations, bureau issues, frauds, etc.).

They coordinate with the Mexican Tax organism called Secretaría de Administración Tributaria or "SAT" (which is part of "Hacienda" which is the "nickname" for the: "Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público" or SHCP - www.shcp.gob.mx).


The hierarchical structure on the Mexican Financial system is as follows:

  • President of Mexico (Executive Power)
    • Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público (Mexican IRS)
      • Comisión Nacional para la Protección y Defensa de los Usuarios de Servicios Financieros - CONDUSEF (Financial Consumer Protection Commission)
      • Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores - CNBV (Mexican SEC)
      • Comisión Nacional del Sistema de Ahorro para el Retiro - CONSAR (National Retirement Fund Commission)
  • Banco de México - Banxico (Mexican Central Bank) - it is an INDEPENDENT entity apart from the Executive Power

The FULL official structure can be found here.

Source: www.banxico.gob.mx

Exchanging Money in Mexico for 2010


  • Starting January - February 2009, ALL the banks decided privately (not by LAW) to change the way on how foreign currencies are registered through Mexico's financial or banking system, principally the US dollar currency. As this was not a LAW to be changed, there was NO official press required to the banks on letting everyone know about this. We won't judge if this is right or wrong, but certainly we might agree with most you reading this.

  • Local news (TV and press) just announced minor changes on the banking system especially when exchanging a foreign currency into PESOS or when depositing foreign currency into any bank account.


  • Wolf Property Management wrote to the Central Bank (Banxico - Banco de México) inquiring about these currency exchange policies nationwide and after several days we got the following answer (not translated on purpose, but we underlined the key parts):


Descripción Estimado usuario:

Muchas gracias por su interés en el sitio de Internet del Banco de México. En relación con su solicitud, nos permitimos hacer de su conocimiento que no existe una disposición que prohíba la compra venta de divisas en ventanilla de las sucursales de las instituciones de crédito. Dicha decisión fue tomada por las propias instituciones atendiendo a razones de negocio.

  • We also asked which Banks or Institutions do accept currency exchanges without this new "policy" that just gives headaches to many people, users or clients. This questions was made because not all banks are that restrictive as the BIG top banks (e.g. Banco Azteca, at the end of 2009 was still accepting dollars and exchanged them for pesos at their branches with no problem at all!). This was the answer we got (basically, they don't have a list of the Banks who are less "restrictive"):

En cuanto a las instituciones de crédito que actualmente continúan prestando el servicio de su interés no se cuenta con una relación de las mismas. Sin embargo, le sugerimos consultar a la Asociación de Bancos de México, A.C., cuya página de Internet se identifica bajo el nombre de dominio www.abm.com.mx, a efecto de verificar si cuentan con una lista como la que solicita.

Por último, le comunicamos que en el localizador que a continuación se indica: http://www.abm.org.mx/bancos/asociados.htm, podrá encontrar diversa información de contacto de las distintas instituciones de banca múltiple del país.

La presente se expide con carácter exclusivamente informativo, por lo que no podrá ser utilizada con motivo de un juicio o de un procedimiento administrativo tramitado como tal.

Esperando que la información le sea de utilidad, nos reiteramos a sus órdenes.

A t e n t a m e n t e,
Banco de México
Fecha: October 28th, 2009


  • As for February 2010, if you DON'T HAVE A BANK ACCOUNT, ANY Mexican bank will exchange your foreign currency (no matter which Country or Continent you are from), by presenting your valid Passport to the bank tellers (Cajeros de Ventanilla) up to the equivalent of aprox. $500 USD. Every bank has set their own limits, but you will be able to exchange around $300 USD to $550 USD PER DAY, with your PASSPORT, depending on the bank.

  • Santander bank (as of January 2010) was the only major bank that kept allowing currency exchange transaction at their branches without any daily withdrawal exchange limit.

  • However if you already have a bank account with most of these banks, then you can exchange/withdraw any amount you want with your passport.


Subject to be modified by each Bank at any time

  • Banamex - Will exchange you up to $500 USD with a valid passport without having a bank account.

  • Bancomer - Will exchange you up to $500 USD with a valid passport without having a bank account.

  • Santander - Will exchange you a much higher amount in USD for PESOS with a valid passport without having a bank account.

  • Banco Azteca - Will exchange you a higher amount in USD for PESOS with a valid passport but with a lower exchange rate.

  • HSBC - Will not exchange you any USD unless you use a dollar account check to get your PESOS (must have an account).

  • Many other banks will have their own policies. You might want to call them first before going to their branch.


  • Bringing your DEBIT CARD down to Mexico it is another good option to withdraw money from any ATM (Automated Teller Machine). Some banks offer the option to withdraw DOLLARS and/or PESOS, but not all. Depending on your banking service/product hired in your Country, your DEBIT or CREDIT card FEES when using an ATM may vary widely (some do not pay any fee while in Mexico).

  • We only recommend you to withdraw money from ATM's located in trustable places like the own bank or big stores like Wal-Mart, Mega, Sorianna, Costco, Sam's Club, etc. We DO NOT recommend you using your CARDS on "stand alone" ATM's, so be careful.


  • There are many other ways to SEND money from your country to Mexico such as using Money Gram, Western Union or any type of an International Remittance service. You will have to check with your local bank how to set up your bank account to do this.

Examples for International Remittances services by banks:

Many other banks have this type of service. Please review the official World's Bank webpage regarding the Remittances Prices Worldwide comparison. You might find options you never heard of when transferring money:

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