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Best Exchange Rates for Foreign Currency

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rated:
I'll be traveling to Mexico next week, where can I get the best exchange rates? airport? local bank?

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rated:
Best exchange rate is from an ATM in Mexico (like at the airport when you arrive), or by charging purchases to your credit card. Before you go, check which of your cards has lowest foreign transaction fees, since they can vary greatly.  ATM cards can have out-of-network fees, the ATM you use can have a fee, and many credit cards have a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Tell us your credit card issuer and ATM card's bank and we might be able to help.

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I have BOA, Chase, and Discover atm cards, and for credit cards I have Amex, Chase (visa), and Discover.

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If it helps---ill be in cancun

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Depends on EXACTLY which accounts and which cards you have. Read this:
http://www.doctorofcredit.com/master-list-no-annual-fee-no-forei...

rated:
Generally, the money changers at the airport have the worst exchange rates. Banks are usually better. In some countries the private currency exchange points in the city can be better than banks, but it's also a good way to come across fake notes. Using an ATM to take out the daily max will almost always be the best, especially if you find the right ATM that doesn't charge too high a transaction fee or if your own bank reimburses you for these fees. See travel guides like Lonely Planet or Fodor's for details or do some more googling.

I once had an ATM eat my money in Cancun. It withdrew the amount from my account but didn't dispense the cash. Had to call my bank to complain and use another ATM card and machine. I got it all back after their investigation, but it was scary since I had no proof that ATM ate the cash.

rated:
Any ATM -- from your checking that doesn't charge you ATM fees like Charles Schwab. Fees do add up if you keep pulling pesos out of your checking accounts

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No, not just any ATM in Cancun. I've gone twice in the past year and the only ATMs in the airport that I saw dispensed USD, not MXN, which you'll pay dearly for. Skip the airport and go to a bank (like Santander) and use their ATM.

rated:
For getting pesos, Bank of America has an "ATM alliance" with Scotiabank in Mexico. They have some ATMs in Cancun. By using your BOA ATM card at a Scotiabank ATM, you will avoid fees.

For credit card purchases, Discover has no foreign fees, but their acceptance is low. Most Chase and Amex cards have foreign transaction fees, but some do not.

And never accept an offer from a merchant in a foreign country to charge your credit card in US Dollars (happens in touristy areas). You will get a very bad exchange rate.

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Looks like Scotiabank has ATMs in Cancun convenience stores like the one in the attached picture. You can find locations in google maps. First go to "cancun, mexico" in google maps, then, type 'Scotiabank", and you will see locations on the map marked by a ATM marker.

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megatard said:   Looks like Scotiabank has ATMs in Cancun convenience stores like the one in the attached picture. You can find locations in google maps. First go to "cancun, mexico" in google maps, then, type 'Scotiabank", and you will see locations on the map marked by a ATM marker.
  I've seen a Scotiabank when I've walked over to Tijuana from California.  As far as bringing pesos to Mexico in advance, I wouldn't bother if you're just going to tourist areas.  U.S. dollars are accepted all over.  If you need some pesos, just get some from an ATM while there.

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scripta said:   Generally, the money changers at the airport have the worst exchange rates. Banks are usually better. In some countries the private currency exchange points in the city can be better than banks, but it's also a good way to come across fake notes. Using an ATM to take out the daily max will almost always be the best, especially if you find the right ATM that doesn't charge too high a transaction fee or if your own bank reimburses you for these fees. See travel guides like Lonely Planet or Fodor's for details or do some more googling.

I once had an ATM eat my money in Cancun. It withdrew the amount from my account but didn't dispense the cash. Had to call my bank to complain and use another ATM card and machine. I got it all back after their investigation, but it was scary since I had no proof that ATM ate the cash.


The way it works in the US at least is after the bank complains they compare the atm transactions to the cash counts to prove the atm is off.

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I'm not answering the direct question but after many trips to Cancun I stopped getting pesos. The people there wanted dollars and I got a much better price on nearly everything just paying in dollars. But if you insist, get it from an ATM with a card without a foreign transaction fee and preferably not an ATM surcharge by your home bank.

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