Naturally, the exchange rate varies daily. The chart below shows how the US & Canadian Dollars fared against the Peso during 2019.
On March 2, 2020 the US Dollar closed @ $20.11 vs. the Mexican Peso. The 52 week range was between $19.07 and $20.11.
On March 2, 2020 the Canadian Dollar closed @ $14.98 vs. the Mexican Peso. The 52-week range was between $14.20 and $15.08.
Click on the XE.com currency conversion link (above) to see today’s current value of the Mexican peso against other currencies.
It is worth noting that in the entire modern era of Mexico, it has experienced few, if any, bank failures. Also noteworthy, is the higher rate of interest available here. Currently, one can find accounts paying rates of interest of between 6% – 7%.
There are several full-service banks in the Ajijic, Lake Chapala area, including Bancomer, Banamex (affiliated with Citibank) and Banca Santander-Serfin (affiliated with Bank of America). All the banks at Lakeside have some English-speaking personnel.
Scotiabank also has a presence at Lakeside, as well as in Guadalajara. There’s an ATM on the Carretera in the strip mall near Domino’s, across from Tobolandía. However, Canadian cash is very difficult to exchange, and most businesses will not accept Canadian traveler’s checks.
Mexican banks will open accounts for individuals in Mexican Pesos. (Only businesses may hold US-dollar currency accounts at banks in Mexico.) It is possible to open an account in U.S. Dollars at some of the non-bank financial institutions.
All of Mexico’s principal banks offer Internet access so that their clients can manage their financial affairs online.
Basic Bank Account
All Mexican banks are required to offer a “basic” bank account: known as a Cuenta de Nómina (payroll account). They must not charge fees or commissions, and must provide the account holder with an ATM / electronic payment card so that funds from the account can be accessed in cash or at shops.
There are several other types of accounts available; check the bank’s web sites for their latest product details, as well as their charges and rates of interest.
Non-banks offering financial services include investment firms such as O’Rourke, Actinver Lloyd (Ajijic & Chapala) and Multivalores in Ajijic. Some of these institutions will allow you to open an account in U.S. Dollars.
Automated Teller Machine’s (Cajeros Automáticos) Instructions for operating an ATM in Mexico
ATM’s are available at all of the banks, at the Guadalajara International Airport, Walmart in Ajijic, and in serveral other convenient locations throughout the area. The best exchange rates are available at the ATM’s, and it’s possible to withdraw up to $9,000 pesos (about $475 USD) in one transaction from certain banks. Some machines offer instructions in both English and Spanish, but if you find yourself at one that has only Español, click here or above for a PDF with the English translation, which you can print and take with you.
Exchanging Money – (Casa de Cambio)
Currency Exchanges will also cash travelers checks, and are available at the Guadalajara International Airport, as well as at many convenient locations throughout the area.
Foreign personal checks are very difficult to cash, even if you have a Mexican bank account; American Express Travelers Checks are the easiest. Note: you will be required to show your Passport.
Although more shops and restaurants in the Ajijic, Lake Chapala area are now accepting credit cards, in general, this is a cash economy. Credit cards are widely accepted in nearby Guadalajara at shopping malls, department stores, shops and restaurants.
As a US citizen retiring in Mexico, you may still receive your Social Security check. Many retirees in Mexico prefer using a direct deposit system to avoid having to wait for a check to arrive in the mail.
Ask your bank teller for the necessary paperwork to arrange to have your check deposited directly into your bank account each month. Bilingual ATMs are available at almost any Mexican bank and withdrawals are easy and safe.