How to Open a Bank Account in Mexico From Anywhere?

Last Updated on April, 2024

Navigating the banking system in Mexico is simple, just like the US. Nevertheless, it might get daunting if you don’t know where to begin and what type of account you should consider based on your needs. 

This article will guide you on how to open a bank account in Mexico and all the nitty-gritty details about it. So keep reading till the end. 

Quick Summary

Opening a bank account in Mexico is similar to the process in the US, but it is important to choose the right bank.

Expats can open a bank account in person, but online options are also available through international banks.

Wise and Revolut are popular online options for opening a bank account in Mexico for foreigners or those without proof of address.

Choosing a Bank in Mexico 

Mexico Flag

Before getting into the details of how to open a bank account in Mexico, you must find the right bank. Mexico has over 30 major financial institutions and national banks. 

You can find the details about their branches and services online. Ask your current bank which institutions they recommend to use in Mexico. 

Most expats prefer to opt for financial institutions with complimentary services for translation or English-speaking staff. Others like to open accounts in banks with home branches or some affiliation with a local bank.

Following are the 10 best banks, including major Mexican banks as well as international banks operating in Mexico with branches or affiliation with banks in the US:

Most of their websites are in Spanish. But you can translate them into other languages from your browser (Google Translate rules!). 

What’s Needed to Open a Bank Account in Mexico?

a picture of a bank building

Expats can’t open a Mexican bank account online, so you must do that in person. Make sure to plan your visit when it’s not too busy. You’ll be able to complete the process in an hour or so. 

In most cases, forms and other paperwork are in Spanish. So, unless you speak Spanish fluently, you should bring in someone with you for translation (or things’ll get real confusing, real quick).

Another way of doing it is to visit the nearest branch you’ve chosen and schedule an appointment with a representative in advance. It’ll let you know more about your different bank account options and get your answers beforehand. 

You can pick up the forms you need to complete and get a checklist of documents you must submit to the bank. 

Here are the documents required to open a bank account in Mexico.

But be sure to check the specific requirements with your Mexican bank:

Translation Requirements

As we’ve mentioned above, all forms will most probably be in Spanish. 

You must bring in someone to translate for you and assist with all the paperwork (this is if your Spanish is no good). 

Be sure not to sign credit agreements without fully understanding international regulations. 

Different Kinds of Bank Accounts You Can Choose

You can choose from a wide range of bank accounts based on your eligibility, preferences, and requirements.

These accounts are categorized into the following groups: 

  • Deposit accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Checking accounts
  • Payroll accounts
  • Certificate of deposits
  • Foreign currency accounts
  • Business accounts

Premium accounts might also be available and may come with additional benefits. But they all have varying charges. US and Canadian citizens have the option of operating a USD checking account.

A Peso-denominated bank account is available to all customers regardless of their nationalities. With this account, you can learn and manage your finances in local currency. 

Best Accounts for Foreigners in Mexico

As there are a few different options available for you to explore, MXN accounts mostly fall into the following categories.

These different accounts are suitable for various customer requirements. Therefore, picking one might just come down to the type of transactions you need to make. 

Multi-Currency Accounts

These accounts are from online service providers, such as Revolut and Wise (we’ll talk about them in more detail in a bit). Multi-currency accounts let you make online transactions in MXN and other currencies.

Conventional Bank Accounts

These accounts are MXN-denominated only from international or Mexican financial institutions. 

Cross-Border Accounts

Cross-border accounts are available from Mexican banks, which can cover both MXN and USD for convenience. 

Can I Open a Mexican Bank Account Before Arrival?

An image of a laptop showing online bank on its screen

It might be possible for expats to open a Mexican bank account through some institutions before arrival. You can get in touch with Banco Santander, Bank of America, HSBC, or other banks in your home country. 

But opening a Mexican bank account before you have an address there is tough. It’s because most Mexican banks require you to visit a bank branch in person and present your documents, including your residential address in Mexico and your legal right to be there. 

Nevertheless, if setting up your Mexican bank account before arrival is essential, you have a couple of options:

  • You can look for international accounts with institutions specializing in expat banking.
  • You can also form an online provider, such as Revolut or Wise (wait, wait; we’re coming to them in a jiffy), to set up an account before you arrive in Mexico. 

International banking accounts are also available from most global banks in Mexico. These accounts are mostly targeted towards wealthy expats looking to manage their finances across borders. 

