Mexico Modifies Dollar Cash Restrictions

US Dollars

In an effort to stem the flow of illegal cash funds passing through Mexican banks and businesses, Mexico introduced a series of measures to limit the amount of foreign currency that companies and individuals, including tourists, may deposit into banks, exchange into pesos, or pay for goods at stores using US dollars in cash.

The measures are not intended to affect tourists, and even foreigners living in Mexico are not likely to be affected by the new regulations, which limit the amounts of US dollars in cash that may be deposited or exchanged at banks, but do not affect any electronic transactions—including bank wires and ATM withdrawals—as, unlike cash, these are traceable to their source.

One of the policies which could affect some tourists is a new regulation that limits the amount of cash that can be used to pay for purchases at a store when paying in U.S. dollars.  When the regulations were introduced in June 2010, this limit was set at US$100.  Earlier this week, the limit was lifted to US$250 per transaction for stores situated in the country’s principal tourist areas and the Baja California peninsula.

To be clear, this limit only applies when you are purchasing items from a store using US dollars in cash.  If you pay using Mexican pesos in cash, or a credit or debit card, there is no limit to the amount you can spend at a store in any transaction.

See Also: Guide to Money in Mexico

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  1. Dave,
    Thanks for your insights. You’re quite right–some exchange houses in Mexico are picky about the condition of the bills they will handle, partly because under Mexican law, bills which have any markings on them are technically void. We’ll publish a blog article about this soon. Thanks for sharing your experience and advice!

  2. Dave says

    We have just returned from Merida, Yucatan, MX. One of the issues that we ran into there with regards to exchanging US Dollars was the banks will not take dollars that are marked on, crinkled or torn. They must be crisp clean bills. Fortunately, there are enough places that will exchange dollars regardless of condition, but you don’t get the decent exchange rate. So, if you are taking dollars to support yourself, take a very close look at them when you get them at the US bank and exchange those that have been marked on, torn, crinkled or just heavily worn for clean bills. You will save mucho headaches! Banks we tried: HSBC, BanaMex and two others (sorry, can’t remember their names!)

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