It doesn’t matter how sophisticated you are, how many countries you have lived in or how much you know about finance, if you’ve never done business in Mexico, the maze you must travel through to make and manage money in Mexico may have you lost and bewildered in no time. The history of money in Mexico is complicated. Only in the last fifteen years has the Mexican financial system begun to modernize and become a healthy member of the global financial system. And if you are coming to the Yucatan, you’ll be in a state of Mexico that considers itself a land apart from the rest of the country and that runs on family affiliations and personal relationships.
If you know about Mexican and Yucatecan history, you know there has been extraction of wealth by foreign conquerors, favoritism and cronyism, devaluations, regional monetary systems, hyperinflation, and bank failures, not to mention Revolution with a capital “R” and political chaos. The end result is a general distrust on the part of the Mexican people in the banks and the Mexican financial infrastructure.
Which brings us to today. Unlike in the United States, Canada and most of Europe, a large percentage of businesses in Mexico still operates on cash. This continues to change, as more and more people begin to trust their savings to banks. There are very few Mexican-owned banks left; most have been bought by global institutions. Some have started bringing the world of banking products to the Mexican consumer in the last few years, promoting loans for home, cars and credit cards. And the growing middle class wants what they are selling.
But despite a growing fraction of upper and middle class Mexicans with increasing appetites for more sophisticated financial transactions, there are still many places and situations in which only cash will suffice. The bottom line for much of the population is that money isn’t real unless it’s pesos in your hand.
The underlying distrust in banks creates complexities and roadblocks that invade every corner of the Mexican financial system. Without a guide to navigate the system, it is easy for the uninitiated person to get lost.
In everything from ordering a new checkbook to paying for property at a real estate closing, lack of experience and knowledge translates into time lost and more frustration than necessary. If you don’t speak or read Spanish, multiply these consequences at least by two.
Fortunately for the extranjeros who move to Merida or other parts of Yucatan, the kindness and patience of the Yucatecan people helps to reduce a highly frustrating experience to merely an annoying one. Though you’ll be able to laugh or smile with the person presenting you with an unforeseen roadblock, time is still lost and time is precious.
Here at Yucatan Expatriate Services (YES), we know how you feel. We’re from the Yucatan, but we have traveled around the world. We have helped hundreds of expatriates, both individuals and businesses, get their bearings in the Yucatan as they begin personal or commercial endeavors here. We know what you need to get done, and we know how to do it quickly and efficiently. We know when to cut corners and when to follow the letter of the law, and we know when it pays to call somebody, or when it would only complicate the process.
We have written the YES Personal Financial Guide to give you a head start on navigating the bewildering maze of Mexican finances. In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know to open a savings account, apply for a credit card or write a check that you can deduct as an expense. We’ll teach you what to look for when accepting a check and what to do with a damaged five hundred peso bill. We’ll talk about everything from the Mexican Credit Bureau to where to get a safety deposit box. And we provide you with information about banks and their branches in Merida and Progreso, including addresses, hours and phone numbers. We include spreadsheets detailing every type of account you can open in every bank represented in Merida, as well as every credit card offered and what it takes to get one.
If you’re coming to Merida or the state of Yucatan to do business, start a new life or make an investment, the YES Personal Financial Guide will provide you with detailed instructions about everything you need to know to get your financial life in order. Without the information found in this guide, you will find yourself spending five or ten hours with your lawyer or accountant, learning these things. Why not come prepared? The cost of the YES Personal Financial Guide will be paid back ten times over in time saved, not to mention the frustration that you will avoid!
To purchase your own YES Personal Financial Guide, go to our Knowledge Store. After payment (by credit card or Paypal), you will be able to instantly download the PDF for this 47-page guide.