You might be able to create a bank account in a US branch of HSBC and transfer it to your Mexican account upon arrival. But you’ll have to pay some charges for this service.

Moreover, such accounts come with high minimum balance requirements. However, online service providers might be more flexible. Plus, they also come with lower fees and no ongoing charges. 

Alternative Solutions to Traditional Mexican Banks

Wise

wise logo

You can open a Wise account before arriving in Mexico. It’ll enable you to hold and exchange more than 50 currencies in your account. 

You’ll get a linked debit card for quick withdrawals and easy spending. Furthermore, Wise can assist you in reducing costs in currency exchange. Their fees are low and transparent, and they always use mid-market exchange rates. 

Not only that, but you’ll also have the option of sending your payments to more than 80 countries and have access to bank details of 10 foreign currencies, including the US dollar. 

Based on where you are in the world, you can open personal and business accounts without any minimum balance requirement or monthly fees. 

Wise is available for customers in the US, and you’ll only have to provide them with your US address to open your account and to hold/exchange MXN, USD, and more than 50 other currencies. 

They are also registered with a wide range of global regulatory bodies in the regions where Wise services are available. 

Read our honest Wise review or,

Revolut

revolut logo

Revolut is a fintech (financial technology) company that offers different accounts that users can operate online and using their mobile apps. 

All Reolut accounts can hold and manage 28 currencies. These accounts also have options to invest, budget, exchange, and save money. They also offer Junior accounts for your family members. 

You can choose from three different account plans if you are located in the US. These plans range from free-of-cost standard options to premium options with a monthly fee of $16.99. You can also avail of other no-fee features and transactions from Revolut. 

Revolut is available to customers with addresses located in the US, Japan, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia, the EEA, and the UK. And just like Wise, they are registered with various regulatory bodies wherever they operate. 

A Comparison Table of Some Popular Bank Accounts in Mexico

ServiceWiseRevolutHSBCBBVA
EligibilityAvailable in different regions across the globeResidents (legal) of the US, the UK, Japan, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia, and the EEALegal Mexican residentsLegal Mexican residents
USD and MXN account optionsAvailableAvailableMXN onlyAvailable
Option of opening account before arrival in MexicoAvailableAvailableNot availableNot available
Open a bank account onlineAvailableAvailableNot availableNot available
Minimum opening depositNoneNoneMXN 750$50
Fee for minimum balance falls below limitNoneNoneNone (monthly deposits with salary to avoid fees)$15
Maintenance feeNoneVaries by bank account plan (up to $16.99 a month)Approximately MXN 55 a monthCan be waived based on your account balance
Online money transfer (international)Mid-market exchange rate with transparent and low feesCosts vary by region (some bank account plans have no fee on currency exchange and international bank transfers)$31 or currency equivalent along with exchange rate markups Costs vary based on payment type and destination

Balance and Deposit Obligations in Mexico

Specific requirements and conditions for deposits and balance can vary between different account types and banks. However, most financial institutions require you to make a direct deposit initially for opening an account. 

The initial deposit will be the first funding for your account and will ensure that your account is operational and active. Moreover, different banks in Mexico have a minimum requirement for different account types.

These minimum deposit amounts can vary depending on the type of account, such as a fixed-term deposit account, checking account, or savings account. 

Many banks also require a minimum balance you should maintain in your account. The requirements for these conditions also vary depending upon the type of your account. 

Failing to meet these minimum balance requirements results in penalties and fees. These fees can be deducted from your account balance, impacting your finances. 

Different Banking Services

a person holding a phone with a text showing payment on the screen

The banking sector of Mexico offers many services tailored to modern lifestyles. 

Many banks and financial institutions in Mexico provide their customers with friendly platforms and mobile apps. Therefore, customers can conveniently manage their finances on their own. 

You can also manage your accounts, de/activate credit and debit cards, view balances, track expenses, and monitor transactions while managing multiple accounts.

Using these online banking services, you can make bill payments and transfer money to your accounts or others without a hassle. 

Tracking investments and managing loan applications also become easier using these services. Most of these services are integrated with mobile payment services to ensure secure online payments. 

You can also locate your nearest ATM or branch using these online and app services. You can also manage your cards, make instant payments, see transaction history, and do more with these services. 

Contact your bank to avail of these services and get more information about them. 

Other Financial Services

In addition to the standard online and mobile banking services with your basic account, Mexican banks also offer various financial services suitable for various needs. 

