A complete guide to CLABE, RFC, CURP, and ABM in Mexico


Moving to Mexico? ¡Felicidades! To make the most of your time in the country, you’ll need to find out how to handle your money there. In Mexico, that involves several different numbers and codes, which can get a little confusing. Here’s a guide to which is which, and what each of them is for.

What’s a CLABE number?

A Clave Bancaria Estandarizada (CLABE) is a standard bank account number in Mexico. Its name translates to ‘standardized banking code’. Every Mexican bank account has a unique CLABE. They’re needed in particular for sending and receiving money between accounts.

(Source 8 February 2018)

What’s the structure of a CLABE number?

CLABE numbers have 18 digits, divided into 4 sections like this: AAABBBCCCCCCCCCCCD.

The first three digits denote the bank, and the second three digits refer to the location of the bank. The 11-digit third section is the bank’s own code to identify each of its customers unique account. The final digit is a control, which checks the validity of the previous 17 digits.

Here is an example of a CLABE number:


014 is the code for Banco Santander; 027 is the code for Tijuana; the 0s are the section that identifies the account; and the 8 at the end is the checking digit.

How do I find my CLABE number?

Check with your bank, as the best method might vary. But it should be on official documentation from your bank such as a bank statement, or else in your online banking portal. Give your bank a call if you can’t find it anywhere.

You can check your number online with a CLABE validator.

(Source 1, Source 2, 8 February 2018)

How do I find a bank code (ABM) in Mexico?

ABM stands for Asociación de Bancos de México (Banking Association of Mexico). That’s the organization that links all the Mexican banks together.

The ABM code or bank code is the three-digit code that identifies the bank itself. It’s the first three digits of your CLABE.

Here are the 10 largest banks in Mexico and their ABM codes.

ABM (bank) codeShortened bank nameFull bank name in Mexico
012BancomerGrupo Financiero BBVA Bancomer, S.A. de C.V.
014Santander MéxicoGrupo Financiero Santander Mexico, S.A.B. de C.V.
002Banamex (Banco Nacional de México)Grupo Financiero Banamex S.A. de C.V.
072BanorteGrupo Financiero Banorte, S.A.B. de C.V.
021HSBC MéxicoGrupo Financiero HSBC, S.A. de C.V.
036InbursaGrupo Financiero Inbursa, S.A.B. de C.V.
044Scotiabank MéxicoGrupo Financiero Scotiabank Inverlat, S.A. de C.V.
006BancomextBanco Nacional de Comercio Exterior, S.N.C.
037InteraccionesGrupo Financiero Interacciones, S.A. de C.V.
030Banco del BajíoBanco del Bajío, S.A, Institución de Banca Múltiple

(Source 1, Source 2, 8 February 2018)

What’s an RFC number in Mexico? And what does it stand for?

RFC stands for Registro Federal de Contribuyentes, and the clave RFC (RFC number) is a Mexican tax identification number. It’s issued by the Mexican Tax Administration Service (Servicio de Administración Tributaria).

RFCs are 13 digits long for individuals, 12 for companies, and they’re made up of letters and numbers. The first 4 digits for individuals, or 3 for companies, are taken from the name, then there are six numbers denoting the date of birth or when the business was founded, and the end digits are check digits.

(Source 1, Source 2, 8 February 2018)

How do I get an RFC number?

Who’s eligible for an RFC number?

If you pay taxes in Mexico, you’ll probably need an RFC. However, you don’t have to be a Mexican national to get one.

(Source 8 February)

What are the required documents to get an RFC number?

As an individual, you’ll need your CURP (see below) or birth certificate, proof of address, and official ID. Businesses need to prove they’re incorporated and that the person registering the company is authorized to do so.

(Source 8 February 2018)

What are the steps to getting an RFC number?

You can start your application on the Treasury website before completing it at an official office near where you live. When registering online, there will be some forms that you should print out and take with you to your appointment, along with the ID documents outlined above.

(Source 8 February 2018)

What is CURP in Mexico? And what does it stand for?

A CURP is a Clave Única de Registro de Población (Unique Population Registry Code). It’s an 18-digit social security number for people living in Mexico. The 18 characters combine information deriving from your name, date and place of birth, and gender to create a unique code.

You’ll need this number for all manner of things, from applying for an RFC (see above) to applying for jobs or getting a driving license - or even opening a bank account.

The code is issued on a card known as a CURP card.

(Source 8 February 2018)

Who issues CURPs?

The Mexican government issues CURPs.

Who’s eligible to get one?

You need to get a CURP if you’re a Mexican citizen or resident.

(Source 8 February 2018)

What are the steps to obtaining a CURP?

  1. Find out where your local CURP government office is and check when they are open for CURP registrants
  2. Head down there with the documents listed below
  3. Keep your printed CURP card safe

What documents do you need to get one?

  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • Photo ID
  • Proof that you’re not already registered

For children, the accompanying parent’s credentials are needed too.

Will you get a physical document? What if you lose it?

You should get a printed document, although it might just be a piece of paper - laminating it to keep it safe is a good idea. If you lose it, you can look the number up online and print another one.

(Source 8 February 2018)

Sending money to Mexico from abroad? Wise could help you save money.

Getting set up in Mexico is one thing, but dealing with your finances in both Mexico and your home country can be just as tough. Sending money to Mexico through a bank or a normal transfer service can mean suffering a markup on the exchange rate of 4-5%. Rather than losing out on that much money, using Wise can make the whole process far smoother by only charging the mid-market exchange rate - the only real rate there is - and one small fee stated upfront. That could end up saving you a lot of money.

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Take a look now at how much cheaper Wise is than a bank transfer.

Good luck as you sort out all of your Mexican details!

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