Everything you need to know to make the most of your money!

If you’ve recently moved to Mexico, whether that be for studies or for business, then you have probably found yourself in need of a Mexican bank account. If so, this guide is made especially for you: we’ve shopped around Mexico and put together this list of everything you need to know!

Banks in Mexico

Let’s explore what options are available to you when it comes to browsing the banks on offer in Mexico.

There is a non exhaustive list of Banks mostly present in the United States of Mexico (from what I’ve personally seen) :

  • Banamex (partially present in Europe, North America, Middle East, Africa, Asia/Australia, Latin America)
  • Bancomext
  • BBVA Bancomer (present in the United States and Spain)
  • Banorte (present in the United States)
  • Bank of America (present in Europe, North America, Latin America, Middle East, Africa and Asia/Autralia)
  • HSBC (present in Europe, North America, Asia/Australia, North Africa & Middle East)
  • ING Bank (present in Europe, the United States, Argentina/Brazil/Mexico, Asia/Australia)
  • Santander (present in Europe, North America, Asia/Australia & Latin America)
  • Scotiabank (present in Europe, North America, Asia/Australia & Latin America)

As we can see from the list, most banks are present either in Europe, the United States, Asia or Latin America, and many are present in several of these countries! Indeed, they are mostly international banks, and therefore BETTER FOR YOU!

Quick overview

The best banks in terms of procedures (easy, fast, limited documentation) are Santander & Banorte.

The best bank in terms of their customer offers is Banorte. This bank is the most commonly seen around the country (especially in the Federal District), with a large number of cash distributors, and lots of agencies that offer further reductions in fees.

This guide focuses on opening current accounts: the most frequent procedures for foreigners.

How can I open a bank account in Mexico?

Firstly, you will have to go the bank, to obtain help from an executive. You could be waiting anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the day, the time of day, and the bank. I suggest you to go to the bank at opening time, or at around 1pm – 2pm, as well as avoiding going in the middle of the month (between the 13th and the 16th).

These problems can be particularly prevalent in larger banks, such as Banamex, who can often have huge offices! You take a ticket when entering and then wait on the sofas until your number is displayed on the screens. There could just be 1 person queuing, though there could be as many as 15 or more. Imagine! It’s much better to go to small agencies, where there are less people, and thus less time is spent waiting.

Beware, you can’t open a bank account unless you bring the following with you:
FM2 (Immigrate card), FM3 (No Immigrate) or FMM (Tourists or business travelers ) except HSBC.

Choosing a bank in Mexico

There are many criteria that can guide you towards choosing the right bank, depending on the type of account you want to open for instance. Current or savings, investments or offshore accounts; it is your call!

If the bank that you use in your home country is present in Mexico, then go for this option it will be easier to go through the whole process, and in most cases, it will be cheaper to transfer money later on.

What’s next ?

As in Europe or America, generally banks will ask you for the following documentation:

  • You will definitely need a valid passport, or any ID from your country of origin with Latin characters (e.g driver’s licence).
  • A proof of residence , such as an electricity, telephone or water bill. Banks generally ask for a recent document, which is no older than 2/3 months, and for Santander, this can be no more than 1 month old.
  • Your Mexican document, either an Immigrant visa (former FM2), Non immigrant visa (previously FM3) or FMM (Multiple Purpose Form).

A deposit

On average, the bank will ask you to provide an initial deposit between 500$M and 750$M minimum to open a current account.
Scotiabank will ask you to make a 1000$M deposit, and you will have to maintain a balance of at least 1500$M in your account, otherwise they will take commission from the balance.

How long does it take ?

Within 3 working days, you will receive your credit/debit card. Meanwhile, you will also receive your passwords and usernames that will enable you to access your account online(if your account package includes it). If youneed it as soon as possible, you can ask for an impersonal credit card (which doesn’t contain your own name on the front).

Good tips to know

  • Banks open from 9am to 4pm, though some of them have offices that are open on Saturday from 10am to 2pm.
  • Large cash deposits might be taxed, but bank transfers are not, and neither are checks.
  • Your bank can tax Withdrawals from other banks ATMs too. You need to check that you can withdraw money easily near your home location!
  • When providing a utility bill as your documentation, , if you cannot provide a light or water bill, then your phone number must appear on the document; for example, phone + internet; phone + TV, or a combination of the three (TV + internet bill is not accepted).
  • Be aware that if you are providing a semi-annual bill, it must have been issued within the last month!Furthermore, with Banorte you will have to ask the landlord of the flat to fill in a form (if you rent a room), and provide copies of his Mexican ID.
  • If you are a student staying for 1 semester, you won’t be able to open an account in HSBC because you need to remain within the state for at least 1 full year. In that case, you will have to provide the certificate from your school.
  • If you are a business traveler, in some cases – Banorte, Scotiabank, HSBC – the bank will ask you a “credencial” because the FMM won’t be enough as proof of residence in Mexico. You will need to go to the Instituto Nacional de Migración to receive a card resuming your FMM with a photograph (that you will have to provide).
  • If you have any doubts about the type of visa you need to come to Mexico, check it here and there!
  • As a final point, keep in mind that with Santander Bank, using the basic account you won’t be able to make international transfers during the first 6 months.

It is your choice on which bank you use, whether that be a bank account for a short-term period with fast and easy procedures, or one for the long-term with a competitive offer!

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