Many banks offer different types of credit cards catering to different lifestyles. With your bank account in Mexico, you can access different reward programs, cashback incentives, and other benefits on your cards.

Banks in Mexico also offer comprehensive foreign exchange services. Plus, with your bank account in Mexico, you’ll get immediate access to a wide range of insurance products, including property, health, vehicle insurance, etc.

Your bank account in Mexico will allow you to use different investment products, including mutual funds, government bonds, stocks, etc. Mortgage and personal loans for major purchases, such as home improvement and education, are also available.

Hence, Mexican banks provide a range of different financial services. Just get in touch with your bank and ask for the details.

Money Transferring Process

Hidden charges, fees, poor exchange rates, and commissions are the primary concerns you have to deal with when sending money to overseas accounts. 

If you’re looking to get a significant portion of your finances in overseas payments, you should operate your international bank account via ATM or through an online banking option. Keep a separate local bank account. 

Conventional banks don’t provide good value. Hence, comparing other options would be a better strategy while saving some extra bucks. 

Here are a few things to consider when you’re looking to send money with your normal bank. 

  • Checking the Exchange Rate:

Check the exchange rate applicable to your international transactions. You can compare it with a mid-market exchange rate available on Google. If the two rates differ, there’s an added markup (ehm ehm, extra fee alert!).

  • Check If Setting Up Online Payment is Cheaper:

Quite commonly, it is a cheaper or most cost-effective way to arrange a transfer. 

  • Check for Any 3rd-Party Fees:

These fees can creep in if conventional banks process international transfers. 

Tips for a Hassle-Free Account Opening Process

a person trying to open a bank account on his phone

For a smooth experience when opening a bank account in Mexico, here are some tips to keep in mind: 

  • Minding the Language:

Mexican bank employees do speak English. But you need to know a few basic Spanish phrases as well. It’ll come in handy during your account application process. Bringing in a local friend might be your best bet. 

  • Booking an Appointment for Account Opening: 

Booking an appointment to open a bank account would be a good move. Therefore, schedule an appointment ahead of time for dedicated assistance and services. 

  • Visiting a Local Branch:

Visiting a local branch of the bank that you have chosen will assist you in clarifying any doubts with your in-person visits. You can provide your documents and get assistance right away. 

  • Knowing and Understanding the Fees:

You must know and understand the fees associated with the account you have chosen. It’ll help you in avoiding any problems later on. 

  • Double-checking the Application Form and Asking Questions (If Any):

Make sure to check the application form closely before filling it out and review all the details carefully to avoid any errors. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak out. Clear communication will enable you to avoid any issues.

  • Staying Persistent and Patient: 

Opening your bank account will take time due to different verification procedures. You need to stay patient and persistent. Follow up as needed until the process is completed. 

Related guide:

Final Thoughts

When planning to travel to Mexico, having a bank account is a must to transact in MXN. If you’re a frequent visitor there, you can cut your costs significantly this way. 

Traditional banks require proof of address in Mexico, which can be an issue if you’ve just arrived or you’re still planning your move. 

Instead, you can opt for online options, like Revolut and Wise, to open your account and access both MXN and USD, along with several other currencies. 

Open your Wise or Revolut account today and access your funds in MXN, USD or other major currencies before arrival in Mexico and without any paperwork. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, Bank of America operates in Mexico with a single location in Mexico City.

The Bank of America is affiliated with Scotia Bank in Mexico.

Yes, funds in Mexican bank accounts are safe, insured up to 400,000 investment units (approximately $2,961,000) by the Institute for Protection of Bank Savings.

Yes, in Mexico, the best options to open a bank account online are Revolut and Wise.

Yes, foreigners can open a bank account in Mexico, but they typically need to provide proper identification, such as a passport and a resident visa, along with proof of address and sometimes a tax identification number.

Yes, you can live in Mexico and have a US bank account. Many US banks allow account holders to reside abroad.

BBVA México (formerly Bancomer) is often considered one of the safest and largest banks in Mexico, with a strong presence and a wide range of services. However, perceptions of safety can vary, and it’s advisable to consider the latest financial stability ratings and customer reviews.

Was this article helpful?

Photo of author
Author
Allen Morning
I'm Allen Morning, with a background spanning over 15 years in international finance and education from Harvard and Stanford. I founded Currenciap with a vision to demystify and streamline global financial transactions. My journey in finance has fueled my commitment to creating a platform that is both user-friendly and efficient, making international finance accessible to everyone. You can find more about me here.

Leave a Comment