Cash withdrawal options in Cancun Mexico

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Cash withdrawal options in Cancun Mexico

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1. Posted by Noseclump (Respected Member 302 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!


My husband and I will go to Cancun for a short vacation in December, and we'll be traveling around there a little (so we won't be staying in a resort for the duration). I was wondering if anyone had any tips regarding money withdrawal there? I was trying to look up what the smartest option might be, and I hear some banks don't work quite like they are supposed to (Tangerine/Scotiabank, for example). I'll have some US to start off with for cash when we get there, but we might likely need to take out more.

Anyone have any experiences?

Thanks in advance,


2. Posted by road to roam (Travel Guru 373 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Noseclump

...I hear some banks don't work quite like they are supposed to (Tangerine/Scotiabank, for example).

I don't know what you mean at all by this. Can you explain?

We have in the past used both Scotiabank and Santander ATMs to withdraw funds in Mexico. Our bank at home is part of the Global ATM Alliance and in Mexico that means we can currently use Scotiabank to withdraw from their ATMs with a fee of 3% - Santander ATMs currently are no longer an option for us like they once were.

Check with your bank to see which "partner bank" ATM(s) you can use (if any) to avoid mad, excessive fees. Also, you should alert your bank you may be using your card at a foreign ATM or as a debit card with a foreign merchant.

Be aware in Mexico about using USD: True, many shops/vendors/services gladly take USD but this is purely a convenience for the visitor and the rate is not good..

As for exchanging foreign currency to pesos while in Mexico: You may get a better exchange rate at a cambio/bureau de change OR at the bank. With the latter, keep in mind all banks in Mexico with the exception of one require you to be an account holder with that bank to exchange your home currency for pesos. The exception in this case is Banco Azteca, which will exchange foreign currency to pesos for non-account holders.

Just several years ago, many banks in Mexico exchanged foreign currency to pesos for non-account holders and now it's (as far as I know) ONLY Banco Azteca that does this. I am not certain if Banco Azteca a nation-wide bank - you may not find them in Quintana Roo and Yucatan states, for example. Search them up online.

[ Edit: Edited on 18-Nov-2019, 13:37 GMT by road to roam ]

3. Posted by 55vineyard (Budding Member 53 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Yes, I agree with #1, and mostly used an ATM to withdraw pesos. Only use a bank owned ATM and not a private one like Cashola (if they are still around). Also as stated be sure and notify your bank o ATM card issuer that you will be in Mexico so they do not freeze your card for suspected fraud. Do the same with your credit cards if you plan to use them. I once had my Visa and MC frozen down in Akumal by Wells Fargo, fortunately I had a backup card from Chase and plenty of cash. Also find out what your withdrawal limit is.

Not sure why you want to use USD unless you have some left over from a previous trip. Many places will take them but some do not (entrance to ruins for example) and some places will give a terrible rate of exchange (taxis for example). Expect change in pesos.
USD are OK to use for tips if you have USD already but make sure they are not torn or have writing on them and coins are useless, even banks will not accept foreign coins.

4. Posted by road to roam (Travel Guru 373 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Quoting 55vineyard

....make sure they are not torn....

True, Mexicans very often avoid taking bills which are torn. However, banks will kindly exchange a torn bill for one in better condition.

Also, during a currency exchange you'll likely get large bills of 500 pesos which are often very difficult to break making small purchases of, say, 100 pesos. Often, small shops, budget restaurants and the like simply won't have enough money on hand to give you change - smaller bills (100, 50, and 20) and 10 peso coins are crucial.

Large chain shops and grocery stores, bus lines and hotels, etc have the change (usually) to break big bills - that taco or torta cart in the square won't and neither will that corner shop.

Again, banks will take care of this by breaking large bills for you. Do this with only several 500 peso bills at a time to avoid walking around with too fat a stash.

5. Posted by mikefinleyco (Budding Member 7 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Hi Kat,

Tips for money withdrawl in Mexico are to use an ATM card. You will get the best exchange rate and it's quick and easy.

Couple of power tips for you -

  1. 1 Before you leave get a separate ATM card just for foreign travel and only fund it with as much money as you think you might need, do not connect it to any other bank accounts at all, make no connections to your banking from this account. Doing this shields you from a worst case scenario of only having the funds in this account at risk.

  1. 2 Do number 1 but do it by getting a Charles Schwab online checking account with ATM card. Savvy travelers for years flock to this ATM card because they rebate back to you all ATM fees no matter what, so as a traveler you never have to even worry about another ATM fee, or trying to second guess how much money to take out this time so you don't have to take out more tomorrow and get another fee...

6. Posted by 55vineyard (Budding Member 53 posts) 5d Star this if you like it!

Since the OP is traveling "in December" which starts tomorrow, they may not have time to get a separate travel ATM card let alone setup a Schwab account.