If you’re planning to live in Mexico full or part-time, or planning to buy a home here, sooner or later you will need to set up a Mexican bank account.
Mexico’s banking infrastructure has been transformed in the last two decades following banking crises in the early 1980’s and again in the mid-1990’s which left people jobless, wiped-out savings, and forced thousands of businesses to fold. Reforms introduced after the Tequila Crisis in 1994-95 set in place a foundation that has left Mexican banks in good shape. During this period most Mexican banks were sold-off to foreign investment houses including banking giants Citibank and HSBC.
Foreign investment brought recapitalization, new technology, and improved services for bank customers–including a wider choice of products, better customer service, and longer opening hours to name a few. However, despite new ownership, Mexico’s retail banks continue to be characterized by some old nuisances including bureaucracy, high charges and commissions, and high interest on credit cards. Note also that Mexico’s sales tax is added to loan interest, banking charges and commissions here, adding to the cost of unsecured loans.
When you approach a bank in Mexico, you’ll find they offer a range of financial services including checking accounts, deposit accounts, credit cards, personal loans (loans for new cars are especially prevalent), a plethora of insurance services, and AFOREs – tax-efficient saving investment funds. All of Mexico’s principal banks offer internet banking for their clients. Paying bills and transferring money between accounts electronically saves having to join the lines at the bank, which are especially long on pay-day quincenas (every 15 days).
Mexico’s new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, recently announced a detailed plan to tackle the lack of real competition in the telecommunications and banking sectors as a centerpiece of his administration’s objectives, citing that these needed ‘more effective competition’ in order to help Mexico reach its ambitious economic growth targets and create the many new jobs its relatively young population needs. Time will tell how that policy manifests itself in the marketplace.
Connect to the Mexperience Guide to Mexico’s Banks for detailed information about financial services in Mexico, and detailed profiles of all the major banks operating here.
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