How to Send Money FROM Mexico to U.S. Dollar Accounts

Lake Chapala Mexico

A popular question in expat forums lately has been how to send Mexican pesos from a Mexican bank account to a bank account in the U.S.

I feel compelled to write about this topic after seeing so much erroneous information being shared. Even ChatGPT got this one wrong!

 

Why Expats May Need to Move Money Out of Mexico

There are myriad reasons Mexpats might want to send money out of Mexico to the north, south, east or west.

You might sell property or a car in Mexico and want to repatriate the funds to your home country. Maybe there’s an investment opportunity abroad you’d like to pursue, and you have the necessary funds sitting in a Mexican bank account.

Or perhaps you have savings in a Mexican account that are needed to help a family member in your native country. Whatever the reason, sometimes moving funds out of Mexico is necessary.

Unfortunately, the tools that help you move funds into Mexico are not always useful when sending funds in the other direction.

Let’s look at the options to accomplish this task, as well as those that won’t work (despite what you may have read on Facebook).

 

International Wire Transfers

This is one of the most common methods used to make rapid, cross-border money transfers.

To send a wire out of Mexico to a U.S. bank account (for example) you would need the destination account and routing numbers, plus the SWIFT/BIC code of the U.S. bank.

With those in hand, you can visit your Mexican bank branch to initiate the wire transfer. In my experience, international wires are rarely something a bank customer can execute on their own via a mobile app. As such I advise against it if the source funds are in Mexico.

Granted, many Mexican banks are known for poor customer service, long lines, and mounds of paperwork. In addition, sending money out of Mexico isn’t a common request, so finding a knowledgeable bank employee to assist you may be challenging.

That said, having a professional at the bank set up the wire transfer for you (with your eyes on the transaction to ensure that all details are entered correctly) reduces the odds of something going wrong.

Be aware that there are almost always fees applied to international wire transfers, with exchange rates oftentimes less competitive than those provided by money transfer services, covered below.

Fees and exchange rates vary from one provider to the next, and from one account type to the next, so it’s not possible to advise you on the lowest-cost transfer solution via wires.

On the other hand, bank-to-bank wires normally have no ceiling, so if the amount you intend to move is sizable, this may be your best option.

 

Online Money Transfer Services (aka”fintech” companies)

In theory, an international money transfer service seems like a good alternative to costly and sometimes slow bank wires. In practice, you are in for a surprise.

Popular money transfer services (MTS) like Wise and XE may be fantastic at moving money from the U.S. into Mexico quickly and affordably, without hidden fees.

But moving money in the opposite direction is another story. My audit of the most widely used MTS in Mexico, including the two mentioned above, found the majority seriously lacking when it comes to outbound transfers.

Wise does not yet support money transfers from MXN to U.S. bank accounts, as they make clear on this page of their website.

online money transfer services

XE, one of the relatively new kids on the block in MTS, is no help either. Their service supports international transfers to U.S. bank accounts from 22 foreign currencies, but MXN isn’t one of them.

Remitly allows customers to send money to a U.S. bank account from 30 countries and currencies, but Mexico isn’t covered. In fact, Remitly does not currently support money transfers originating in any country in Latin America.

OFX is a rare example of a MTS that supports outbound MXN money transfers, but only for business customers. Unfortunately, the service is not usable for transfers from personal accounts in Mexico. (but they do support U.S. to Mexico transfers)

World Remit is a U.S.-based MTS with more than 14 years of experience in this space. It supports money transfers in 100+ currencies, but it is not possible to send funds to the U.S. from MXN currency.

Currency Solutions is a highly-rated UK-based MTS that’s been around since 2023. They support transfers in 31 different currencies, but for those who wish to send funds originating in MXN are out of luck. You can only receive MXN with this service.

Global66 is a Latin American fintech company focused on serving personal users as well as small and medium-sized businesses. It supports money transfers to 80+ countries and has operations throughout Latin America, including in Mexico.

They’re new on the scene, launching in Chile at the end of 2018 — and clearly filling a market void for northbound money transfers.

Global66 is one of the only fintech companies supporting money transfers from a personal Mexican bank account to a U.S. account online as of April 2024.

While I’ve never tested the service, users report that funds typically arrive in 1-2 days. The transfer limit is currently set at $30,000 USD per month.

Global66 makes its money on the fixed fees it charges for transfers and markups on the current exchange rate.

