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A friend of mine is travelling to Mexico for business and wants to bring in about $9000 USD worth of pesos because most of the business transactions are cash only. She doesn't feel safe making such a large conversion while actually inside Mexico. She says Wells Fargo says they can do it for a $1 to 18 peso conversion rate, plus a likely % fee. (Current bankrate is $1 to 19). She's a little math impaired so I explained that she'll likely be paying Wells about $700 for the privilege and she can likely do better.

Can anyone suggest some alternatives to Wells Fargo that can save her some of this money?

Moderator Comment: This thread had been placed under moderation to keep thread on topic. — Oct. 17, 2016 @ 4:14pm
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Schwab will temporarily lift the ATM daily limit if you call the number on back of the card. Don't know what the maximum... (more)

jarfykk (Oct. 18, 2016 @ 9:49a) |

That is a great idea!

TravelerMSY (Oct. 18, 2016 @ 3:26p) |

You can withdraw $5000 from an ATM all at once? Even with hundreds, it's a decent stack.

samko (Oct. 18, 2016 @ 5:43p) |

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sfchris said:   A friend of mine is travelling to Mexico for business and wants to bring in about $9000 USD worth of pesos because most of the business transactions are cash only. She doesn't feel safe making such a large conversion while actually inside Mexico. She says Wells Fargo says they can do it for a $1 to 18 peso conversion rate, plus a likely % fee. (Current bankrate is $1 to 19). She's a little math impaired so I explained that she'll likely be paying Wells about $700 for the privilege and she can likely do better.

Can anyone suggest some alternatives to Wells Fargo that can save her some of this money?

If she is converting pesos to dollars, isnt 18 pesos to a dollar better than 19 pesos to a dollar!
  Is it legitimate business? Coming in with ~9k in cash (just under the 10k limit to declare at US customs). Hmmm.
 

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fwuser12 said:   
sfchris said:   A friend of mine is travelling to Mexico for business and wants to bring in about $9000 USD worth of pesos because most of the business transactions are cash only. She doesn't feel safe making such a large conversion while actually inside Mexico. She says Wells Fargo says they can do it for a $1 to 18 peso conversion rate, plus a likely % fee. (Current bankrate is $1 to 19). She's a little math impaired so I explained that she'll likely be paying Wells about $700 for the privilege and she can likely do better.

Can anyone suggest some alternatives to Wells Fargo that can save her some of this money?

If she is converting pesos to dollars, isnt 18 pesos to a dollar better than 19 pesos to a dollar!
  Is it legitimate business? Coming in with ~9k in cash (just under the 10k limit to declare at US customs). Hmmm.

  
Legitimate or not, they can't stop her. (She's a Mexican dual citizen). It's legal. Things are different down there and many business transactions are expected to be in cash. Just to preempt the jokes, this is real estate related not drugs.

And you have the conversion backwards. It's dollars to pesos.

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sfchris said:   And you have the conversion backwards. It's dollars to pesos.
 

  Just so I understand, she wants to go into Mexico with pesos (worth approx. 9k USD) to make a cash purchase.
I am guessing there is enough under the radar folks happy to get USD for pesos (particularly in the right ethnic neighborhood).
Can you use Western union or similar type of operation to send yourself cash.

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You can use Xoom.com to send yourself cash for pick-up at at "Bancomer, Banamex, Banorte, Scotiabank, Santander, and others" locations. Money comes directly from your Wells Fargo account. Cheaper than Wells Fargo, better exchange rate than Wells Fargo. Limit is $2999 per day, or send more if you comply with extra security verification.

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fwuser12 said:   isnt 18 pesos to a dollar better than 19 pesos to a dollar!
  I'm not a math major but if I was exchanging money, I would prefer 19 pesos for every dollar I hand over instead of just 18. More is better.

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Open a Schwab checking account and withdrawal from an ATM? They reimburse the forex fees. Not sure about the daily withdrawal limit though.

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Is this money currently in currency or in a bank account?

If the former, that's going to be tough. Any "safe" bank or conversion store is not going to have the best rates, as you've learned, and she's probably not going to feel comfortable at the currency conversion places near the border or in Mexico which would have the best rates. One option is seeing if the business accepting the money will take USD. The exchange rate probably won't be fantastic, but if they'll beat WF's rate (and surely they would, this would be profitable for them) and is convenient, it might be worth it.

If she's not trying to avoid the banking system, she should consider withdrawals from an ATM in Mexico from an account with no foreign transaction fees or ATM fees. The exchange rates tend to be very favorable and many banks' fee-free networks extend to Mexico (though if she doesn't have access to an in-network ATM, the fees at bank branches in Mexico are under US$2. Obviously ATM withdrawal limits would necessitate that the cash be obtained over multiple days, but this could be a benefit because she wouldn't have to keep so much cash on her all the time (unless she actually needs all the cash for a single big transaction, of course).

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What Mexican doesn't accept USD?

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sfchris said:   She doesn't feel safe making such a large conversion while actually inside Mexico. 
  What doesn't she feel safe about? Assume she would go into a Mexican bank for the transaction. Does she think they will somehow cheat her with the exchange rate? That she will be robbed after leaving the bank?

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umcsom said:   What Mexican doesn't accept USD?
  

Exactly.  Outside of the small towns in BF, have never been to a place in Mexico that would NOT take USD.  NEVER!

 

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atikovi said:   
sfchris said:   She doesn't feel safe making such a large conversion while actually inside Mexico. 
  What doesn't she feel safe about? Assume she would go into a Mexican bank for the transaction. Does she think they will somehow cheat her with the exchange rate? That she will be robbed after leaving the bank?

