What's the best way to take currency to Mexico?
Wednesday 04 December 2013
Q. I am going to Cancun and have been advised by the travel agent that pre-paid sterling currency cards are not widely accepted in Mexico. We are a bit edgy about taking pesos, as cash cannot be traced if stolen. Marion Morgan
A. The lowest-cost option is to take cash, with a credit card as back-up – though taking pesos to Mexico is a waste of money. Foreign exchange firms in the UK tend to give poor rates for "exotic" currencies, which can mean almost anything other than euros and dollars. If you are staying in and around the tourist areas, then changing sterling notes will present no problem: the many bureaux de change are accustomed to British travellers. If you plan to venture beyond the Riviera Maya, then US dollars will prove more useful.
However, the Foreign Office warns: "Street crime is a serious problem in major cities and tourist resort areas". To limit your exposure to risk, use a pre-paid card that you load in advance. If it is stolen, the villain cannot use it without a PIN, and you can request a replacement. It's odd that you were told a card denominated in sterling would not be widely acceptable. Mexican ATMs should accept the card regardless of the currency stored.
Heed the FCO advice about using ATMs: "It's safer during daylight hours and inside shops".
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