Getting Emergency Money In Mexico
Need an emergency money transfer to Mexico? Want to send money to Mexico for a friend or relative with a cash emergency? Here are ways to transfer money to Mexico.
Is there a limit of how many dollars you can change to pesos? Yes and no. This changes all the time. The amount you can convert TO pesos in Mexico generally has little to do with the amount of money you can have sent to you in Mexico. Before you ask someone to send you money, find out what the limits are that day by going to a bank, Western Union office, Wal-Mart or an Elecktra department stores [an easy place to get money].
Don't forget the obvious - you can get money (if you have any in your account) from your own bank via an ATM.
Although Western Union and Elektra stores and Wal-Mart are the most well-known and reliable ways to send money to Mexico in an emergency, that are other choices for sending money especially in emergencies. Wells Fargo, Citibank, Bank of America, ScotiaBank, Compass Bank and others have branches in Mexico. This could change at any time, but you can probably still pick up money at the US consulate or embassy. See their web site for the rules.
First of all, do not panic. It will work out. Stuff happens to people traveling anywhere it the world and the USA and there are solutions. I used to personally help people in trouble, but after getting my feelings hurt by some ungrateful people who burned me, I no longer get involved. So please don't write me asking me to help. The US consulates can help you and it is their job.
Cheapest Way To Send Money
This is the area of sending money that is most likely to change the moment I write about it. There are many companies that offer cash cards or debit cards that you can send to your friends or relatives in Mexico. There seems to be a new one every month, so I have given up recommending one as best. Just read the fine print and see that you don't pay a fortune in fees.
The old standbys like Western Union, Wal-Mart and the US Postal Service and others are still a popular way to get money to people in Mexico, though they do take a literal mordida out of the total. But they have come down in price so they are reasonable now. See this list for a list of agencies and banks and costs from some US cities.(They keep changing the page, so if this does not get you where you want to go, click to the Profeco site and type in type "Enviar Dinero" in the search box (Buscar).
Western Union and other companies
Traveler’s Express has relationships with Banorte banks in many cites and smaller agencies in small towns (www.moneygram.com). However, compare their fees. These things change, so I am not putting them here, just telling you to compare.
You can get money sent to you by Western Union, and it can be picked up in a matter of minutes at 2,700 telegraph offices or 400 Elektra department stores, which are open from 9 a.m. to 9 PM or or Wal-Marts. Western Union now charges charges the sender either $10 to send $300 or a flat fee of about $30 for up to $1,000. However, your recipient is charged a fee at the other end that can amount to about 10 percent. It’s fast but expensive.
Wal-Mart is a very convenient way to send money to Mexico. Their fees are low and they are dependable. The money can be picked up at a local Wal-Mart or any MoneyGram location. While there are not as many as there are Elektra stores, there are plenty. Check out the receiving locations before you ask a friend to send you money.
Bank of America and Wells Fargo have relationships with Mexican banks and transfer billions of dollars to Mexico annually.
Many companies can transfer money to Mexico
If you wish money to arrive through a bank or to a different destination other than the consulate, it is important that you know what wire transfer companies exist and the cost of their services. There are several wire transfer businesses or bank services to send money to people in Mexico. Some of them are Ace America Cash, Armed Forces Bank, Bank of America, Bank of the West, Check In–Cash Out, Dinero Seguro, International Money Exchange, Money Gram, Order Express, Valuta Corporation, Wells Fargo Bank, and Western Union. These are reducing their fees and vary considerably, so do some comparison shopping. The money may be available in a time frame ranging from fifteen minutes to one day, depending on the type of service requested.
To send the money, you must contact the company directly. You will need a completed application, the money, and an official form of identification. To collect the money, the person will also have to present an official form of identification. A passport and a Mexican tourist card is enough.
