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In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about opening a bank account in Mexico. This includes the documents you’ll need, the Mexican banks you can choose from and types of bank accounts.
Along with rentingor buying a home, one of the first things on your to-do list will be to open a bank account. This could prove useful for paying your bills, and receiving your salary if you’re working.
We’ll even show you an alternative to help you manage your money between the US and Mexico. Open a Wise account online for free, and you can send and receive money internationally for low fees⁶ and the fairest exchange rates.
Foreigners can open bank accounts in Mexico, but there are a couple of important things you need to know as a US citizen.
Firstly, you might find the process of opening your account a little challenging unless you speak Spanish. Not all Mexican banks have English-speaking staff on hand to help, and websites and forms may well be in Spanish.
However, there are many American and international banks which have a presence in Mexico. So, if your Spanish is a little rusty, you may want to stick to a home bank.
The other thing to know relates to documentation, which we’ll look at more in a moment. You don’t need to have Mexican citizenship to open a bank account, but you will usually need to provide official evidence of temporary or permanent residence – banks usually also ask you to provide a utility bill as a proof of address.
If you already bank with an international bank which operates in both the US and Mexico, they should be able to help you with the specifics of setting up an account in Mexico before you arrive. There aren’t any Mexican banks in the USA, but HSBC and Santander operate in both countries.
The procedure and availability of services may vary from bank to bank, though, so it’s best to speak to a customer representative at your local branch.
If you’re looking to open a bank account in Mexico online, you can also try digital-only banks and apps. An option in Mexico can be SuperDigital (an account from Santander).
Want a convenient, low-cost way to send and receive money between the US and Mexico? Try Wise, the online multi-currency account. It takes just minutes to open your Wise account for free, and you can even order an international debit card for a fee⁶ to spend in the local currency in 174 countries.
You’ll get the convenience of just one account for all your international banking needs. Send, spend, receive and convert between a huge 50 currency balances, set up direct debits and receive money using your own local bank details (US, UK, EU, AU, NZ, RO, HU, SG, TR).
With Wise, it’s cheap, fast and easy to send money all over the world. You’ll get low, transparent fees⁶ and the mid-market exchange rate, which is the fairest you can get. It could save you a bundle if you regularly make international transfers.
To open a bank account in Mexico as a US citizen, you’ll usually need to provide the following original documents:
- Valid passport
- Proof of residency - such as your FM2 Immigration credential photo, FM2 Book with Immigration status, Temporary Resident Card or Multiple Immigration Form.
- Proof of address - such as a utility bill from the last three months.
You’ll also need to make a minimum initial deposit in most cases. This can vary from bank to bank, and between account types. For example, the HSBC Simple Flex Account requires an initial deposit of $750 MXN¹, while BBVA Bancomer’s Premium account requires a minimum of $2,000 MXN² to open the account.
In terms of how you actually apply, you’ll need to check with the bank. Some will let you at least start your application online, while others require a visit to a local branch in person.
Mexico is home to quite a few major international banks, including HSBC, Banco Santander, ING Bank and Scotiabank. These are popular with expats, as they have a global presence and tailor their services to a wide range of nationalities.
Other popular banks in Mexico include:
- BBVA Bancomer
Like the idea of sticking with your home bank after your move to Mexico, and wondering is there a Bank of America in Mexico? We have good news for you, as Bank of America does operate in Mexico. It only has one location, though, in Mexico City³.
It may only have one branch, but you’ll be pleased to know that there are a number of Bank of America affiliates in Mexico.
Scotiabank is one of the main Bank of America partner banks in Mexico⁴. Primarily, it provides the ATM network so that customers can withdraw cash without facing a fee for using an out-of-network ATM.
Banks in Mexico tend to offer the following types of accounts:
- Checking accounts - ideal for everyday banking, where you’ll usually need to maintain a minimum balance.
- Payroll accounts (Cuenta de Nomina) - most employed people in Mexico have this kind of basic account, into which their salaries are paid.
- Deposit accounts - these accounts include ‘sight deposit accounts’ where you’ll have easy access to your savings, and ‘notice deposit accounts’. These require notice before you can withdraw your money, but offer higher rates of interest. So, if you’re saving for something in particular, such as to buy a car for example, you’ll save faster but need to plan ahead in order to withdraw your money.
Some banks also offer premium accounts and investment accounts.
Bank accounts in Mexico are covered by the Institute for the Protection of Bank Savings (Instituto para la Protección al Ahorro Bancario). This provides insurance for up to 400,000 investment units (Unidad de Inversión)⁵. This works out to around $2,961,000 MXN per account holder.
All sources checked on 19-Jul-2022
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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