Tuesday, May 11, 2010

HSBC Strikes Again

I wrote awhile back about how HSBC, the only bank on Isla, had stopped dealing in any type of foreign currency.

Which means that tourists are left with two choices on how to get pesos once they are on the island. Either take whatever exchange rate you get from the money change booths or use an ATM card to withdraw cash.

I was very perturbed when I used my ATM to withdraw money from my account yesterday. Not only does my bank in the USA charge me a fee for using my card, but now HSBC is charging a fee for the use of their ATM machine!

From now on, if you want to get money out of one of their machines, they charge you a flat fee of 29 pesos. About $2.40 USD!

I'm not sure if the ATMs at 7-11 and the super market do the same thing or not. Rest assured, I will check it out.

I wish another bank would open a branch here on the island and put these robbers out of business.


- Mexican Trailrunner said...

It's not just HSBC. I can't even get ANY pesos out of the ATM machine I've been using for 6 years. They have a note on the wall, ATM currently not accepting foreign cards. See blog post second down:
All the rest are charging the same as you. It's being blamed on narco money laundering. . .looks a bit more like bankers greed to me.

Leah Flinn said...

I have found that it's much cheaper to have money wired from your US bank account to a Mexican account. It's a flat fee ($17 for my bank) and you can send as much as you need. The money is entered as pesos to your Mexican account, so there is no withdraw fee. Also, sometimes the ATM here will eat a card and you will have no chance of getting it back. The wire transfer is much safer.

Otherwise, yes, the ATMs will rob you blind. Here the bank will charge 5 - 30 pesos for the withdraw, plus the US bank's cut (my bank was taking 5%!). The International wire transfers have been an excellent option to the ATMs so far.

Steve Cotton said...

It appears Banamex in Melaque is doing te same thing. Perhaps, the much-vaunted "gringo taxes" are starting.

Anonymous said...

i have one suggestion-charles schwab. i ran up a lot of fees my first winter in chacala. we'd been seeing advertisements for charles schwab which claimed to pay back any atm fees, anywhere, so we looked into it, and sure enough, they do. we've had an account with them for over 2 years now and no matter where we are, be it in the u.s. or traveling internationally, we get our fees covered. it is definitely worth looking into. we didn't care for the atm robbery either-who does?!

have a great day!

teresa in lake stevens

Anonymous said...

You are not alone my friend. The banks here are just as crooked and getting worse as time goes on. I use Bank of the West and if I go to an non-BOFW ATM, the machine charges me usually 2.50 and then my bank charges me 3.50 - total $6. :(

A customer wrote me a business check the other day drawn on Bank of America, my bank wanted to hold it for 7 days, so I went to BOFA, the bank it was drawn on, and they charged me $5 to cash their own check!!! The check was only $200!!!

I am about ready to just dig a hole in my backyard and bury my money!


Croft said...

My understanding is there was a change in the Mexican banking laws to make it more difficult for the narcos to dispose of their cargo containers of USA cash. Maybe this is one of the results.

Maybe you could raise your withdrawal limit at ATMs and install a safe so you could get by with fewer withdrawals. Not a perfect solution.

IslaZina said...

I believe that's a federal tax. So there's nothing we can do. But, if you are in Cancun, it is a pleasure dealing with the HSBC bank near the Hacienda or behind Europea. You'll see it's not the institution, but the folks employed here.

Jonna said...

I have a feeling all banks are doing this now, the law that allows it went into effect this last week I believe. There's no free lunch.

Linda Dorton said...

29 pesos!?? That is absurd. I have come to understand why the majority of the local residents here do not have bank accounts, or try to deal with the banks at all. They are VERY user unfriendly most of the time. The double hit on the $$ withdrawal sucks, but two and a half bucks to withdraw money. All I can say is withdraw a shitload so you dont have to do it often.

Sue said...

I used the Bananorte machine on Juarez yesterday and it charged 20 pesos. Not ideal but better than hsbc and easier to get to - almost a drive-up. I guess it's getting like Canada, where if you use a machine other than where you have an account, they charge a fee, usually $1.50.

29 pesos seems greedy and excessive. Under the mattress (not literally) looks more attractive all the time (assuming I had any spare cash floating around in the first place).

Theresa in Mèrida said...

It's happening everywhere! Since our c/u is not linked to any particular bank here, we have gotten in the habit of withdrawing where ever it's convenient. Now I am going to have to pay attention and see who is the least expensive. It used to just cost us $7.50 and now it's $20.00 (pesos of course, but it adds up).

Islagringo said...

Yikes. It sounds like every bank in Mexico is jumping on this out of tune band wagon. What really scares me is what MexicanTrailrunner posted about. What if all the banks start to refuse a ATM card from a foreign bank? Not only devasting to us living here, but it will really mess with the tourists.

Anonymous said...

Local who have an account at HSBC are required to pay a tax on their deposit balance. the higher the balance the more tax one must pay

el oso

Anonymous said...

my god. whats the big deal. So the bank makes a buck off me using THEIR machine. I do not feel I´m intitled to use it for NOTHING. There is NO free LUNCH. Period Paragraph and people who assume there is ... well... good luck folks. Big deal 2.40 whoopdi do..
if that amount adds up to something thats gona break me I have no business being on holiday now do I??? I best stay put and put my nose to grind stone and make much needed $$$ for my next holiday... Cheers to all of you who always see the glass half empty..

- Mexican Trailrunner said...

Si, Isla. That was my first thought and second thought after leaving the Banco Azteca across the street.
The rest of the story is, the man who owns a corner liquor store cashed a check for me at the rate of 11.83 which cost me! But I had cash.
Moral of the story is . . . don't let your pesos/gas/food get down to the wire then run to the ATM anymore.

Islagringo said...

el oso: I have had an account at HSBC for six years now and have never had to pay any kind of tax on deposits or the balance in the account.

anonymous: I think you have the right idea. The one about staying put that is.