Mexico has a credit card system and it is the same credit card system that is currently in use around the world. Most of the banks in Mexico offer traditional VISA or MasterCard and you can also use American Express in Mexico. Currently, there are about 25.7 million credit cards and 75.2 million debit cards are in circulation in Mexico. Many banks of Mexico also offer multiple credit products for individual customers.
- Mexico has a huge credit card market and it follows US patterns
- In Mexico, you can use a credit card to make both online and offline payments as well as for other related purposes
- In Mexico, all types of credit cards are accepted including VISA, MasterCard, American Express, etc.
- The Foreign Transaction fees for credit cards in Mexico can be as high as 3%
Mexican Credit Card System
Mexico has a huge credit card market and its credit card system is following US patterns. Many Mexicans are using their credit card for payment as well as for real credit purposes. Though the interest in credits card in Mexico is very high compared to the US and Western Europe. The penalties for late payment are even higher in Mexico. Despite that, the number of credit card users is increasing in Mexico. If you want to get a credit card then you must have a bank account in any Mexican bank that is offering credit card service. But, you should be cautious with how you use your Mexican credit card.
Use Of Credit Cards In Mexico
The use of debit and credit cards in Mexico is so popular that it has made the checks and traveler’s checks virtually obsolete in Mexico. Most of the stores in Mexico don’t accept the t paper checks in payment anymore. They prefer the credit or debit card because it enables near-instant payment authorization of the payment. Moreover, all the major credit cards are accepted at millions of retail stores across Mexico. Moreover, if your credit card is linked with a bank outside of Mexico then your payments will be charged in Mexican pesos and your bank will convert the amount to the equivalent in the local currency where your account is held and charge you that amount. So, if you are traveling to Mexico then a credit card will be a convenient payment option.
The charges of credits card depend on what country your cards are issued from and what your bank’s fee-charging structure is. If your credit card is issued in Mexico then the transaction amount is charged directly to your account in Mexico and the charge will vary depending on the type of account you have. Usually, there is no charge for making purchases whether it is in-store or online. Moreover, you don’t have to pay any fees for ATM use if you use your own bank’s ATMs.
If you use a credit card that is issued by a bank outside of Mexico, then the card-issuing bank will make a “foreign exchange charge” for every transaction. When you purchase with your credit card the bank will convert your currency to Mexican pesos. So the process is the same as drawing cash from an ATM using your card. You should contact the bank to know what charges apply when you use your foreign-issued debit or credit card in Mexico. Usually, the charge varies from bank to bank and also depends on account type therefore it is better to know the amount of charge before using the credit card in Mexico.
Which Credit Card Issuers Are Accepted In Mexico?
If you are planning to travel to Mexico then you should know which credit card issuers are accepted in Mexico. American Express cards are widely accepted in Mexico compared to VISA and MasterCard. Below table will give you a clear idea –
|Type Of Card||Merchant Acceptance||ATM Acceptance|
Potential Credit Card Fees In Mexico
If you are using a credit card that is issued outside of Mexico then you could incur the following fees –
Foreign Transaction Fees: Depending on your account type and bank you could pay a fee of up to 3% of each transaction you make in Mexico using your credit card. It means if you spend $1000 then you have to pay $30 as foreign transaction fees.
Currency Conversion Fees: You might be able to pay in US dollars and this process is known as a dynamic currency conversion (DCC). However, you have to pay higher fees and a double exchange rate.
Comparison Of Various Credit Cards For Use In Mexico
|Card Name||Rewards||Annual Fee||Purchase APR|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year (then 1%), 2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, and 1% on all other purchases (redeem as a statement credit)||$0||0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases (redeem as a statement credit)||$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)||0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)|
|Luxury Card MasterCard® Black Card™||1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1.5% for cashback||$495||14.99% variable|
|Citi Custom Cash℠ Card||5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle on up to the first $500 spent, then 1% cashback thereafter and on all other purchases||$0||0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)|
|TD Double Up℠ Credit Card||Up to 2% cashback. 1% cashback on purchases plus 1% when you redeem into an eligible TD Bank Deposit Account||$0||14.99%, 19.99% or 24.99% variable|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining, and 1x points on all other purchases||$95||15.99% to 22.99% variable|
|American Express® Gold Card||4x at restaurants including delivery and Uber Eats; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points), 3x points on directly-booked flights, and 1x points on all other purchases||$250||Pay Over Time APR|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||10x points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the US on up to $25,000 combined in the first 6 months, 5x points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 5x points on directly-booked flights on up to $500,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on other purchases||$695||Pay Over Time APR|
|Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card||2x miles on Delta purchases, restaurants, and at US supermarkets and 1x miles on all other eligible purchases||$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)||15.74% to 24.74% variable|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 5% on Lyft, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases||$0||0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)|
|Chase Freedom Flex℠||5% cashback on up to $1,500 combined in quarterly categories you activate, 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases||$0||0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)|
|Hilton Honors American Express Card||7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases||$0||15.74% to 24.74% variable|
|Citi Premier® Card||3x points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, flights, and hotels and 1x points on everything else||$95||15.99% to 23.99% variable|
|Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi||4% at gas stations on up to $7,000 annually (then 1%), 3% at restaurants and on travel, 2% at Costco, and 1% on all other purchases||$0||15.24% variable|
|Luxury Card MasterCard® Titanium Card™||1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1% for cashback||$195||14.99% variable|
FAQs About Mexican Credit Card System
1. Can I Use An American Credit Card In Mexico?
Yes, you can use an American credit card in Mexico. VISA, MasterCard, and American Express are the most commonly accepted credit cards in Mexico. You can use credit cards to make large payments because the fees will be smaller than for cash transactions.
2. Is It Better To Use Cash Or A Card In Mexico?
There were types when cash was the convenient payment option in Mexico. But things have changed and most of the hotels, restaurants, retail stores, etc. in Mexico now prefer cards over cash. So, it is better to use a card in Mexico.
3. What American Banks Have Branches In Mexico?
Quite a few American banks have branches in Mexico. For example Citibank (known as Banamex in Mexico), HSBC, Mizuho Americas, Santander Bank, Bank of America, etc.
4. Does Capital One Work In Mexico?
Yes, Capital One works in Mexico. Now all the Capital One cards use EMV chip technology so you can securely use the cards abroad without notifying Capital One in advance.
5. Can I Use A Discover Card In Mexico?
Yes, you can use the Discover card in Mexico. Many stores, hotels, restaurants accept Discover cards.
Last Updated on October 8, 2022 by Magalie D.
Magalie D. is a Diploma holder in Public Administration & Management from McGill University of Canada. She shares management tips here in MGTBlog when she has nothing to do and gets some free time after working in a multinational company at Toronto.