  
Not unlike most countries, there is a general distrust for banks in Mexico. The virtual kidnappings are a big problem over there. All it takes is some bank teller to see your balance and pass it on to some crooks. 

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A tad racist, no?

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atikovi said:   A tad racist, no?
  No, it's legit.  You just don't let anyone know you have that kind of cash on your person or available to you in border towns... Staying in them or travelling through them.

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To get back on topic, what about just changing it at a Mexican bank?

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atikovi said:   
sfchris said:   She doesn't feel safe making such a large conversion while actually inside Mexico. 
  What doesn't she feel safe about? Assume she would go into a Mexican bank for the transaction. Does she think they will somehow cheat her with the exchange rate? That she will be robbed after leaving the bank?

  
I don't trust the police down there.  They might be stalking the banks.  I've seen the police rob people many times, and unfortunately they robbed me once (luck of the draw).  Hide the bulk of the cash somewhere and just keep enough to make them happy in your wallet like $50.  They will just take what's in your wallet.

 

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atikovi said:   
fwuser12 said:   isnt 18 pesos to a dollar better than 19 pesos to a dollar!
  I'm not a math major but if I was exchanging money, I would prefer 19 pesos for every dollar I hand over instead of just 18. More is better.

  
Not if you had pesos and were trying to get dollars.

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matrix5k said:   Open a Schwab checking account and withdrawal from an ATM? They reimburse the forex fees. Not sure about the daily withdrawal limit though.
  Interesting.  Is their exchange rate pretty favorable?  

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They way the peso has gone in the last 15 months, from about 14 to 19 per dollar, see if they are ok with installments. Even with an interest, you might pull ahead converting the dollars to pesos over a 2-3 year period. It will probably cover interest and conversion fee.

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atikovi said:   
fwuser12 said:   isnt 18 pesos to a dollar better than 19 pesos to a dollar!
  I'm not a math major but if I was exchanging money, I would prefer 19 pesos for every dollar I hand over instead of just 18. More is better.

  It depends on which way the exchange is going on. I would rather pay 18 pesos to get a dollar than 19 pesos!

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Since the peso has gone down in value, I would be very surprised that they won't accept dollars for such a transaction. I'd get fresh $100 bills.

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S197 said:   
matrix5k said:   Open a Schwab checking account and withdrawal from an ATM? They reimburse the forex fees. Not sure about the daily withdrawal limit though.
  Interesting.  Is their exchange rate pretty favorable?  

  Exchange rate is determined by Visa (which is the logo in Schwab debit card). There is no additional fee by Schwab. In general, the rates given by Visa are one of the best you can get, at least for a retail transaction.
Daily limit (usually ~$500) will be a big impediment for OP.

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If that's what Ganda was doing, then Ganda was being intentionally dishonest.  Ganda knows better.  What does that say about Ganda's character?

If you've been to border cities enough, you will see things...  You certainly wont trust their police.  I tell people to take a cab instead of walking.  As for bringing money in, I'd probably get the money north of the border.  That said, my only experience down there is in the border cities.  I hear things are different further south.

As for getting the money converted...  For my last international trip, we called a few banks and credit unions and found a pretty good deal at our local bank (very small flat fee).

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​How much will fit in bodily cavities, and can you still walk normal?

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However you do it, do it before the next Hillary-Trump debate.  During each debate so far the peso has risen against the dollar, about 2% the first time and somewhat less the second.  

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I know things are less expensive in Mexico, but what kind of real estate is only $9K?

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A fixer upper.

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Please refrain from making offensive comments and stay on topic, folks!

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MilleniumBuc said:   They way the peso has gone in the last 15 months, from about 14 to 19 per dollar, see if they are ok with installments. Even with an interest, you might pull ahead converting the dollars to pesos over a 2-3 year period. It will probably cover interest and conversion fee.
  Now you're gambling on currency

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fwuser12 said:   
S197 said:   
matrix5k said:   Open a Schwab checking account and withdrawal from an ATM? They reimburse the forex fees. Not sure about the daily withdrawal limit though.
  Interesting.  Is their exchange rate pretty favorable?  

  Exchange rate is determined by Visa (which is the logo in Schwab debit card). There is no additional fee by Schwab. In general, the rates given by Visa are one of the best you can get, at least for a retail transaction.
Daily limit (usually ~$500) will be a big impediment for OP.

  
Schwab will temporarily lift the ATM daily limit if you call the number on back of the card. Don't know what the maximum is, but I used to call them every month to raise if to $5k USD when I was living overseas and had to pay my rent in cash (in the local currency). After trying different wiring options, this wound up being the cheapest and most convenient. You can call the toll-free number collect from overseas as well, limit lifted almost immediately and they were able to do it for a few hours up to a day.

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That is a great idea!

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jarfykk said:   
fwuser12 said:   
S197 said:   
matrix5k said:   Open a Schwab checking account and withdrawal from an ATM? They reimburse the forex fees. Not sure about the daily withdrawal limit though.
  Interesting.  Is their exchange rate pretty favorable?  

  Exchange rate is determined by Visa (which is the logo in Schwab debit card). There is no additional fee by Schwab. In general, the rates given by Visa are one of the best you can get, at least for a retail transaction.
Daily limit (usually ~$500) will be a big impediment for OP.

  
Schwab will temporarily lift the ATM daily limit if you call the number on back of the card. Don't know what the maximum is, but I used to call them every month to raise if to $5k USD when I was living overseas and had to pay my rent in cash (in the local currency). After trying different wiring options, this wound up being the cheapest and most convenient. You can call the toll-free number collect from overseas as well, limit lifted almost immediately and they were able to do it for a few hours up to a day.

  You can withdraw $5000 from an ATM all at once? Even with hundreds, it's a decent stack. 

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