Consumer be aware
The Mexican government offers a monthly updated consumer’s report on wire transfer companies through PROFECO. You may contact them free of charge from the United States at 877-868-8722 or from within Mexico at 01-800-903-1300, or you may check their Internet page at www.profeco.gob.mx
Break glass in case of emergency
In emergency situations only, if you wish, money may be sent through the consulate. The most secure way is by establishing a Department of State trust fund. This service is available only to U.S. citizens on an emergency basis. Through this, depositors establish a trust account in a recipient’s name in order to send funds overseas. Upon receipt of these funds, the department authorizes disbursement to the recipient from the appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate. Overseas Citizens Services Trust (OCS) takes approximately one working day and funds are disbursed in local currency. The State Department has a $20 processing fee for this service. The forwarding of funds will be delayed if the sender fails to provide the recipient’s overseas location. There are several options to make these arrangements.
Sending funds by Western Union: If the sender has a major credit card, he or she may telephone Western Union at 800-325-6000 (or 4176). Likewise, they may tell the local Western Union office that they wish to purchase a money order for the desired amount, plus $20 (State Department’s fee), made payable to the Department of State. A message with the sender’s name, address, and telephone number, as well as the name and overseas location of the recipient, must accompany the money order. Western Union charges a fee based on the amount sent. The money order and message are sent to: Overseas Citizens Services, Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520. Funds are normally received electronically at OCS within several hours. The Department of State has a Western Union check writer in their office and an officer is available to receive funds during business hours.
Sending funds by bank wire transfer: It may take one to three days to process a bank wire transaction. If the sender chooses this option, they must tell the bank that they want to wire the desired amount, plus $32 to: NationsBank, Department of State Branch, 2201 C St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20520, at 202-624-4750, via ABA number: 114000653; account number: 7476363838; account name: Pupid State Department; Special Instructions: OCS/Trust for Benefit of (Recipient’s Name), U.S. Embassy/Consulate (City, Country); and include the sender’s name and telephone number. The wire instructions must include the recipient’s full name and overseas location. NationsBank notifies the State Department when funds are received. The $32 fee includes the $20 Department of State fee and NationsBank’s $12 wire fee.
Sending funds by overnight or regular mail: The sender obtains a cashier’s check or money order for the desired amount, plus the $20, made payable to the Department of State. A letter must be attached with the sender’s name, address, and telephone number, as well as the name and location of the overseas recipient. Mail to: Overseas Citizens Services, CA/OCS, Rm. 4811, Department of State, 2201 C St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20520. Regular mail can take seven to ten workdays before it is received, and even overnight mail may not reach the department for several days.
Important notice to those who receive funds at the consulate: To request funds from a trust account, office hours are between 8 and 11 a.m. The person collecting the money must present a government-issued form of identification. If the person collecting the money is other than the recipient, a written request specifying the name of the person authorized to receive the funds from the recipient to disburse the funds will be required. Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to call the American Citizen Services Section of the U.S. consulate in Ciudad, Juarez, at 011-521-613-1655.
Bancomer BBVA and Wells Fargo
Bancomer (BBVA) has a deal so that you can transfer money from U.S. post offices in California and Texas to their 2,400 branches in Mexico.
Wells Fargo has a deal with Banamex whereby someone in the United States opens an account for an annual $10 fee and then pays $10 for each wire transfer. Banamex automatically opens an account for the recipient. The transfer can take from a day, which is unlikely, to five days at the outside.
A simple bank-to-bank transfer can vary in cost from $25 to $45 and take between one and three days.
What I do
My personal advice while you are just traveling around, looking for your spot to land, is to take about $1,500 in cash, and use the ATM card for anything else you need. Traveler's checks are no longer a great deal as they are hard to cash, but you may feel comfortable having an emergency stash of them. I don't.
You can change money at a Mexican bank now with much less hassle than there used to be. There may be a daily limit, which they will tell you about. A casa de cambio, or exchange house (similar to a bureau de change in Europe) can also change money, though at a slightly higher rate. Elecktra stores have a bank inside and are everywhere. Toll roads used to take U.S. currency but not anymore. You MUST have pesos for the toll roads.