Banking For The Unbanked

How anyone can move money around in Mexico
BY: EDGAR GONZALEZ

As a foreigner in Mexico, it is very, very difficult to open a bank account. And sometimes it can be even more difficult to deal with the Mexican banking system even if you can crack into it. And as of one year ago, the most recent  stats we have, 43% of Mexico’s 2,457 municipalities didn’t have an ATM, according to the commission’s2018 National Report on Financial Inclusion.

Up until 10 years ago Telegrafos de Mexico was one of the few options for moving money. The government sold money orders, they were here even before Western Union, and they cost about 10%

Here we give you a workaround to the banking industry,

You can now get banking services at almost any convenience store or supermarket, even Telegrafos de Mexico has this services.  You can send and deposit money to and from  almost any Mexican bank in places like OXXO, and the grocery stores Chedraui, Comercial Mexicana, and Soriana. These places  have deals with real banks where they can provide banking services for a small fee, often less than 10 pesos. That’s a fee that I myself gladly pay to avoid the bank lines.

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If I need to make a payment to somebody, I just need their credit or debit card number, then with this I go to the nearest OXXO and deposit the money in that account. No lines, no searching for the bank that never has enough parking, and no screwing around with the idiot bankers. The average Oxxo clerk is more efficient than the average banker. Why do you think it’s so hard to even open an account an pour your money into it?

I know there are electronic transfers between bank accounts, done on a phone or computer,  but in Mexico you need  the CLABE (which is an acronym for Standardized Banking key ) of the person, which is different from the account number and it's a requirement for all electronic transfers in Mexico,  and not everyone has or knows their CLABE. So if you don't have this CLABE number, and want to make a deposit to a Mexican account, pouring money onto someone’s credit or debit card is a good solution.

Oxxo and some supermarkets also have other banking services such as money withdrawals. You only need your credit or debit card and to enter your PIN in the terminal. 

Different stores have alliances with different banks and have different requirements. For example in Mega ( Comercial Mexicana) grocery store, you need to buy at least $50 pesos of merchandise to be to withdraw. There's no charge for the withdrawal In Oxxo and there's no minimum purchase necessary, but there's is a small fee. But a quick web search will tell you where to go for your specific needs, but be prepared to make this search in Spanish.

Oxxo has expanded in the payment services niche so you can also go there to make Paypal payments. Oxxo also has Western Union, Moneygram, XOOM and lots of other options. You can even obtain an almost instant debit card. It’s called Saldazo and it's a limited services debit card backed by Banamex and has a 15,000 pesos monthly deposit limit, but you can get it for 50 pesos with only your ID and a utility receipt as proof of where you live. They will give it to you immediately. It’s not an international card. But if for example you need to pay a Mexican that does not have a bank account you can ask that person to open this type of account in OXXO, which is ready in 5 minutes and boom! He or she has a Banamex bank account and you can deposit whatever you owe them in any OXXO. Or you can send them money through one of the many money transfer services but you pay a percentage fee of what you are sending, usually 5%. and a Valid ID is needed for this too. So evaluate your options now that you know they are out there.