If you’re living or working in Mexico, planning to retire here, or planning to invest in Mexican real estate, the likelihood is that you will need to open an account at a Mexican bank to facilitate your daily financial transactions in Mexico as well as manage money transfers between foreign accounts and your Mexican bank account.
Back in the ‘old days’ all banking in Mexico was conducted over-the-counter and banks opened limited hours: counter services began at 9:30am and shut by 1pm. As a result, lines at banks were notoriously long; paying-in money to an account, paying bills, cashing checks, exchanging foreign currency: these services and more required patience and often the space of an entire morning to complete.
Mexican retail banking services have been transformed over the last decade. All but one bank in Mexico is now foreign-owned; and the new owners (household names like Citibank, BBVA, and HSBC) brought-in new management, new technology and training programs in a bid to increase the range of products on offer and improve customer service.
Longer opening hours, Saturday opening, telephone banking and, in particular, internet banking have all played an important function in the improvement of retail banking services here. However, Mexico continues to be a strong ‘cash-based economy’, and many Mexicans still use banks only to cash checks handed to them (or ATM cards to withdraw cash); some older Mexicans continue to feel distrustful of the new technologies like internet banking; and as a result, the lengths of lines at banks can still get quite long on occasions, especially around quinsenas (every fifteen days) when companies pay their employees.
For more information about banking in Mexico, connect to the Mexperience guide to Banks and Banking Services in Mexico
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