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Post by MyrnaMinkoff on Thu Jul 16, 2015 11:09 am

Hola!

We are planning our move to Lake Chapala for the end of August. Will make a trip down before to get all set up.

Is "iMail" the best option for setting up mail delivery when needed from the US? I found a link, but I don't see an English language option. Does anyone recommend any other mail service in the area? Also I may want to get a PO-style box.

What bank is the top choice in Lakeside? I assume we should have a local bank, in addition to using our US-based bank's debit card. Do most expat residents keep a balance in a local Mexican bank for easy access? Do any local banks keep a safety deposit box, and is that a good idea or not?

Thank you all!

Myna Minkoff
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Post by Pedro on Thu Jul 16, 2015 11:16 am

there are numerous posts in the archives here in answer to your questions in several of the sub forums.
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Post by gringal on Thu Jul 16, 2015 11:21 am

MyrnaMinkoff wrote:Hola!

We are planning our move to Lake Chapala for the end of August.  Will make a trip down before to get all set up.

Is "iMail" the best option for setting up mail delivery when needed from the US?  I found a link, but I don't see an English language option.  Does anyone recommend any other mail service in the area?  Also I may want to get a PO-style box.  

What bank is the top choice in Lakeside?  I assume we should have a local bank, in addition to using our US-based bank's debit card.  Do most expat residents keep a balance in a local Mexican bank for easy access?  Do any local banks keep a safety deposit box, and is that a good idea or not?

Thank you all!

Myna Minkoff

Mail: Several options: I like Handymail, located in the block east of Superlake. P.O. style boxes.

Bank: Banamex has ATM's with no fees for keeping a balance sufficient for paying local bills.

Safety deposit box: I don't know of any in the area. Someone else may. None at Banamex. They have concerns about robbery.

Shipping orders from the U.S.: ESTAFETA. They have a warehouse in Texas, a web site, and will give you tracking and delivery to your door. Very reliable in my experience.

Welcome and best of luck in your move.
Beer

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Post by RVGRINGO on Thu Jul 16, 2015 12:30 pm

I suggest that you simply keep your US banking with a major bank; USAA if eligible, and raise your debit card limits to $1000 per day. There are ATMs everywhere and it is a cash society. In 13 years, we never found a justifiable need for a Mexican bank (they do not behave like US banks !). Banking online is super easy and realtors have US accounts, so transfers of funds can be done through them for home buying. We even bought an new automobile from a dealership with a one-day increase in a debit card limit. Keep life simple.
We preferred Sol y Luna for our mail service. They have a website.

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Post by MyrnaMinkoff on Thu Jul 16, 2015 12:43 pm

What great advice RVGringo!  Many thanks!!!  I actually did not know you could raise your debit card limits...   that makes sense totally!

hola
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Post by Gamina on Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:32 pm

Banamex has a very bad rep here for service and Banamex USA won't even let you open an account if you are going to live in Mexico. I Shop and Mail is the business you are looking for: http://business.ishopnmail.com/ibox.aspx
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ishop-mail/434804363271224

No such thing as a safe deposit box at Lakeside. So don't bring anything that you aren't willing to lose. Seriously!

If your current bank has too many fees when you are here, you can open an account with a virtual bank without having to be there for signatures; google this. Many people also use a Schwab acct. or USAA where fees are refunded. Bank fees can cut your withdrawals by 3% so be careful.

Have you figured how to get your cats here; are your friends coming too?
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Post by gringal on Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:46 pm

Banamex USA has treated us expats very badly. Basically, dumped those who live in Mexico for no reason.

However, I have had an account with Banamex Mexico for ten years, use their free ATM machines and have no problems with them. YMMV.

I recently checked the fees at IShop mail service. They are much higher than Handymail and perhaps others. Best to check 'em all and compare, since changing mailing addresses is a real PITA.

USAA has requirements for having an account. Not everyone qualifies.

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Post by MyrnaMinkoff on Thu Jul 16, 2015 7:44 pm

Hey Gamina and Gringal!

Super helpful notes from both of you!!! Wow!!!

Many thanks!!!
~Myrna
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Post by zenwoodle on Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:55 pm

Mail: Don't use it, don't need it. Fedex delivers.
Banking: Have used Bancomer for 3 years with no problems. Use Forex to send money from Canada to my Bancomer account.
Welcome to the place of many opinions. Beer
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Post by Rubia on Fri Jul 17, 2015 7:12 pm

Don't forget when you buy pesos you will also pay between 2.5 and 5.o%, so your $5,000 USD deposit to a Mexican bank will net the day's exchange rate less the percentage to convert those dollars to pesos. Rates vary.

