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Banks & ATMs — México

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The most convenient way of getting pesos is from an ATM (caja permanente, cajero automático) with a bank debit card that works on a network such as Plus, Star, and Cirrus or with a major credit card such as Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Queues for ATMs are usually short unlike the long lines common at banks.

Most major banks have ATMs in the lobby or outside near the entrance. In urban and tourist areas ATMs are popping up all over in places like corner stores and pharmacies. Many are available 24 hours a day and are an excellent way to get pesos after normal business hours.

Always be aware of surroundings and any suspicious behavior nearby when withdrawing cash from ATMs If unsure, walk away and find another machine. Only use ATMs in the daytime or at night when other people are around.

Also be protective of credit and debit card information when using an ATM. If an identity thief obtains a card's number, expiration date, and PIN code they can make a duplicate card and use it to withdraw cash from ATMs. Card information is most vulnerable when used in outdoor ATMs. Identity thieves have been known to set up hidden cameras to acquire card information.

The safest ATMs are secured behind doors that require cards to access them. Barring that, look for ATMs in public places such as bank lobbies or shopping malls. Don't be alarmed if police or armed security guards are standing around an ATM. Most likely, the machine is being refilled. This is standard practice.

ATM providers always charge a transaction fee for a withdrawal, usually between Mex$8 and 10 pesos. Also be aware that credit card companies treat cash withdrawals from an ATM as a loan and interest begins accruing immediately.

Banks are usually open during normal business hours Monday to Friday from around 9 am - 5 pm and some are open for part of the day Saturday, usually from around 10 am until 2 pm. They are never open on Sundays.

Most banks will exchange major international currencies and traveler's checks, but they are more bureaucratic, have shorter hours, longer queues, and less attractive exchange rates than casas de cambio. Casas de cambio are also usually open for long hours on Sundays.

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