Is there any Point in Taking Traveler's Checks to Mexico?

A Mexican peso coin from 1982.

A reader writes:

Planning a trip to MX. Last time in CanCun had a devil of a time cashing traveler’s checks. No credit card. Do most accept debit card from US banks? What about prepaid or reloadable debit cards with Visa logo?



editor responds:


Dear S,

I feel your pain about trying to cash traveler’s checks in Mexico. It’s difficult to find anyone who will do it anymore, and I gave up on the enterprise about ten years ago. I don’t have a credit card either, but last time I was in Mexico (last spring) I was amazed by how many places now take debit cards. However, I wouldn’t rely wholly on debit cards, as many smaller establishments still don’t take them. Luckily the number of ATMs has skyrocketed in the last couple of years. I have never personally tried a prepaid debit card, but I’m assuming it would work, provided that it’s Visa. It so happens that our correspondent El Codo has just sent me a long epistle on dealing with money in Mexico. I’ll post that shortly and ask him what he thinks about the prepaid cards. Stay tuned!

Saludos desde Oregon, Churpa

p.s. Don’t forget to notify your bank that you will be out of the country! Otherwise they may freeze your account if they see activity happening in another country.

5 Responses to “Is there any Point in Taking Traveler's Checks to Mexico?”

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  1. yox1923 says:

    My wife and I just cashed 2 x $100 USD American Express T/C’s each at Bancomer in Cancun on Tulum Avenue on Thursday March 6, 2014. We had to present the T/C’s and our passports to a bank employee and after she did her thing with them she told us to go stand in line to see a teller. The teller did her thing and presented us with approximately 2540 pesos for 2 x $100 USD t/c. It took about 45 minutes to get our money but that was good because we were able to watch the worst rainstorm we had seen since Daytona 500 and Walt Disney World a couple of weeks ago from within the bank..

  2. yox1923 says:

    I forgot to post that the exchange rates at the time were 13.18 pesos for a USD at Walmart and 13.30 at Bancomer.The bank gave us just shy of 12.70

    • june6932 says:

      thanks for the info.. just what i was looking for. so it is still possible to cash T/C in Mexico and not that terribly difficult, time-consuming though.. btw, there wasn’t any commission to cash them?

  3. churpa says:

    Thanks for the info! (And thanks for reading…)

  4. Barbara says:

    I’m in Cancun currently and have had no luck cashing the travelers cheques. American Express has not been helpful whatsoever. Today I’m off to the airport to attempt to cash them there based on another hotel guests same experience and recommendation. She was able to cash hers at the airport but at $10.25 pesos for every dollar, the current rate is $13.55 pesos for every dollar. Yeah, I feel I will get screwed too. My mission now is to warn others against American Express and the hotels and banks down here that offer no help or notices to their guests before arriving. A big lesson learned! It’s unfortunate since now I have to limit how much cash I spend and the amount of tip I will leave to the workers. The banks on American Express places to cash don’t honor the listing so don’t waste your time going there.