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Post by MyrnaMinkoff on Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:29 pm

More excellent information!
I could not do this gracefully or successfully without all of you who have graciously been there to offer information and advice!!!
Mucho Gracias One and All!!!
~Myrna
hola
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Post by Intercasa on Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:21 pm

Mexican banks scam people so only deposit what you are prepared to lose. They will lie about return on investment rates. Keep maybe 100,000 pesos max in an account to pay bills but no more. I sued one bank on behalf of a client and won and have another suit soon to be filed. Steer clear of checking accounts. Lies are the norm and there is no consumer protection, the casa de bolsa places in Ajijic are despicable.
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Post by Pedro on Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:08 pm

Intercasa wrote:Mexican banks scam people so only deposit what you are prepared to lose.  They will lie about return on investment rates.  Keep maybe 100,000 pesos max in an account to pay bills but no more.  I sued one bank on behalf of a client and won and have another suit soon to be filed.  Steer clear of checking accounts.  Lies are the norm and there is no consumer protection, the casa de bolsa places in Ajijic are despicable.  
sounds about right and we keep nada in any mexican institution because it ain't necessary
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Post by gringal on Sat Jul 18, 2015 11:32 am

Pedro wrote:
Intercasa wrote:Mexican banks scam people so only deposit what you are prepared to lose.  They will lie about return on investment rates.  Keep maybe 100,000 pesos max in an account to pay bills but no more.  I sued one bank on behalf of a client and won and have another suit soon to be filed.  Steer clear of checking accounts.  Lies are the norm and there is no consumer protection, the casa de bolsa places in Ajijic are despicable.  
sounds about right and we keep nada in any mexican institution because it ain't necessary

I don't keep more in a Mexican Bank than I can afford to lose. When the balance in a checking account reaches at least 10,000 pesos, it's the red flag that greedy fingers are looking for. Some banks are worse than others.
I found that out the hard way years ago. Twisted Evil

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Post by slainte39 on Sat Jul 18, 2015 12:39 pm

Banks here hold funds of many businesses in the 7 digit category of USD, such a real estate companies with escrow funds, and I have never heard of a problem of lost funds by the big established banks.
Fear of Mexican banks is blown way out of proportion.

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Post by Intercasa on Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:55 pm

Funds lost? Maybe not but retained without cause and not respecting people with a Notary Power of Attorney, taking weeks or months to answer, belittling clients, lying to them about investment returns, selling products they have no training on to earn commission or not be fired. Making people turn in piles of paperwork to get their money out and then saying oops wrong papers, constant changeover of staff, blatant lies. Signing you up for BS insurance policies, not crediting you money when your ATM card was cloned at their ATM at the branch, allowing a crook to cash a forged check with an obviously false signature (name spelled wrong and crammed at the end as they ran out of room to sign).

I have 2 present cases where banks are jerking around my clients, one where the co account holder wants her 3,000,00 pesos and the bank is stonewalling has been for months, the other where we presented a power of attorney and they ignored it and needed the 2,000,000 to pay for medical care. The banks hope you die to keep your money, how else can you explain unclear policies, failing to sign for papers when you drop off written requests, etc. They make it very, very difficult.

I have an account at a Mexican bank as I need one to pay taxes and was lied to. With Mexican banks there is too much funny business and policies or sticking it to the customer and making them sue. Dont ask who is happy with their bank, ask who had a problem and had it resolved, therein lies the real truth.

You have been forewarned.
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Post by gringal on Sat Jul 18, 2015 4:35 pm

All of what you say may be true, Intercasa, but here's the problem:
Once you are found to be living permanently in Mexico and have been booted off any U.S. bank that knows about it, you are stuck with finding a place to have your SS checks automatically deposited.  (This is the ONLY way SS allows you to get your money, for years now.)  Now what:  You can't open a U.S. account at present at any bank I know of (never mind the one that takes only military) without a U.S. address. P.O. boxes don't work any longer. They "know".  Some of us do not have another person's address to use (and expect them to handle our mail),  so what, exactly, does an expat do, other than using a Mexican bank for this purpose?  I'd really like to know, having spent many hours looking for a solution.

I'm not trusting enough to buy "investments" through a Mexican bank. I'm speaking strictly of a place to get my SS checks deposited and be able to use an ATM card for getting cash out. My major funds are in a U.S ancient investment house with a flawless reputation.   Any advice is welcome.

