We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Debit/Credit or Cashier'schecks

Level Contributor
70 posts
Save Topic
Debit/Credit or Cashier'schecks

Which is safer to carry? I called my bank and they said that using the debit card would cost me $5 plus whatever the bank down there charged. So that could et way expensive . But carrying cash might be a bad idea too with it getting stolen.

Which did you do? I know we were told to bring lots of $1's

USA
Level Contributor
7,144 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Debit/Credit or Cashier'schecks

Yes, I would bring a lot of ones for tipping. However, tipping in pesos is fine too. The following is a copy of a reply I recently did that might help you with the rest of your question:

There are a lot of people that feel that Travelers Checks are a waste of time and a major hassle. However, I disagree. I would not depend totally on your credit card and/or debit card (don’t forget to tell your cc & debit card company you will be in Mexico) or only cash. I would take some cash, travelers (these can be exchanged at your resort with no problem) checks and just use the credit/debit card at the resort or at the ATM machines.

Some of the reasons you do not want to totally depend on just plastic or cash are:

1. Not all places take plastic.

2. Not all ATM’s work all the time. (Think power outage and/or out of money)

3. Many, though not all (depends on the age & sophistication of the machine), credit card receipts in Mexico could have your card number on it and those numbers are easy to steal. If you do use your card never let it out of your sight.

4. If you lose your cards (or they are stolen) you are not dead in the water. About 7 years ago, in Cancun, my wife and I were robbed and they got our cash, cards, and $400 in Travelers Checks. The Travelers Checks (American Express) were replaced within 24 hours but it took 5 days to get another credit card delivered to our resort.

5. Etc.

I guess my main point is why put all your eggs in one basket. Not even the Easter Bunny does that.

I also need to point out that in general we feel safer in the Playa or Cancun areas than in most places in the USA. Theft can happen anyplace so just use common sense and use caution when traveling anyplace and you should be just fine.

Now, go and have a great trip.

Cozumel, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Cozumel, Merida
Level Contributor
44,097 posts
137 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Debit/Credit or Cashier'schecks

I use my bank debit card to get all cash here and have never had a problem. My US bank charges $1 per transaction and the Mexico bank fee is set at 7.5 pesos (about 75 US cents) Of course, the fee is per transaction so I dont make small withdrawals.

UK
Level Contributor
541 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Debit/Credit or Cashier'schecks

Hi, just as another option - have you tought about the *travellers cheque CARD* .

You just pre-load it with £ and use it the same as any plastic at any outlet which would usually accept travellers cheques etc.

Saves all that signing and carrying bits of paper around.

:0)

jms
Minnesota
Level Contributor
332 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Debit/Credit or Cashier'schecks

I used to bring travelers checks and didn't have any trouble cashing at the currency exchange booths. I now just bring all cash and a credit card for emergencies. I leave my extra cash, along with passport and travel documents in the safe in the room. No need to carry all you cash with you all the time!

Saskatoon Sask
Level Contributor
896 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Debit/Credit or Cashier'schecks

SIB if your bank charges 5 per withdrawl I would suggest finding another bank. My cost was 2 dollars Canadian per withdrawl. I pack 2 debit cards from 2 different banks for the unlikely event I should lose one and the preposterious event that I should lose a second I pack a Visa which remains in the room safe. As to the ATM's being down due to power, if the streets are out of power the Cajero's that exchange money will also be closed. Banks close at 3 and money changers close at night. ATM's are 24/7.

Your rock bottom best currency exchange rate will be given to you by your own bank while you stand at the machine on the streets of Mexico. This applies if you are German, French, Canadian, Italian, American or Japaneese.

I also have never ever ever once told my bank I was going to Mexico (6 trips now). For gosh sakes you paranoids, what if the teller has a habit and your stereo will help feed it????? Ever a problem... not once!

Tip in Pesos, you'll be fine.

United States
1 post
Save Reply
6. Re: Debit/Credit or Cashier'schecks

I"ll tell you why you notify your credit card co's. I was in cozumel and my card co. saw charges in mexico and froze my card. Great time after that.

USA
Level Contributor
7,144 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Debit/Credit or Cashier'schecks

Our credit card company will not pay any out-of-country charge without contacting us for approval (if they had not been pre notified by us about our trip). Last year, a month after we got back from Cancun, somehow someone got our credit card number and started charging in Cancun. Of course I said "no way". We had to get a new card.

Saskatoon Sask
Level Contributor
896 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Debit/Credit or Cashier'schecks

Ok folks your talking CREDIT CARDS. I'm speaking of DEBIT cards. The bank expects you to take debit cards out of the country. They cannot be used without the secret pin number. 6 trips to Mexico in 7 years. Not one single traverlers cheque ever. Not one single problem with an ATM unless you count New Years Eve 01,01,01 when the machine ran out of money, and never ever once informed my bank I was going on vacation. And have never ever gone with pockets full of American nor Canadian dollars. We are booked to Vegas in July and I shall not be running down to my bank and filling my jeans with sawbucks for tips.

Chose your own method, I know mine works, in PDC anyway. This year we're doing Dominican Rep. and now I'm in the same quandry as 1/2 this page is, what to take?

Last point. My daughter recently spent 2 weeks in New Zeland. I put "MY" Visa card in her hand in case she got in trouble and needed help. She did use it for one meal and one phone call home. Was my card cancelled by Royal Bank Visa. Nope!

Please do not read any anger nor malace into this message,,,none intended

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
233 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Debit/Credit or Cashier'schecks

Sibelius - we took both cash (mostly in the form of $1 dollar bills and our debit/check cards. My bank (Wachovia) had no problem processing any transactions and without any additional fees, however, my boyfriend's bank (Bank of America) but a security freeze on his check card when he tried to make a somewhat large purchase.

Prior to our trip (in July) I was advised to also call my bank and let them know that I'm traveling etc...to avoid such a freeze from happening. I did NOT do that and had no problems using my card (even for rather large purchase/charge).

boston
3 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Debit/Credit or Cashier'schecks

>Ok folks your talking CREDIT CARDS. I'm >speaking of DEBIT cards. The bank expects you >to take debit cards out of the country. They >cannot be used without the secret pin number.

That is not true. The DEBIT card can be used just like the CREDIT card. The ATM card (if they still exist) however can only be used with the pin number. And it's not a bad idea to notify your bank. It certainly doesn't hurt.

With that said, I prefer to use ATM's whenever possible. I'll be in PDC in a month and I will take a small-ish amount of cash to start, one or two credit cards and my debit card. However, if my bank charges $5 per transaction (which I don't think they do)...no deal, that's crazy.