Once in awhile I think that something is important enough to my readers that I break no posting on the weekends rule. I think the following information qualifies.
There is only one bank on Isla Mujeres. HSBC. About two weeks ago they instituted a new policy, which I believe is Mexico wide. As incredible as it sounds
THEY WILL NO LONGER ACCEPT AMERICAN DOLLAR BILLS!
They will not exchange them for pesos or even take them in for deposit only. They continue to accept Canadian dollars, Euros and every other form of currency.
I had read online about this policy and it did state that customers could continue to deposit dollars into an existing account. If this is true, the branch here on the island has chosen to ignore this. We tried today to deposit dollars into our peso account AND then into our dollar account. They refused to take them for either account. When asked how we put money into our dollar account, the answer was a firm shrug of the shoulders!
We will be closing all of the accounts we have at HSBC and moving our funds to the mainland to Scotia Bank Inverlat. We will get debit/ATM cards from them which will be valid here or at any ATM throughout Mexico. They have lost my business.
When we got home we went online to the HSBC Mexico website and filled in the feedback form. It graciously says "Please send us your feedback. We care about our customers!" Except that when you hit SEND, it comes back and requires you to fill in a fax number before it can be sent. We used our home phone number since, like most people, we do not have a home fax machine. After it finally went through, a message came back and said "This is not a valid portal for HSBC"! Color me surprised!
I see big problems coming to the island. This is a tourist mecca. People bring dollars here and expect to be able to spend them. The only place one can change American dollars into pesos now are at the Casa de Cambios scattered around downtown. And people, let me tell you, they do not give the current bank rate. In fact, I have noticed the exchange rate at them has been steadily dropping since the bank here instituted its' policy of insanity.
I see one of two things happening soon. Either businesses will stop taking dollars from tourists totally, or they will exchange them at a horrible rate. After all, they are now forced to exchange those dollars at the same Casa de Cambio as the tourists have to use.
I do not know how this will affect the cashing of travellers checks.
Be warned. Exchange your money before you get here if you want to get anything resembling a good exchange rate.