Best way to exchange money in Playa del Carmen

Aug 12th, 2015, 02:47 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2015
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Best way to exchange money in Playa del Carmen

I know not to exchange in the US or the airport once we arrive but Im reading conflicting things about ATMs/banks.

I'm willing to do whatever is best - just honestly just tired of googling things.

Thanks!
Laurengraham819 is offline  
Aug 12th, 2015, 04:03 PM
  #2  
 
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Either way works (what's "best" depends on your home bank arrangements with foreign withdrawls).

Not knowing what "comflicting things" you've read it's hard to address, but ATMs are typically the best value for most people.

1) You can use a debit card at a bank ATM machine and withdraw pesos directly.

2) You can go to a "cambio" (exchange booth or window) and exchange USD for peso cash-for-cash (requires ID).

3) Another option is to order peso from your home bank in advance of the trip. Typically this is a lesser exchange rate with a fee on top of that, but is the most convenient and comfortable method for some people.
suze is offline  
Aug 12th, 2015, 06:41 PM
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Actually, if you have a B of A account, there is an ATM in the Cancun airport that charges no fee, not such a bad deal with their exchange rate.

Mt husband prefers to exchange cash dollars at the cambio. I prefer to use an ATM. The difference in what each of us gets to the dollar has never been significant enough to think twice about.
SambaChula is offline  
Aug 12th, 2015, 08:58 PM
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God, if that's not the truth, I don't know what is!
People make a huge fuss about this, as if a few dollars will make or break a person who can afford this vacation in the first place.
If you are a frequent traveler or stay for long stretches, maybe it makes a difference to you over time. But I doubt it.

Here's what we do: we use a Santander ATM machine whenever we can because we bank with BofA and it's no fee. When we needed cash to get of the airport and for some reason couldn't find an ATM, we used a cambio, once or twice. We pay for things with a credit card when we can.

Your question is really not specific to Playa del Carmen, btw...
NewbE is offline  
Aug 13th, 2015, 09:20 AM
  #5  
 
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Almost all banks are available in Playa. We often use Scotiabank because we use it back home in Canada and also because of the locations throughout Playa, one across the bus station, one at the corner of 10th and Constituyentes and another at the Playa Maya mall.
That said, we also have a personal account at Santanders (Mexico only] because of our condo in Puerto Aventuras. The automatic bank tellers are imo the best, certainly for the exchange rate but also for the security aspect.
Of course, people who have been to Playa would know this...
Rohelio is offline  
Aug 13th, 2015, 09:23 AM
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Unfortunately that's no longer the case. The BoA/Santander arrangement was discontinued Nov 2013 and there is now a foreign transaction fee of 3%. It is still the method I use, but it's no longer no fee.
suze is offline  
Aug 13th, 2015, 09:26 AM
  #7  
 
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Are you sure? We were just in Mexico last winter and the Santander machines were listed on the BofA website as being no-fee.
NewbE is offline  
Aug 13th, 2015, 10:09 AM
  #8  
 
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You are right NewbE, you should pay no mind to the previous response as once again... this person chooses to comment and advice on the Yucatan peninsula when most of us know that she has never set foot on that side of the country !!!
Personally, I find this disturbing as these types of comments and suggestions could prove to be costly if not misleading.
Rohelio is offline  
Aug 13th, 2015, 10:17 AM
  #9  
 
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NewbE, You can call your bank to confirm. I remember the Nov 2013 change of policy date only because I was in Puerto Vallarta at the time. And my 1st use of the ATM was still free, but later in the trip the new charge appeared on transactions. Plus it was discussed at length on the Trip Advisor forum. Everyone there concurred.

If you have different information or if they have changed the policy back that would be wonderful news to know.

Banking and money exchange in Mexico works the same on the Caribbean side as on the Pacific side, so I'm not sure why that would be "disturbing" that I comment on the topic.
suze is offline  
Aug 13th, 2015, 10:25 AM
  #10  
 
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I agree, that was my point to the OP as well. There is nothing about this question that is specific to any part of Mexico, it applies to the whole country.
NewbE is offline  
Aug 13th, 2015, 11:20 AM
  #11  
 
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As far as PDC goes, unlike many other places in the world, a lot of their money changers (like along 5th ave) actually give very good rates. There is a slight variation, sure, but a lot of them aren't far off the bank rate. Same with stores/restaurants in that town. A lot of them take USD and their exchange rate can often by excellent. But once in a while you find one that makes it up 10 pct, so you do kind of have to be good with math/know your rates if you do either of these things.

So I think in one sense, this question is a little different for PDC because in many other foreign places, the exchange rate you get from independent exchange booths is not that great. It is pretty good there, as are stores/restaurants which is also unusual.

I don't know what conflicting things you've read about ATMs, either, if they are at a bank, they'll be your best deal. However, it is not that easy to find one in PDC on the main streets that is a bank, depending where you are. A lot of them are independent, not bank ones, I think. It's like in the US, you go into a 7-11 and you'll see an ATM, but it's not a bank one.

YOu should be able to find bank ATMs on a map on Google if you want to plan. The one closest to where I was staying was a Scotiabank one at 10th ave and ave Constituyentes, there is an HSBC one at the corner of 30th ave and 14th st, a Bancomer ATM at 30th ave and 9th st, and Banorte at 10th ave and 8th st.

I there there is one, at least, on 5th avenue at 8th st (CI banco).

Of course all of these ignores your own banks' possible charges, which depends on your account. I don't have any with mine.
Christina is online now  
Aug 13th, 2015, 01:10 PM
  #12  
 
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Not sure about Playa but in Tulum we just used the bank owned ATMs inside the supermarkets San Francisco and Chedraui, good rate and fees were not too high. Just avoid the private ATMs and never use one that dispenses USD.
jamie99 is offline  
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