Regarding fees, these vary by currency, and in the case of MXN to USD, are about $300-500 MXN. So if you needed to send $500,000 MXN to a U.S. account, you’d be looking at a maximum fee of 0.1%.

On balance, Global66 is very competitive on transaction costs, with high rates of customer satisfaction, according to Monito.

As a side benefit, Global66 also offers clients 6% interest on USD held in their accounts, a perk I wouldn’t expect to last indefinitely. And I can’t resist sharing a fun fact for all you futbol fans out there — Global66 bills itself as the official fintech partner of FC Bayern Munich.

I can’t wrap up this section without mentioning Paypal, the ubiquitous global payment platform with upwards of 300 million users. Unlike most of the MTS companies covered above, they do support money transfers to a U.S. bank account from Mexico.

money transfer services

That said, I don’t recommend Paypal because their fees are stupid high

Paypal’s cut on international money transfers can reach 5%, while the high commissions they collect on currency exchange further dings your wallet. For larger transfers, Paypal can be a costly affair indeed.

 

Hybrid Money Transfer Services

Western Union is one of the oldest money transfer services in existence, having done its first transactions way back in 1871.

Because they have a retail agent network in 200+ countries (i.e. a physical presence) in addition to their website and mobile app, it’s a virtual certainty that they can handle your transaction from MXN to USD.

To send funds from Mexico to a U.S. bank account, you must visit one of their agent locations, which include Oxxo, 7Eleven, and Farmacia Guadalajara in Jalisco.

The catch is that you must pay in cash and the maximum amount you can send at a time is $7,499 USD. You also cannot execute a MXN to USD transfer online with Western Union.

Fees vary by currency and transaction size, but aren’t great. Most customers can expect to pay somewhere between 4%-8%. Ouch.

Moneygram is another option that works a lot like Western Union. By searching “find a location” on their website you can quickly locate a retail outlet in Mexico that handles the service (like Oxxo).

Next, visit the store and arrange the transfer. The maximum you can transfer with Moneygram is $10,000, and their fees (like WU) are relatively high for all transfer sizes (expect to pay between 2%-10%).

 

Other ways to move money from Mexico to the U.S.

Traveling by land or by air, you may bring up to $10,000 USD in your personal belongings without declaring it to U.S. customs upon arrival.

And be forewarned that carrying more without a declaration can put you in a lot of hot water. Anyone carrying large sums from Mexico will immediately sound alarm bells as possible money launderers, with steep monetary penalties and possibly prison time.

If you’re traveling as a family and you attempt to divvy up $20,000 USD between four people to avoid declaring it–that won’t fly either, so to speak. The $10k USD limit applies to the traveling party, not each person (unless traveling solo).n

Cryptocurrency. This is a newer method for transferring money across borders. With limited to no government oversight in many countries, crypto has long been the favored way for drug dealers and other criminal enterprises to move and hide their cash.

Lately, however, with the emergence of crypto exchanges geared to individual users, this method is increasingly accessible to ordinary people.

Transferring money from Mexico to the U.S. would involve taking money from your Mexican bank account and purchasing a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, then converting the crypto back into cash, e.g. U.S. dollars.

To execute such a trade you would need a cryptocurrency wallet and the recipient’s wallet address. If sending this money to a crypto wallet that you personally own, it could be relatively straightforward.

That said, cryptocurrencies have been prone to wild volatility in recent years due to rampant fraud, theft, and scams. For fun reading, you may want to check out this article on the top 10 crypto crimes.

Bottom line… Using crypto to move funds across borders carries more risk.

Furthermore, the fees associated with small or infrequent crypto trading aren’t great. Crypto exchanges typically reward high-activity traders with the lowest fees. As such, I don’t consider this method suitable for most.

To wrap this up, if you need to move MXN pesos from Mexico to a U.S. bank account in 2024, your best options are bank-to-bank wires, Global66, OFX (if operating as a business), or just carrying it with you and declaring it.

About Live Well Mexico

My name is Dawn Stoner. In 2022, my family sold our house and half of our possessions, then relocated to Guadalajara, Mexico. We now live here full-time.

Since then, we’ve learned how to navigate the real estate market, deal with the Mexican bureaucracy, and manage our finances as expats… all while having a pretty fine time!

I created this blog to help newcomers solve the everyday challenges of living in Mexico, because it isn’t easy figuring all this out for yourself.

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