As expats living in Mexico, it’s important to have secure ways to access your money in person and online. Opening a bank account in Mexico allows you to receive paychecks, pay bills, save money and make purchases. Mexico has dozens of banks, both domestic and international, that offer accounts, debit/credit cards, money transfer services and more.
You do not need a strong credit history to open a bank account in Mexico, as the requirements tend to be more flexible on this point than in other countries. This is especially helpful for those expats who have yet to establish credit in Mexico.
Banks in Mexico
Below are just some of the banks in Mexico, many of which have English-speaking customer service representatives (or translation services) to help you open a bank account.
- Bank of America
- BBVA Bancomer
- Citi Banamex
- ING Bank
- National Bank of Mexico or Banco De Mexico
- Santander – Please note that you cannot make international transactions for the first six months.
If you choose a bank with branches in your country of origin and in Mexico, you might find the banking process to be easier to use and less expensive when you need to transfer funds.
Banking Services Offered
In addition to bank accounts, most banks in Mexico also offer a well-rounded menu of services and programs:
- ATM – You can make free withdrawals from ATMs that are associated with your bank.
- Debit/credit cards
- Certificate of deposit – Offers high investment returns, while keeping your deposits safe. This is available in pesos only.
- Checking accounts – Choose an account that works in MXN pesos or US dollars. Be sure to ask how many free ATM withdrawals are available each month, to avoid overage fees.
- Deposit accounts – Choose from two kinds of deposit accounts: notice and sight. A notice deposit account is a high-interest account in which you deposit funds intended for savings. There is a waiting period before withdrawals can be made. A sight deposit account is a low-interest account that offers a debit card and allows you to make withdrawals without prior notice. A fee is assessed if the minimum balance is not maintained.
- Investment accounts – Offers market accounts in which you can buy and sell international stocks. Minimum deposits are required, typically $5,000 MXN or $263
- Money transfers – Offers a safe way to transfer money from your home bank. Double-check for hidden fees and less-than-desirable exchange rates when sending money to your overseas accounts.
- Payroll accounts – Offers a basic account (Cuenta de Nomina) for employees to receive direct deposits from employers. Fees are not charged and a debit card is included.
- Premium accounts – Offers special accounts and additional perks to loyal customers who have been in Mexico for awhile, including cashback services, insurance and interest payments. A monthly fee may be assessed.
- Saving accounts
- Standing order services
The best way to navigate a bank’s various regulations and fees is to set up an appointment with an account representative. If you don’t already have the proper forms and checklist of needed documents, be sure to request them. Account documentation is in Spanish, so if you don’t read Spanish, bring along a trusted friend who is fluent.
If you don’t understand something, either during the appointment or in the paperwork, avoid agreeing to or signing anything. If you prefer to pop in to a bank of interest, we recommend going when the bank opens at the beginning or end of the month to avoid long lines. Most banks in Mexico are open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 16:00 p.m. (4:00 p.m.), and on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 16:00 p.m.
Regardless of whether you have an appointment or plan to pop in, be prepared to be at the bank for an hour or more.
How to Open a Bank Account in Mexico
Be sure to connect with a bank representative or visit the website of your bank of choice for the exact documents you will need to take advantage of services and programs. In general, you will need:
- A passport from your country of origin
- Proof of immigration status, such as an immigrant visa or non immigrant visa
- Proof of residence, such as a recent bill that is 1-3 months old, depending on the bank (This can be a utility bill, rental agreement or a bill with your phone number, such as a phone/internet, phone/TV or phone/internet/TV.) Always take an original and a copy.
- Deposit between $500–$750 MXN (Some banks may ask for more. Expect to keep a minimum account balance or risk a charge on your account.)
If you’re planning to open an account for a business, there will be other documents that you’ll need to bring. It’s best to verify which documents are needed by visiting each bank’s website or speaking with a bank representative.
You should receive debit and credit cards, with usernames and PINs, within three business days, sometimes you will leave the bank with a debit card.
If you’ve set up online, mobile and telephone banking options, it will likely take 3–5 business days for all accounts to be activated.
Finally, it’s important to note that some deposits and withdrawals are taxed. Check payments and bank transfers are free from tax, but large cash deposits and cash withdrawals from other banking ATMs and institutions are at risk.
And that’s it! Enjoy your new bank account and should you have any questions about banking or life in Mexico, be sure to contact us. We’re here to help you enjoy this exciting new chapter in your life!