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Post by sampati on Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:37 am

We lived in Mexico for 10 years. Never had a problem having our SS checks direct deposited to our Credit Union in Las Vegas. We used the ATM machines for cash. Has something changed? Keep it simple in case in the future you choose to relocate back NOB.
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Post by gringal on Sun Jul 19, 2015 10:30 am

sampati wrote:We lived in Mexico for 10 years.  Never had a problem having our SS checks direct deposited to our Credit Union in Las Vegas.  We used the ATM machines for cash.  Has something changed?  Keep it simple in case in the future you choose to relocate back NOB.

What year did this arrangement end? Many of the banking changes have happened within the last few years, especially those relating to banks refusing to continue serving long terms customers who live in Mexico.
Nearly everyone would prefer to "keep it simple", don't you think? Rolling Eyes

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Post by RVGRINGO on Sun Jul 19, 2015 11:05 am

We maintained our US banking and used ATMs in Mexico from 2001 through October, 2014, when we moved back to the USA. All banking was done online and we did maintain a Laredo address through a local mail service in Chapala; first MBE, then Sol y Luna. Never a problem. We did not use Mexican banks at all, unless someone wired us funds via Western Union and we picked up the pesos at a local bank to pay local bills for friends who were away.

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Post by gringal on Sun Jul 19, 2015 12:08 pm

Simpati and RV: With all due respect, the fact that neither of you had any problems while living in Mexico does not address the issue that many of us have had who were dumped by our U.S. banks once they decided they no longer wanted to maintain the accounts of those of us who live in Mexico, and who have no access to a verifiable U.S. address.

I was asking a serious question, and the comments from those who have had smooth sailing aren't the answers.

I would very much appreciate answers from those who have had the same problem and solved it without using a Mexican bank for direct deposit, who have no verifiable U.S. address and are not connected with the military.  Thanks.

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Post by Intercasa on Sun Jul 19, 2015 12:29 pm

Im not sure what to say except to cross that bridge when the time is right and not place large amounts in a Mexican institution right off the bat if you have other options.
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Post by RVGRINGO on Sun Jul 19, 2015 12:31 pm

I appreciate your dilema. My response was general, and advice to newcomers to maintain their banking in the USA or Canada.
In your case, it seems that you only have two choices:
1.  Use a Mexican bank and have your SS deposited there. However, many entities will not send retirement funds there directly.
2.  Make a temporary move to a Texas border town, rent in a senior RV resort that has rental units, get a license there and open a bank account or two. Then, change the mailing address to a Laredo mailing service address at your convenience. (We did that and changed mailing services a couple of times). It might still work.

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Post by CanuckBob on Sun Jul 19, 2015 12:38 pm

It's just a matter of time before all these institutions are linked with immigration and they will be advised once you are out of the country after so many months. Address or no address they will deem you a non resident and cut you off. They are starting to do this with the Canadian Provincial Medical Services for those that try to "fool the system" with an address in Canada. I imagine the banks in the US won't be far behind.
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Post by gringal on Sun Jul 19, 2015 1:16 pm

CanuckBob wrote:It's just a matter of time before all these institutions are linked with immigration and they will be advised once you are out of the country after so many months. Address or no address they will deem you a non resident and cut you off. They are starting to do this with the Canadian Provincial Medical Services for those that try to "fool the system" with an address in Canada. I imagine the banks in the US won't be far behind.

The banks are galloping quickly.  Friends of ours who are the solidest of citizens, like us, just got "the letter" from their U.S. bank, to their shock and sorrow.  They are scrambling.  Like us, their official address was a tiny dwelling in a Texas mail box.

Since no sensible person should put a large sum in a Mexican uninsured account, here's what we did, for what it's worth:

When we got the letter, we had about 6 weeks to change our SS direct deposit.  Since we couldn't open a new U.S. bank account, we first opened a checking account at the local Actinver bank.  (No other type of investment account.)  Then, we contacted the SS office in Guadalajara and persuaded the clerk to handle our change of address to where we really live in Mexico, by email. (Otherwise, you need to go to Guadalajara early and WAIT. )  Four pages of information are required, which include to which bank you want your money direct deposited.  We then went to Actinver and they filled out the form to accept the deposit and sent it to SS.

Result:  Got our next checks on time, and all we have to do is go to the bank window, fill out a slip and we are handed pesos.
Been doing this over a year.  We are careful to keep the balance in the bank low.  We've received our money in the account promptly and had no problems, so far.  Hopefully, the bank won't fold.
(We already had an account at Banamex Mexico, but were understandably pizzed at Banamex USA, so didn't use them.)

Other solution suggestions are welcome.

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