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Options without an ATM card for US citizens in SMA???

ATLANTA
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Options without an ATM card for US citizens in SMA???

Well, I screwed up. I have only used my ATM card three times and that was several years ago when I was out of the country and I don't have a debit card and I'm leaving Feb 8 for SMA and don't have enough time to get a new one. My "old" bank was bought out by a "new" bank and I discovered today that my ATM card does not work. I have read that not that many places take credit cards and I would think my best choice would be to take US $$ to a Mexican Bank and convert the USD to pesos. Can you tell me what the approximate fee is and is one bank better than another to use in centro SMA?

Also, I have Visa (3%), AMEX (2.7%) and Discover (0%) and those are the conversion fees and I would like to know if the MEGA, Giantte (sp?), liquor stores or drug stores take these cards. While I'm there, I want to try and buy some prescription drugs that are more expensive in the US. Any suggestions for a store?

In the past we've been to many islands in the Caribbean and they readily take USD at the restaurants and grocery stores and I'm sorry I wasn't more prepared.

I appreciate any help.

Kent

San Miguel de...
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1. Re: Options without an ATM card for US citizens in SMA???

You can exchange some dollars at whatever airport you arrive at, and then later at Intercam just off the jardin on San Francisco. Today's rate was 13.2. CI Banco up the street is 12.9. Most of the popular restaurants take plastic as well as many of the shops in centro. MEGA, Soriana and Europea (for liquor) take plastic. Gigante is no more. I'm pretty sure Farmacia Guadalajara does as well, but MEGA's and Soriana's pharmacies are competitive if not cheaper on some things. I suppose there are some places that will take dollars, but you'll get killed on the exchange. Might be a good idea to see if you can do a cash advance on your credit card before you leave, just in case.

ATLANTA
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2. Re: Options without an ATM card for US citizens in SMA???

Thanks for the reply and the info. FWIW Visa charges 5% for a cash withdrawal and Discover charges 3% and AMEX charges---- sit down----- 25.24% interest.. The 1 for 1 exchange rate today is 1.33 so the 13.2 rate is very fair. I'll just take some cash and go to the bank.

Thanks again for all of the info. I'm going to be down there for a week for a photography workshop and I'm flying into Leon.

Kent

Medellin, Colombia
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3. Re: Options without an ATM card for US citizens in SMA???

I tried to change USD for MXN at a bank in Mexico City but was told that it is illegal for banks to do so; probably owing to money laundering on the part of highly dubious characters. There are properly licensed "casa de cambio" store fronts as pointed out by BON above. Your visit will be a short one so you won't have time to get trounced too badly on fees. Whatever cash greenbacks you bring should be in quite good condition. Before traveling out of the States I stop in at my local bank and ask for pristine condition currency. It can't hurt and just might help. Occasionally, when changing money I've had bills tossed back at me because they had handwriting or some other perceived defect.

Queretaro City...
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4. Re: Options without an ATM card for US citizens in SMA???

There are monthly limits on the amount of dollars that can be exchanged which is why they will ask you for your passport. Some banks have stopped exchanging them at all although usually you will find one that does. I have found using credit cards to pay for things to be very economical but of course not for withdrawing cash. So I suggest you exchange your dollars for pesos but pay for as much as possible with your credit/debit cards.

toronto
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5. Re: Options without an ATM card for US citizens in SMA???

Friends of ours who visit Mexico for 3 months every year, get enough pesos at home in Canada to last them for that period. Not my 1st option, but maybe a thought.

ATLANTA
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6. Re: Options without an ATM card for US citizens in SMA???

Thanks for the replies.

Kent

7. Re: Options without an ATM card for US citizens in SMA???

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