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credit card question

Indiana
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11 posts
1 review
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credit card question

Ok, so I have been reading and reading trying to figure out the best way to do things. I know the best thing to do is to get money from our debit card. Problem is that we never use our debit card so it has expired and by the time I realized it it was too late to get a new one before we leave. So, is it bad to use our credit card? We did get some pesos, but definitely not enough for our whole trip.

Our bank does have "gift card" that we can get with a set amount of money on. From what I understand it works like a debit card, but I need to call tomorrow and see if it will work in Mexico. It says it can be used at any ATM displaying the STAR® or Cirrus® acceptance marks, is that what is available in Mazatlan?

We would normally use our credit card for eating out, shopping, and activities while on vacation, but it sounds like that is not the best thing to do there?

Thank you so much for any help, this forum has provided so much help already!

Kate

califonia
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167 posts
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1. Re: credit card question

I would bring cash and exchange it at a bank. The thing about credit cards is that you're hit with an "international transaction" charge for every purchase. This may vary from bank to bank. Exchanging dollars will be a one time hit. Im sure others will disagree with me.

Lake Minnewawa, mn
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2,764 posts
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2. Re: credit card question

I would agree. Bring cash.

At this late date to get a debit card and have it validated could cause more problems.

Now you are going to get a ton of posts bragging about their no fee ATM cards. There is no such thing. Banks and credit card companies are not charitable instituions.

A recent poster stated that when he returned home the final exchange was 11.7 pesos to the dollar. At the same time the Casa de Cambio were exchanging cash for 11.3.

With that little differnce bring the cash.

Mazatlan
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for Mazatlan
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5,517 posts
36 reviews
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3. Re: credit card question

Normally I recommend ATM card, however in your case I suggest cash. The international hit on each credit card purchase is a minus.

In addition if you happen to get a bogus purchase on your card it could be invalidated immediately. Last year while in Mazatlan my Bank of America credit card company thought there was "unusual activity" on my card so they canceled it. I had even called and told them in advance the dates I would be Mazatlan.

When I called them and asked them why my card was refused they said, "don't worry about it as we have already sent you replacement cards."

Didn't do me any good with my new cards in the states and me in Mazatlan.

Indiana
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11 posts
1 review
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4. Re: credit card question

Thanks for the advice. We'll take some US cash and just exchange it as needed. We'll save the credit card for "just in case".

2 more sleeps till we go!!!

Zihuatanejo, Mexico
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for Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo, Cabo San Lucas
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6 reviews
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5. Re: credit card question

So my question is...what bank will do the exchange for this person?

Seems strange...as when I was coming down everyone told me I needed an ATM card...as NO bank was taking USD????!!!!

Have things changed that much in just one month?? Sure doubt it.

Mazatlan, Mexico
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755 posts
7 reviews
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6. Re: credit card question

The money exchanges are still taking US dollars. The banks may be a bit more difficult....I've heard they only do money exchange certain times of day and you will probably need your passport. Not sure Judy.....I always try to buy my pesos at home and bring them with me and we use our debit card at the machines. We just had some guests and they brought some US dollars and the beach vendors are still taking the dollars so they must be able to exchange them somewhere.???

oregon
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1,363 posts
10 reviews
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7. Re: credit card question

We are staying at Torres Mazatlan, a VI timeshare. When we went to the VI's Puerto Vallarta condo we just exchanged our USD at the condo, and assuming they will do the same in Mazatlan. Do most hotels offer this assistance? I'm not sure what the exchange rate was vs. what a bank or atm charged.

Mazatlan, Mexico
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for Mazatlan
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31 reviews
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8. Re: credit card question

Part of the original questions were about the 'Gift card' and are there ATM's that have Star and Cirrus. The answer as to those networks (Star and Cirrus) is YES. Most all ATM's will have those networks available. (I just don't know about a 'Gift card'. Worth a try for at least part of the money, keeping in mind it will PROBABLY work, but MAY not.)

9. Re: credit card question

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Vancouver BC
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for Vancouver
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188 reviews
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10. Re: credit card question

I have used credit cards all over Mexico. There shouldn't be a "international transaction charge" but there will be a foreign currency exchange charge. It ranges from zero with a Capital One card (USA Capital One) to maybe as much as 5% depending on the card. Check yours on line or on the back of your statement. Most are around 2% but that 2% is on the wholesale currency price so works out about the same exchange as your ATM debit card on the same day. It is certainly better than a cambio and likely better than a bank. Some cardholders require you to advise them when travelling. My Capital One will cancel it if you don't advise them even if you charged your ticket on Capital One. My Amex doesn't care but charges about 2% foreign exchange. Some vendors, however, might add a credit card surcharge so be alert to watch that. It could be negotiable. By the way, Canadian credit cards are different. The lowest foreign exchange charge is not Capital One in Canada. it is Desjardins Visa at 1.8%. There is more CC and ATM info in Top Questions on the Pacific Coast forum page.

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