Insider tips on how to get cash, use credit cards, and change money in San Miguel.
Changing money in San Miguel:
- Banks: Banks will change your dollars/checks, but the lines are generally hideous, and the exchange rates aren’t great. Casas de cambio generally have a shorter wait and better rates.
- Casas de cambio (money changing establishments) There are several in the Centro. Lines are generally much shorter than at banks, and rates are often better. We recommend Intercam (two locations, one on Canal Street, and one on Correo Street. See the world-famous Casita map of San Miguel for locations.)
Credit cards get a very good exchange rate, but are not accepted at many businesses. Keep them handy, just in case, but also have cash on hand. Before you travel, find out if your card charges you a foreign transaction surcharge. (Most charge 3%. Capital One, for instance, charges nothing.)
ATM’s are located all over the place, with several right on the main square. One generally gets the best exchange rate through an ATM, but be aware that your bank will most likely charge you a fee for each withdrawal. The Mexican bank, will probably charge you, as well, which can get pricey. (But it is better not to travel with wads of cash.) Certain U.S. banks have deals with Mexican banks, ie: Bank of America clients can generally use Santander ATM’s with no extra fees. Check it out.
Traveler’s Checks are a good way to keep your cash safe while travelling, but are not accepted at very many businesses. Mostly, you’ll want to change them for cash at a casa de cambio. (You can pay your Casita balance with traveler’s checks.)