Pesos, Dollars, ATMs & Credit Cards
What is the best currency to use in Mexico?
When traveling to another country it’s usually best to use the currency of the country your visiting. In Mexico, use pesos! You’ll get the best bang for your buck plus it’s much easier to use one currency to avoid confusion.
Will they take U.S. dollars? yes, will they give you change back in dollars, probably not. Prices listed on menus (some list in dollars as well) and in stores are in pesos. Just start teaching your brain to think in pesos! I use an app on my phone called Dollar to Peso for when I just need to make sure 🙂 Available on Google Play, and Apple App Store.
The exchange rate fluctuates, today, as I write this the conversion is $1.00us is equal to 18.92 MX pesos. The app I mentioned above is really handy in knowing how much things cost and it updates to the daily rate. There are two views, one you can go type in how much something is in pesos and it will tell you the dollar amount, the other view has a table view. Click for bigger views.
How do you convert Dollars to Pesos?
We usually have some pesos left over from a previous trip, but we still stop at the ATM in the airport to get more pesos. I have a Paypal debit card that I usually use, but I also have a travel ATM card from my bank that is dedicated to an account that is my travel account, not linked to my main bank account. This way if the card gets cloned, (which happens in Mexico, and everywhere!) There’s not much or any money in the account. I am able to transfer money to the travel account from my main account as I need it. If you can change your pin number online this is a plus for safety, change your pin after each use. Make sure the ATM you use is a bank ATM and that it disperses pesos and not dollars! You will be charged a small bank fee by the ATM in Mexico and you may be charged a fee by your home bank for using a foreign ATM, check with your bank on what this fee is!
There are currency exchange booths called casa de cambios and banks where you can exchange dollars for pesos.A passport is needed as identification. There is a cap of $1500.00us cash per month that you are allowed to exchange. Check the posted exchange rate at the cambio or bank before you exchange to make sure it’s a good rate. You will not receive bank rate, the cambio makes commission to exchange money. Sometimes it’s a minimal amount, so go ahead and exchange. Make sure to get a receipt (often this is an adding machine tape) and count your pesos before stepping away from the window.
Exchange before you travel
You may have a bank in your town who will convert your dollars to pesos, some will give you a decent exchange, be sure to know the official rate. Just now, I looked an online service called travelex, they are only giving 16.87 pesos to the dollar, that’s not a good deal. Bank of America & Wells Fargo typically gives a pretty good exchange rate, you need to have an account with them to buy pesos.
XOOM money transfer
We’ve usd Xoom on our last two trips and really like the convenience. Set up a XOOM account
With Xoom you can send money to yourself direct from your bank account and pick it up (pesos) in Mexico